Norriego Point 'in a bad way' as city leaders wait for permits

Matt Algarin
Looking at the point, there is a clear area that is being eroded and water could ultimately breach the landmass.

Norriego Point is shrinking, and could be completely breached by water in the near future.

"It's in a bad way," said Steve Schmidt, the city's development manager. "If we hadn't put in that emergency stabilization project there would be about 200 feet of the point that would not be there."

Looking at the point from above, there is a clear area on the inside of the Destin harbor where water is rapidly chewing away at the sand and creating a crescent shaped bite.

Unfortunately, Schmidt said the city's hands are tied when it comes to a remedy for what ails Norriego Point, as they are still waiting on a final permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Looking at the point, the guilty culprit that is speeding up the erosion is the northernmost T-groin, which sits on the East Pass side of Norriego Point.

"Once that T-groin got flanked it put more erosional pressure on the tip of the point," Schmidt said. "If the wave action keeps up and pushes sand out we could end up with 3-5 feet of sheet pile wall sticking up."

Not only could the point lose quite a bit of sand, Schmidt said sand washing out from the sheet pile wall could clog up the mouth of the harbor, leading to an increased need of dredging.

For now, the city has all of the approvals it needs from the state of Florida, but is waiting on the federal government to issue its final permits.

Once the permits are in hand, Schmidt said the cheapest way to reduce the erosion on Norriego Point would be to make the necessary repairs to the T-groin.

But the ultimate goal is to complete the Norriego Point stabilization project, which has been approved with two options. One would be a rock-heavy design, while the other is a combination of rock and sheet pile walls.

"What we see is that there is a great need to stabilize the point," he said.