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County Starts Beach Renourishment and Groin Construction Projects


HOLMES BEACH -- From Longboat Key north to Holmes Beach, the shore has been wrestling with storms and tidal surges, challenging both property owners and vacationers.

At Monday's Tourist Development Council meeting in Holmes Beach, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resource Department Director Charlie Hunsicker delivered an update on the beach renourishment project about to start on Anna Maria Island. If all goes as planned, they will be renourished by May of next year.

The sand comes from 4,000 feet down, deep off of the gulf floor, through pipes that carry it onto the shore. The vessels doing the work can pump the slurry from as far as nine miles out from shore to replace eroded sand. 

Hunsicker said the project will cost $16 million; $10 million from the Federal Government and $6 million more from state and local taxes. 

The Anna Maria Island beach nourishment projects began in 1989 with the Manatee County Beach Management Plan. Since then, artificial mitigative reef construction, dune restoration, sea grass transportation and canal maintenance projects have protected the property values.

In early 2014, before the Anna Maria Island renourishment is finished, the Cortez Beach groin replacement project will begin. 

The removal of three existing groins and replacement by three, permeable adjustable ones, is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $2.8 million.

These groins are expected to redirect eroding currents that are migrating the shoreline towards property and roads; in this case, "Gulf Drive." 

Through adjustments, these groins can change the slow abrade of the shore, but provide no protection against storm serge or tidal waves.

The construction is scheduled around turtle nesting season and will take nine months to complete. 


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