With an Island beach renourishment project scheduled to begin in 2014, Manatee County Natural Resources Department director Charlie Hunsicker is concerned with beach erosion on Anna Maria Island caused by Tropical Storm Debby.
First, however, Hunsicker and a team of coastal engineers from Coastal Planning and Engineering of Boca Raton, the county’s beach renourishment consulting firm, must do a complete survey of beach erosion as a result of the storm.
“I’ve already taken a look at some areas,” Hunsicker said.
“But we are going to check and see how well the beaches performed, or not, with a complete marine survey of the beaches,” he said. “We have to do a ‘before,’ and ‘after’ survey of the condition of the beaches.”
If the survey finds serious erosion took place, the county might be eligible for federal emergency funds, he said. The problem is getting on the eligibility list for those funds, which come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“It could take many months to establish eligibility,” Hunsicker said.
But there is a “possibility,” Hunsicker said, that eligibility might tie in with the planned Island renourishment project that is slated to begin in 2014.
If any beach erosion was considered a “life-saving issue,” the county might be eligible for funds immediately, but that’s not the case, he said.
Hunsicker said he hoped to begin the erosion survey within the next 30 days and present it to the county commission as soon as possible.
The before and after surveys of Island beaches is needed quickly to get on the FEMA eligibility list, Hunsicker said.
The story in the June 27 Islander about the 2014-15 beach renourishment project and funding from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April 2010 to Florida for environmental restoration should have stated that Manatee County Natural Resources Department director Charlie Hunsicker said all Florida counties, even land-locked Okeechobee County, are included in the state’s coastal zone.