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Big Sarasota Pass
Sarasota Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2018 2 years ago

State approves Big Pass dredge permit

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has granted a permit to dredge Big Pass as part of a Lido Key shoreline renourishment project.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The state has granted a permit to dredge Big Pass for the first time, approving a proposed Lido Key renourishment project over the objections of Siesta Key residents.

Noah Valenstein, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, issued a final order Monday regarding the disputed Big Pass dredge. The 37-page order states the permit is approved with minor exceptions, adopting the recommendations an administrative law judge made in May.

The Army Corps of Engineers and city of Sarasota plan to dredge Big Pass to replenish eroded segments of Lido’s shoreline. Last week, the Army Corps announced it had allocated $13.5 million toward the project, which is expected to cost around $22 million.

The permit authorizes the project team to take 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass to place on the central and southern segments of Lido Key. The plans also include the installation of two sand-retaining groins along the island.

Two Siesta Key groups, the Siesta Key Association and Save Our Siesta Sand 2, objected to the FDEP’S 2016 announcement it intended to issue a permit for the Big Pass dredge. In the final order, Valenstein wrote the Siesta groups generally did not provide substantive evidence the project would have adverse effects and needed to be modified.

The final order makes two modifications to the permit. Dredging is prohibited in two segments of Big Pass from April through September, a change designed to protect spotted seatrout spawning. The order also specifically states the project is allowed to remove no more than 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass.

Both parties have 30 days to appeal the decision to a district appellate court. 

The full text of the final order is available online.

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