Longboat Key officials are proceeding with plans to build five sand-saving beach structures at the north end of the island after Manatee County officials indicated they would not object to the construction of a third on Greer Island, a county-owned property.
That would bring the project total to five structures, known as groins. Three are planned on the western shore of Greer Island, and two are planned farther to the south, near the Longbeach Condominiums, between North Shore Road and Broadway Street.
Manatee County officials also said they would take part in a cooperative effort to take turns dredging Longboat Pass and direct the dredged sand to the overall effort of maintaining the town’s north-end shoreline, Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said in a memo to City Manager Tom Harmer.
Manatee County officials had objected to a third groin on Greer Island but have since dropped their objection. But, the county said it will not help Longboat with funding the $12 million groin project to build all five. Longboat officials have previously said the project would be funded from the town’s capital budget.
Longboat Key officials are seeking approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to construct the groins to slow beach erosion. The permitting plan groups three on Greer Island in one request, and the southern pair in another.
Beach erosion on the northern end of the island has been an ongoing issue for the town, in an effort to protect the Longbeach and 360 North condo communities and head off potential overwash of Greer Island, which could put other properties in jeopardy.
To that end, in September nearly 1,400 dump-truck loads of replacement sand from Polk County were added to a 600-foot stretch of beach along North Shore Road, a project that cost the town $1.1 million and took about a month. Longboat has been nourishing its beaches since 1993 and has placed more than 3.3 million cubic yards of sand from various sources, including dredging New Pass to the south, along the 9.3-mile shoreline.
Dredging work now underway in New Pass is depositing sand to the south on Lido Key. Longboat and the city of Sarasota take turns dredging that waterway and use that sand on their beaches.
If Longboat gets permit approvals by state and federal regulators on the north shore, construction of the five groins could begin this year. Longboat built two cement groins off North Shore Road in 2015. A third one was never built because of concerns raised by environmentalists and Joe McClash, a former Manatee County commissioner.
Brownman and Longboat Key Project Manager James Linkogle traveled to Tallahassee recently to discuss the groins with state regulators and check on the project’s status in the permitting process. Permits were applied for in July. It was after their visit to Tallahassee that they learned Manatee County officials had backed off their initial objections to the third structure on Greer Island.
“The goal of the northern segment of this project is to provide stabilization to the northern reach of the gulf shoreline of Greer Island,” Brownman’s memo said, adding the southern segment of the project aims to reduce rates of erosion near Longbeach Condominiums.
Two rock groins are planned south of the existing permeable adjustable groin near the condo community.