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Date of Issue: May 04, 2006

Anna Maria beach renourishment not until late 2006

Work crews from Goodloe Marine were busy last week removing some of the pipes used for beach renourishment from areas near the Manatee Public Beach. The current effort is now near Katie Pierola Park in Bradenton Beach and working its way south to the city limits. Islander Photo: Courtesy Mary Shaull

Contractor delays, time limit put city out of loop

Anna Maria residents expecting a quick beach renourishment this month at the end of the current project in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach are going to have to wait a little longer.

The planned renourishment of .6 mile of Anna Maria’s beaches near the Sandbar restaurant won’t be happening in the next few weeks, said Manatee County Ecosystems Manager Charlie Hunsicker.

That’s because the contractor, Goodloe Marine, is behind schedule and must have its equipment removed from the beach by June 1, the contract deadline. To meet the deadline, the company will likely have to start removing pipes and other equipment around mid-May.

Renourishment of all areas "can’t be done under the current contract," said Hunsicker. "But we’re hoping to return to the Island in November or December under a different renourishment contract," he added.

Under the new plan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay between $1 million and $1.5 million in mobilization costs to the contractor awarded the project. The project would be engineered by Manatee County and Coastal Planning and Engineering, the county’s marine engineering firm. Funding for actual renourishment, not any mobilization costs, would come equally from state sources and the Manatee County tourism tax.

The present operation by Goodloe Marine was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project - including engineering specifications - from the beginning, and funded entirely by the federal government. The project began in early July and was scheduled for completion by Nov. 1.

This new effort, however, will be a Manatee County-CP&E undertaking, and Hunsicker said he’ll also ask county commissioners to approve renourishment of Coquina Beach down to Longboat Pass after Anna Maria’s portion is completed.

"The current project was never intended to renourish Coquina Beach. It was always going to stop just south of the BeachHouse Restaurant and would not go past the structures on the beach," he said.

Goodloe Marine’s renourishment effort is currently located near Katie Pierola Sunset Park in Bradenton Beach and moving south, with about one more mile of beach to be renourished.

Hunsicker is confident the feasibility study for the new project will be ready for county commission review in the next few months. If the commission approves, bids would go out with new specifications and a "load capacity" requirement much more demanding than what the Corps had included in its renourishment plan.

Current contractor Goodloe Marine will be allowed to bid on the new project if it can meet the "increased load capacity" the project will require, Hunsicker added.

The November renourishment effort would be a "24/7" operation, he said, and with the increased capacity, it will renourish the beach faster than the current operation and could be completed in just a few weeks time. Anna Maria’s portion would likely require only a few days of work along the .6 mile of beach, he indicated.

But Hunsicker’s ambitions for this project also extend to Longboat Key.

If the feasibility study says it can be done - and if Manatee County Commissioners approve - Hunsicker will ask the Town of Longboat Key to participate in renourishing Beer Can Island.

"This entire project allows us to take full advantage of the mobilization money from FEMA," observed Hunsicker.

If a contractor is already mobilized for $1.5 million to renourish just .6 of a mile in Anna Maria - at a cost of around $300,000 - why not renourish Coquina Beach and Beer Can Island at the same time, thus saving the mobilization costs of a separate project for those areas?

Hunsicker said FEMA is still prepared to pay mobilization costs for another renourishment project, even though Goodloe will be gone after June 1.

"And it’s not a complex operation," claimed Hunsicker. There’s not a lot of permitting needed from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for Coquina Beach renourishment, he maintained.

At this point, however, Hunsicker has no cost estimates for the actual renourishment. The feasibility study will provide those figures to county commissioners when presented.

Goodloe Marine’s contract with the Corps was for $7.8 million to renourish approximately 7 miles of Anna Maria beach, while renourishment of the .6 mile in Anna Maria for about $300,000 would have been a separate contract for Goodloe from Manatee County.

The length of Coquina Beach to be renourished under the Hunsicker plan is about one mile.


Save our sand

Some homeowners along North Shore Drive on Anna Maria’s bay side who are worried about losing what little beach they have in front of their homes could be part of the next Islandwide beach renourishment project scheduled to begin in about four to six years. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin


Anna Maria may get groins in 2010-12 project

Residents along Anna Maria’s bay side from the Rod & Reel Pier north around Bean Point who are worried about losing what little beach they have to erosion have been breathing a collective sigh of relief since the Florida Department of Environmental Protection included much of that area in its latest list of "critically eroded beaches."

That means many properties along North Shore Drive are eligible to be included in the next full beach renourishment project, said Manatee County Ecosystems Administrator Charlie Hunsicker.

Planning on that project has already begun and Hunsicker hopes renourishment can begin between 2010 and 2012.

He’s also having marine engineers look at the feasibility of constructing groins in the area to fight the constant ebb and flow of sand.

"We could include groins (in that area) if tests show they are a feasible option, but there are aggressive currents in this area," he said. And groins could add millions of dollars to the contract, Hunsicker also noted.

Some rock pilings similar to groins were installed along the waters edge of several North Shore Drive properties just north of the Rod & Reel Pier many years ago, although no one seems quite sure when, or how, they got there. North Shore Drive resident Tom Turner, who has lived in the city since the late 1960s and is the former chairman of the city’s planning and zoning board, said the groins were already in place when he moved to his house.

Hunsicker advised that residents should wait for the feasibility study results to conclude if groins are a viable option or not, and it’s going to be a few years before the study is completed.

But planning for the next renourishment project for all of the Island has begun and will likely include a much larger area in Anna Maria than just the .6 mile portion renourished in 2002, he concluded.