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Dredge contract talks, renourishment continue

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Beachgoers set up near dredge equipment at 30th Street in Holmes Beach Feb. 5 as beach renourishment continues southward from 79th Street in Holmes Beach toward the contract termination point at 13th Street South in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Negotiations between Manatee County and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to continue the present beach renourishment project are ongoing, according to Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources director Charlie Hunsicker.

Meanwhile, GLDD is continuing to pump sand southward to 13th Street South in Bradenton Beach.

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Sirisha Rayaprolu, 13th Street South is the end point for the Corps renourishment project.

Two weeks ago, GLDD announced that when it reached Fifth Street South, it would move its equipment from the island to undertake an emergency project in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, a second project, piggybacking on the first, was expected to start when the Corps project ended, taking up at the Corps termination point to pump sand on the shore from 13th Street South to Longboat Pass along Coquina Beach. The second project is headed by Manatee County and the state. It is a $3 million project that involves no federal funds.

GLDD representatives told Hunsicker the company would have to return to renourish Coquina Beach.

The news that GLDD was leaving had Hunsicker scrambling to ensure both projects would be finished in a timely manner — before the start of sea turtle nesting season.

He and other county representatives began negotiations with GLDD to complete renourishment, but had not reached an agreement by Feb. 7.

“Manatee County continues to negotiate with the company to engage them” to remain on site and renourish Coquina Beach, Hunsicker said.

GLDD had completed the beach from 79th Street to 26th Street North in Bradenton Beach by Feb. 7.

Rayaprolu has said GLDD could renourish 1,000 feet of beach daily in good weather conditions. The distance from 26th Street North to 13th Street South is about 8,000 feet as measured by a vehicle traveling on Gulf Drive.

Hunsicker said if negotiations fail, he has no plan for when GLDD would return.

A startup after May 1 would interfere with sea turtle nesting season, and has been a consideration on Anna Maria Island for any renourishment project.

Beach renourishment was performed on Anna Maria Island in 1992, again in 2002 and an emergency renourishment took place in 2005.

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