SARASOTA – Manatee County is not alone in its concerns over major dredging projects which could threaten the overall character, utility and composition of its coastal areas in order to protect beachfront development. Sarasota County residents and environmental experts are raising red flags over two proposed projects that they say could have drastic impacts on the county's world-renowned beaches.
Former Sarasota County Environmental Services Director Rob Patten told the Herald-Tribune that a plan to dredge Big Sarasota Pass could disrupt the supply of Siesta Key Beach's pristine white sand, while also negatively impacting a county park at the south end of Lido Key.
Patten and other residents raised concerns over a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach re-nourishment plan introduced at a joint meeting of the Sarasota City and County Commissions in late October.
The ACOE proposed pumping sand from a large sandbar in Big Pass onto an eroded shoreline on Lido Key, where the gulf is encroaching on hotels and condos. The plan also calls for erecting three concrete groins on south Lido to prevent sand from entering the pass. It is similar to a plan in Manatee waters near Beer Can Island.
The project would alternate dredging every five years from Big Pass and New Pass for the next five decades at a cost of over $20 million for just the first phase, with funding coming from federal dollars, as well as state and TDC monies.
Patten told the Herald-Tribune that the plan would “stick up and destroy (Siesta) beach as we know it." He added that he couldn't understand why they wouldn't have a "thorough vetting of all the issues, many of which are brought up in the corps' own reports.”
Army Corps of Engineers project manager Milan Mora will answer questions about the project at a Siesta Key Association meeting 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5617 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key.
Click here to read the Herald-Tribune's article.
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