Awaiting the results of an appeal on the proposed dredge of Big Pass, city officials hope to undertake a different Lido Key shoreline protection project later this year.
Joe Kroon has owned property on Lido Key for nearly 20 years, but he says he’s never seen the shoreline on the barrier island in such dire shape.
Kroon was concerned enough to send an email to city commissioners Feb. 16, urging them to take action to protect the buildings that sit just behind the beach.
He acknowledged the city’s pursuit of a project alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to renourish Lido with sand dredged from Big Pass. But that project is without funding and tied up in an appeals process.
In the meantime, Kroon estimated the dunes on Lido have receded six feet in the past month alone. The Big Pass project seems unlikely to bring sand to Lido Key until next year at the earliest, Kroon said. That offers little comfort for Lido residents today.
“Inaction in the short term will no doubt lead to the beach being destroyed, the dunes disappearing and the properties on the shoreline suffering,” he wrote.
The city has heard similar concerns from other Lido stakeholders, and it’s mobilizing to take action, officials say.
At a City Commission workshop Monday, City Manager Tom Barwin outlined plans to use up to 200,000 cubic yards of sand from New Pass to stabilize the Lido Key shoreline. Although the project is still subject to Florida Department of Environmental Protection review, city staff expressed confidence there is enough sand available to undertake the renourishment effort before the end of the year.
“We’re moving forward to provide the information to FDEP to hopefully get their concurrence, which then allows us to bid out the project later this year,” Barwin said. “Which should, hopefully, lead down a path to allow us to renourish a good portion of Lido — hopefully by December, if not earlier.”
Barwin said early estimates put the cost of the project at $4.5 million. Concurrently, the city hopes to get more than $2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help offset sand lost during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Hermine.
Barwin said state approval for the interim renourishment project could be in place by summer. Although Lido residents continue to be anxious about the vulnerable state of the island’s shores, Barwin expressed optimism the city had identified an effective stopgap measure as it awaits judgment on the Big Pass project.
“That should hold us over until the litigation is completed,” Barwin said. “Then, hopefully, we’ll have a long-term solution in place.”