Last week, the Manatee County Commission approved an emergency dredging project for the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) that will dredge 10,000 cubic yards of sand near Jewfish Key.
Although the county is willing to deposit some of the sand on the north end of Longboat Key, an area in desperate need of sand, there are two problems with that gift from the county.
“We don’t have a permit to place the sand on our beaches, and we can only place 600 cubic yards of sand on the beach for an emergency project,” said Public Works Director Juan Florensa.
But the good news is the town is moving closer to finding a source of beach-quality sand that it can place on the north end, where the North Shore Road beach access was closed in March due to erosion.
Although the town did not receive permission from the state to take 600 cubic yards of coarse, white sand near the Venice shore for placement near the beach access, there are at least three other sand sources that still look promising.
Those sites include two sites near the shores of Manatee County and south Hillsborough County.
And, a sand site is still being explored in East Manatee County in a borrow pit of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.
The Florida Department of Transportation, Florensa said, expedites permits for high-erosion areas when 600 cubic yards of sand or less is used for beach placement.
The town would like to renourish the hot-spot area until a major renourishment is performed in 2011 or 2012 and a permit is approved for offshore breakwaters that will help stop the sand from eroding so quickly.
The cost of the emergency project is unknown until a sand site is approved. But Florensa said the town could save some money by using dump trucks to transport the sand to Longboat Key.
Meanwhile, if a deal can be worked out with the state and the West Coast Inland Navigation District to place some of the dredged sand this fall on the north end of the island, Florensa said he is in favor of it.
“If the sand is white enough and we can legally place some sand there, it would be a welcome addition to a beach that is quickly disappearing,” Florensa said.
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