Seawalls on the coast of Florida come under the jurisdiction of the Florida Development of Environmental Regulation (DERM) Division. In addition to evaluating the structural condition of a seawall, the DERM has special requirements for seawalls at or near the Erosion Control Line (ECL). A coastal engineering analysis is required to determine if an existing seawall will be affected by a 30-year coastal storm event. If the existing wall is within the 30-year Erosion Projection, then the property owner must “provide scientific and engineering evidence that the armoring structure (seawall) has been designed, constructed, and maintained to survive the effects of a 30-year storm and provide protection to existing and proposed structures from the erosion associated with that event.” The DERM requires certification by a professional engineer that the seawall was designed, constructed, and is in adequate condition to meet the following criteria:
- The top of the seawall must be at or above the predicted maximum wave crest elevation, considering the eroded beach profile, of the 30-year design storm.
- The seawall must be stable under the 30- year design storm including localized scour, with adequate penetration and toe protection to avoid settlement, toe failure, or loss of material from beneath or behind the armoring.
- The seawall must have sufficient continuity or return walls to prevent flanking under the design storm from impacting the proposed construction.
- The seawall must withstand the static and hydrodynamic forces of the 30-year design storm.
Required Documents to Build a New Seawall:
Below are a list of documents that may be necessary for you in order to obtain permitting for a Seawall or Bulkhead, depending on your project.
- Current DERM License and Approval
- City or Municipality Building permit (if needed)
- County Building permit (if needed)
- Copy of Survey
- Notice of Commencement (signed and notarized)
Seawalls typically require an environmental resource permit from several agencies including the county environmental resource management agency, the DERM, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Depending on the jurisdiction, the local water management district may also issue a permit. Seawalls require a permit generally from the state agency such as the DERM.
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