+ Town of Longboat Key supports WCIND sand trap
The town of Longboat Key might be able to recoup some of its north-end sand losses in the coming years from a site just off the island’s shoreline.
The West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) has received a state permit for a flood shoal sand trap in Longboat Pass near Jewfish Key. The trap, if it’s installed after WCIND receives a federal permit, would trap between 40,000 and 60,000 cubic yards of sand. That sand is swept off the north end of the Key and deposited in a large sandbar near Jewfish Key that’s a popular spot for boaters to anchor on the weekends.
“That sand the boaters enjoy is coming from our north-end beaches,” Public Works Director Juan Florensa said. “Recouping some of it would be extremely helpful, and we support the project.”
WCIND is working on a permit for the sand trap because that same sand also makes its way into the Intracoastal Waterway, clogging up the boating channel and forcing the district to perform expensive dredging projects.
The trap would be installed in a shallow depression in the waterway and intercept sand before it makes its way to the Jewfish Key site.
The project is at least a year away from being built.
+ Study shows manatees are touchy-feely
Manatees can feel water movements thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair — an ability that makes them one of the most touch-sensitive mammals on Earth, according to a new study led by Mote Marine Laboratory scientists.
The study tested the touch sensitivity of Mote resident manatees Hugh and Buffett, the most extensively trained manatees in the world.
During each research trial, a manatee positions its snout against a bar and waits. Then, a scientific instrument nearby creates the ripple with a vibrating ball or stays still. When the manatees feel the water movement, they are trained to touch a yellow paddle; when they feel no movement, they are to stay put.
The manatee is rewarded with apples, beets, carrots or monkey biscuits when it responds properly.
The study was recently published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Comparative Physiology A.
Meetings & Agendas
• Code Enforcement Board Regular Meeting — 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12.
• Town Commission Regular Meeting — 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3.
• Code Enforcement Board Regular Meeting — 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9.
• Town Commission Regular Workshop — 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16.
• Planning and Zoning Board Regular Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.
All meetings take place at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road, unless otherwise noted.
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Commission savors the sunshine
The weather on Longboat Key was cloudy on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 11, but the Longboat Key Town Commission stayed in the sunshine, as far as the Longboat Observer could tell.
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This week, our reporters will make our final decisions on our favorite displays of holiday cheer for our “Spirit of the Season” contest. This year’s competition isn’t limited to lights.