The state of Florida presented the town of Longboat Key with a 10-year beach restoration permit Monday, Sept. 13 that allows the town to restore its beach on the north end of the island.
That means the town has permission to restore sand in the area any time it needs to for 10 years, without having to ask for permission from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
“The state did a great job supporting us,” said Town Manager Bruce St. Denis, who believes the project could start in December at the earliest.
Town staff had been working to receive a permit from FDEP all year, which allows the town to rebuild the entire beach profile or, specifically, a 200-ft wide beach that used to exist there that has been swept away from Broadway to North Shore Road.
The town has put aside $4.5 million in its upcoming 2010-11 fiscal year budget for the project, which is expected to take at least a month to complete.
According to the intent-to-issue permit, the project involves renourishing a 4,015-foot beach segment by using a previously town-permitted fine white-sand site located approximately two miles off the northern end of Anna Maria Island.
The permit states: “Since the construction of the Longboat Key beach project in 2005 and 2006, the October 2009 monitoring survey indicates the shoreline in this area has receded 17.3 feet relative to the pre-construction shoreline. It also indicates that of the measured 56,000 cubic yards of fill volume placed, only 8,000 cubic yards still remains. Although the entire Manatee County Gulf of Mexico shoreline is designated critically eroded, erosion in this segment of the beach has been especially severe. The proposed fill placement is a temporary measure to restore and protect the beach. The fill placement is expected to last two years. To reduce the erosion in this area, a Longboat Key north end breakwater project has been proposed and is currently under review. Additionally, there is a pending application for the renourishment of the entire Longboat Key shoreline.”
The town, however, still has some issues.
Hopper dredges, which work to pick up the sand on the bottom of the Gulf and send it to shore via a pipeline, are in high demand and one might be hard to find for the project.
Currently, most of the available dredges are creating sand berms in Louisiana, and Florida Panhandle beaches to protect the shores from floating oil.
The town will also be starting the project when most other coastal communities are in the midst of beach projects that begin in November after sea-turtle nesting season ends.
But while the permitting process for four breakwaters continues, the money set aside for the potential structures is now being committed to the north-end beach project.
St. Denis recommends using the $1.6 million breakwater project money; the $1.1 million left over in the Islander groin budget; $800,000 in the phase II infrastructure surtax program; and $1.5 million in FEMA reimbursement monies to fund the project.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].