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Town crawls toward turtle solution for beach project

Longboat's final beach project permit depends on an agreement with condos at the south end of the island.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. March 2, 2016
  • Longboat Key
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As the town reviews the draft issued by the Army Corps for the final permit needed for the south-end beach renourishment project, it is also working to accommodate sea turtles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which must sign off on the project, notified the town about a week and a half ago that the town’s three planned beach projects will require workers to traverse too much of the beach. 

“The concern seems to be resulting from the amount of beach we are impacting during both the truck haul and the pass dredgings,” Town Manager Dave Bullock wrote in a Feb. 18 email to the Longboat Key Town Commission. “Affected turtle nests in these areas will require relocation. We are working on ways to minimize the beachfront travel.”

To address concerns, Bullock and Public Works Director Juan Florensa are negotiating with representatives of L’Ambiance and Inn on the Beach to use the properties as access points for getting construction equipment onto the beach at the south end.

The town has secured three other accesses for the project: 6399 Gulfside Road., 100 N. Shore Road and 100 Broadway, all of which are public beach accesses. The permit issued Feb. 24 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is contingent on the deal, according to Florensa, but he is confident it will be approved.

“For all intents and purposes,” Florensa said, “we have the (final) permit.”

The town is allowed to renourish during sea turtle nesting season, according to Bullock, but it is required by state and federal agencies to relocate sea turtle nests laid in construction areas to a designated area by 9 a.m. daily. The town has contracted with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to relocate nests.

Bullock said securing the temporary easement will not add significant costs to the renourishment. In exchange for access, the town will restore the area to its current state and repair any damage related to the project.

The three projects will place a total 750,000 cubic yards of sand on Key beaches.

A $10.98 million mid-Key project will place sand brought in by a convoy of trucks beginning in April.

Because of the extra measures, the other two projects, a $3 million New Pass dredging project and a $3.5 million project to dredge Longboat Pass, will likely be delayed by two weeks, according to Bullock.


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