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County to examine Island beaches, shores for erosion

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

This sea turtle nest, surrounded by orange stakes seaward of the Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria, was deposited after Tropical Storm Debby passed. The storm washed out almost 80 percent of the sea turtle nests on beaches from Anna Maria Island to Siesta Key, according to Mote Marine Laboratories. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

This beach in the 700 block of North Shore Drive, Anna Maria, was nearly split off from the shore June 29 following Tropical Storm Debby, while a few yards north, wave action took away the beach at 777 N. Shore Drive.

Tropical Storm Debby eroded the beach in front of this house at 777 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, but took little beach away from the adjoining shore to the north, apparently because the concrete porch and rocks at the house blocked waves from entering the cove.

Wave and wind action from Tropical Storm Debby created this inlet as of June 29 along the beach in the 700 block of North Shore Drive, Anna Maria.

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.


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