Beach project stymied by Dennis threat
There was one casualty left in the wake of Hurricane Dennis on Anna Maria Island: The start of the beach renourishment project.
"We should start putting sand on the beach by the end of this week," said Ben Goodloe of Goodloe Marine, the company contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginners to handle the beach renourishment project on Anna Maria Island. "Depending on what this storm is going to do."
Goodloe had hoped to start the $4.8 million project last week, but delayed laying pipe on the beach until the track of Hurricane Dennis was known.
Work will begin at 78th Street in Holmes Beach and proceed south to the north end of Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. The project will be completed within 100 days, Goodloe said, barring further unforseeable weather problems.
The dredge off the northwest tip of Anna Maria will suck sand from a borrow site and pump it through 24-inch-diameter pipes onto the beach. On shore, three bulldozers and two frontend loaders will move the sand around on the beach.
The additional sand will replace beach lost during the four hurricanes that hammered Florida last summer and fall, with funding authorized by the U.S. Congress through a special act that will eventually have 17 beaches in the state see sand replaced onshore.
The quality of the sand will be monitored to ensure that rocks and other undesirable elements are kept to a minimum.
Goodloe said that between 500 and 1,000 feet of beach should be added daily during the 24-hour-a-day operation that will run seven days a week. However, about 1,000 feet of beach will be roped off from beachgoers at the site of the sand outfall for safety reasons.
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said Turtle Watch has been marking sea turtle nests and relocating eggs to safe locations outside of the project area this summer. Goodloe has agreed, to notify Turtle Watch immediately if a female turtle nests near the project area so Turtle Watch volunteers could relocate the eggs as soon as possible and cause the least interference with the project.
Anna Maria Island was not the only beach renourishment project to suffer a timing setback by Hurricane Dennis.
The Corps ordered all work halted Friday for beach projects on Longboat Key and in Venice and called for all equipment to be removed from the beach, a huge chore for work crews who had made good progress in both projects since the start date of June 1.