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State nears decision on Big Pass dredge

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has accepted the Army Corps’ application to dredge Big Pass in order to renourish south Lido Key.

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  • | 12:13 p.m. October 3, 2016
  • Sarasota
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has deemed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ application to dredge Big Pass complete.

The project, which is being spearheaded by the Army Corps and the city of Sarasota, calls for the dredging of Big Pass in Sarasota Bay to renourish a nearly 1.5 mile portion of beach on Lido Key. The FDEP’s decision comes after nearly a year and a half of deliberation and two requests for additional information.

The FDEP now has 60 days to either deny permits for the project or submit an intent to issue permits.

The project has proven to be divisive among Lido and Siesta residents.

Lido Key residents have emphasized the importance of the project as well as the necessity for urgency. Some residents fear any delays in the permitting process could threaten the future of their beach.

Meanwhile, several Siesta groups, including the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Association, have spoken out against the project. Many Siesta residents fear a change to the flow of the pass may increase the threat of erosion on Siesta Key.

Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2), a Siesta Key organization dedicated to stopping the Big Pass dredge, announced plans in July to sue the city of Sarasota and the Army Corps pending permit issuance. If permits are issued for the project SOSS2 will have 14 days to serve its lawsuit.