Updating the barrier islands with sand

Dredging projects to aid boat navigation and provide beach renourishment

Water, sand and debris is filtered on the beach.
Sand Filtration - One process of renourishment involves pumping sand and water onto the beach and filter out the sand to widen the area.

Now that Longboat Key has plans to dredge 14 canals in four areas of the island, is there an effect on other dredging, renourishment and groin projects in the area? Other planned and current projects affect New Pass, Big Pass, Lido Beach and a groin project on the north end of Longboat Key.

Dredging helps keep the waterways navigable, which may be considered three feet below mean lower level. The town of Longboat is using this measurement in its assessments. Keeping the waterways navigable promotes safety, supports recreation and increases home values along these canals.

With dredging you also have a good resource in some cases to renourish the beaches that we hold as a precious tourist draw. In the case of Longboat Key, the good sand that was deposited by recent storms would have to be sifted out for renourishment projects. Although the city has not decided what to do with the windfall, the 15,000 cubic yards of silt that will be pulled out may end up in a landfill.

The canal project with an estimated $1.2 million cost to cover feasibility studies, engineering, monitoring and dredging is expected to begin in the fall of 2019. The city must apply first for state and federal permits as means to discover any mitigating damage to wildlife and plants. Roughly 25% of the cost will be paid by Sarasota County, ten of the 14 canals are in Manatee County.

Dredging New Pass
Dredging New Pass - Workers begin their day for the project to increase the inlet depth and provide sand renourishment to the beaches of Lido Key.

The current project on New Pass by the drawbridge between Lido Key and Longboat Key will help offset what Hurricanes Hermine did in 2016 and Irma accomplished in 2017. Not only did these hurricanes move the sand into the channel, they reduced the width of the beaches on Lido Key that opened up considerable damage to waterfront properties. As a result New Pass had become unnavigable and the popular beach destination of Lido Key was less appealing and dangerous. This year the U.S. Coast Guard removed the channel markers from New Pass as the shifting shoal created hazardous conditions for boaters, especially those with significant drafts on fixed keel sailboats. The cost of this project is $3.9 million dollars which is expected to move 185,000 cubic yards in the 90 days of the project.

More lasting solutions to the problem on Lido Key beach has been presented, including moving sand from Big Pass to Lido Key. Big Pass is an inlet to the Gulf between Siesta Key and Lido Key. Some residents of Siesta Key have filed lawsuits to prevent the project, claiming there will be erosion on the world renown beaches of Siesta Key, a perennial favorite of beach judges and travel sites. With funds from local, state and federal governments this project is expected to begin in the spring of 2019.

In September 600 feet of beach was renourished on the north end of Longboat Key to help recover from Hurricane Irma one year before. Over 1,300 trucks from Davenport hauled in nearly 22 tons of white quartz sand during that project. White quartz sand is prevalent in the area, making it popular with tourists because it reflects 99 percent of the heat and is comfortable on bare feet.

At the same time Longboat Key started a process and is requesting permission from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to place five groins in the area spaced 350 feet apart, starting on the south side of Greer Island on the Gulf of Mexico side at the northern edge of Longboat Key. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection must also approve the project. The groins jut out into the Gulf and restrict the devastating force of seawater during a storm. If approved, the $12 million project could begin as early as fall 2019.

Longboat Key residents and businesses have become accustomed to renourishment projects. In the spring of 2016 Longboat Key used a three-sided attack on renourishing its beaches. Through the use of truck deliveries, dredging and renourishment, the $25 million project was approved by voters as a referendum a few years earlier. During that summer nearly 60-100 trucks moved sand from out of the county, and over the Ringling Bridge to eventually find their way to various points of Longboat Key. Dredging on New Pass and Longboat Pass to the north accounted for much of the renourishment on the southern and northern ends of the island.

Water, sand and debris is filtered on the beach.
24-hours a day - The project four years ago on Anna Maria Island required workers to complete shiftwork.

It is a common process on other barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida. Each county with scenic beaches have had some level of renourishment in the last few years. A major project on Anna Maria Island had beaches closed for a few months in 2014. Workers spent 24 hours each day working in shifts on land and on barges to use the offshore natural resources of sand deposits to renourish the beaches there. Nearly 900,000 cubic yards of sand was used to widen 4.7 miles of beaches there. An additional two miles and another 216,000 cubic yards were added to that project.

Beach erosion is a natural process. Experts estimate that 10-15 feet of beach width is eroded each year from pounding waves against the shoreline. Sometimes we put up with some inconveniences to perpetuate the paradise we live in. I listed two residences for sale on Longboat Key last week, increasing our inventory for the peak sale months. The first is a beautifully furnished residence at the Players Club. This amenity-rich community recently finished remodeling its clubhouse. The second is a home on the north end within a short walk of Greer Island discussed in this article. Florida-sourced vegetation surround this charmingly private bungalow in Long Beach. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1445 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #202 $799,000 Video Photo Slideshow
454 Firehouse Court $789,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing