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Beer Can Island Dredging and Renourishment Planned

LONGBOAT KEY – Manatee County and the Town of Longboat Key are partnering on a beach renourishment project that includes the construction of five permeable rock groins. The town also has a planned emergency dredging project on Greer Island, also known as Beer Can Island, at the northern tip of the key.

These projects were presented and discussed at the Tuesday, Dec. 15, Manatee County Commission meeting, with representatives from the Town of Longboat Key on hand. There was also discussion about a separate FEMA-funded and county-managed beach renourishment project planned for Coquina Beach, in Bradenton Beach, at the south end of Anna Maria Island.

The beach renourishment discussions resulted in the county commission authorizing the county administrator to execute an interlocal agreement with the Town of Longboat Key. The agreement provides $2.69 million as the county’s contribution to the town’s beach renourishment project.

The accompanying adoption of Resolution 20-199 authorizes a short-term loan not to exceed $1.99 million from the county’s general fund to its beach erosion control fund. The remaining $700,000 of the county’s contribution will come from its beach renourishment reserve fund.

The commission also approved the town’s request for the easements needed for the landward portions of two of the new groins to rest on county property.

Greer Island dredging

Representing the Town of Longboat Key, Senior Project Manager Charlie Mopps said that the Greer Island emergency dredge program will be conducted as part of the Greer Island Split management plan. Mopps said the purpose of the emergency dredging operation is to restore boat access to the lagoon at Greer Island. Mopps added that several residences located west of the lagoon currently lack access for their boats and kayaks.

Mopps explained that the emergency dredging project calls for the removal of approximately 1,000 cubic yards of sand in a 30-foot stretch of the lagoon and that the contract has been awarded to Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift and was awaiting final signatures. According to Mopps, the dredging project is expected to begin soon and take only a few days to complete. The sand removed will be stored for later use with the beach renourishment project.

This presentation slide illustrates how the Greer Island channel opening has decreased in width over the years. Credit: Town of Longboat Key

Beach renourishment and groins

Al Browder is the vice president of the Olsen Associates firm that provides consulting services to the Town of Longboat Key. Browder provided additional details on the Longboat Key beach renourishment project that will take place in three segments. Taking place first, segment one includes the north end of the key and Greer Island. This portion of the project calls for the installation of five groins and 200,000 cubic yards of beach fill.

Browder said the beach renourishment sand will come from the town’s permitted borrow areas more than a mile offshore of Passage Key and that the low-crested permeable rock groins will complement two existing concrete groins located near the street end at North Shore Road and the goal is to slow the rate of sand flow and erosion.

"The purpose here is to maintain sandy beach conditions along the Gulf," Browder said. "It has been a running battle to protect the north tip of Longboat Key and maintain the recreational value and the environmental habitat in the lagoon itself."

Browder also said that the project is anticipated to start in February or March and take approximately 180 days to complete. When the segment 1 work is complete, some additional dune vegetation and mangrove restoration will take place along the Greer Island lagoon.

The segment two plan calls for 350,000 cubic yards of beach sand to be placed in the center section of the key’s Gulf-side beach areas. Described in the presentation as optional and dependent on available funds, segment three calls for 160,000 cubic yards of beach sand to potentially be placed at the south end of the key.

Coquina Beach renourishment

Tom Pierro, principal engineer with Coastal Protection Engineering, presented the county’s Coquina Beach renourishment plan. Pierro said the Coquina Beach renourishment project pertains to a mile-and-a-half stretch of beach at the southern end of the Island.

Pierro said that this area is managed locally by the county and does not contain the infrastructure elements required to have been included in the recently completed Anna Maria Island renourishment project that relied heavily on federal and state funding.

According to Pierro, approximately 200,000 cubic yards of sand can be removed from Longboat Pass for the county project. He said the county plans to use approximately half of that and the rest could possibly be made available to the Town of Longboat Key to renourish the beach area at the end of Gulfside Road.


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