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$15m beach renourishment may begin in August

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Beachgoers enjoy the sun and sand at Fifth Avenue South in Bradenton Beach. Anglers on the condemned groin in the distance defy a posted trespass order. This location will be the terminus for part one of a two-part renourishment project expected to begin in August. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

The planned $15 million beach renourishment of Anna Maria Island between 78th Street in Holmes Beach and Fifth Avenue South in Bradenton Beach should begin by late August, said Manatee County Natural Resources director Charlie Hunsicker.

Hunsicker said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which supervises all beach renourishment, recently received funds for beach repairs caused by Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. Anna Maria Island is included among the affected beaches. The corps said it would commit $9 million to the project.

Manatee County and the state of Florida have combined to allocate $6 million to the project.

After the 78th Street-Fifth Avenue South beaches are renourished, work crews will relocate the dredge pipes farther south to pump sand to the Coquina Beach shoreline. This project also calls for rebuilding three groins at Cortez Beach.

That is a separate project, Hunsicker said, but after the first project is finished and while the equipment is in place, the corps agreed to fund renourishment at Coquina Beach and to replace the three groins at Cortez Beach.

Combining efforts on the two projects will save about $1.1 million in setup costs, he said.

Hunsicker expects the corps to announce the bid winner for the projects in July.

Renourishment of sand to the beaches in the Bean Point area of Anna Maria is not scheduled to take place until 2014-15.

For more on the beach renourishment project, see related story, page 4.

3 Responses to $15m beach renourishment may begin in August

  1. Islandofme says:

    This is an absolute shame and a terrible waste of tax dollars. This sand will be gone in a few months, but not without messing up the natural order of the nearshore environment for years to come. I grew up on Anna Maria island, and re nourishment not only buries the true powder white sand that people used to come here for it also leaves the shore line a mess, sharp shells, buried dead sea life (that can dig its way out), etc… It’s pretty well known that the barrier island have a natural cycle of erosion and accretion. If we could just be patient the beaches will re nourish themselves over time. By allowing this we are actually ruining the thing we should be protecting.

  2. Patrick says:

    Most of the sand is back at Cortez. My house is across from that beach. A little more storm buffer sounds good to me.

    What is definitely needed, though, are the groin replacements. Those things are a mess. The one furthest north – across from 6th St – was in decent shape last year and hadn’t lost many concrete pillars up top. But Debbie tore it up good. I was there watching as the waves rolled in and lifted 500 pound (at least) chunks of concrete and just knocked them over. The pilings are not looking the best, either.

    The groins south of there are even worse. They have crossed from ‘useless’ to ‘dangerous’ over the course of the last year.

    I respect the “natural way” position and agree that sand pumped up from the gulf is not that great. It’s mostly shell and isn’t quite the stuff of legend. But at the same time, an increased shore protects the land behind it. I agree that the next storm will rip some of the new sand away, but what you see as a futile effort I see as building a sacrificial buffer. That future storm would take something away, so it might as well take the sand, rather than work its way closer to gulf drive or to take out homes and businesses behind it.

    I recently saw pictures from a Bradenton woman – aged 80+ – who used to spend time in South AM back when she was a kid. Her grandfather had cottages west of gulf drive where Cortez Beach is today. There was lots of sand between her and the gulf. The shore west of Gulf Drive used to actually have homes and land – now it’s a skinny spit of sand and some dunes.

    The ocean takes away. The natural trend seems to winnow this island down. Maybe replenishment is futile in the grand scheme of the universe, but I am not quite ready to let nature take its course and rip away our home and the homes of my neighbors.

    I don’t see this as a waste of money. It is saving homes and keeping the island intact. For all the revenue our island generates, I have no issue spending some of that on our homes even during these tough times.

  3. Nancy Nolin says:

    The Sarasota bay sandbar, near the longboat key bridge, has gotten much bigger recently. I believe the sand is coming from coquina beach and beer can island area. It rides in on the storm and tides. When sand is added to coquina beach it ends up in Sarasota bay. The bay is getting clogged due to the sandbar.
    Trying to beautify one area is causing trouble in another area. I think it is time to dredge the sand from the sandbar.

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