County 2009-2011 beach renourishment planning under way
Manatee County Ecosystems Administrator Charlie Hunsicker said the county has received a federal grant to study eroding beaches in Anna Maria that were not part of the 2002 beach renourishment project, and will not be renourished under a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project scheduled to begin this summer.
The upcoming beach erosion study is the initial phase required for the next Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project, expected to begin between 2009 and 2011, he said.
The grant was offered to the county after the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognized the "continuing beach erosion problems that are experienced from Bean Point south to the Anna Maria city limits," Hunsicker said.
If the city and county are to address the erosion problems in the study area through a future renourishment project, he said, "the feasibility study must be completed as a prerequisite to state grant funding."
He also noted that part of the study must address the "sufficiency of public parking and public access to all Gulffront beaches within the city," including "sufficiency criteria."
While Anna Maria currently has enough public parking to meet state requirements for beach renourishment funding, he cautioned the city commission to "keep these minimum standards in mind as the city works to create a parking ordinance." The commission recently agreed to move forward with an "alternate street" parking plan.
Hunsicker said the next full beach renourishment project is a long way off.
Once the erosion survey and feasibility study are complete, planning and engineering activities for beach renourishment will take between three and four years before any actual dredging. That will also include acquiring access easements to the county from owners of "benefitted properties" along the beach that will be renourished.
Those easements were a major sticking point for many Anna Maria beachfront residents prior to the 2002 renourishment project. Because a number of beachfront property owners declined to sign easements, only a .6 mile section of Anna Maria beach was renourished in 2002.
Among those sections where homeowners declined to sign easements was the beach between 755 and 761 N. Shore Drive. The beach in that area was severely eroded by the four hurricanes of 2004, and residents have subsequently had to build a seawall from their own funds to prevent further beach erosion and possible loss of structures.
Contractor named for emergency Island beach renourishment
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week named Goodloe Marine of Apollo Beach as the contractor for the Anna Maria Island emergency beach renourishment project. The contract is for $4.6 million.
Efforts to reach Goodloe Marine for comment on the project were unsuccessful.
Manatee County Ecosystems Administrator Charlie Hunsicker said the company has not yet given him an exact date when it will start the project, but USACE spokersperson Barry Vorse said the company should beging moving its dredge and equipment to the Island by mid-June at the latest.
Goodloe Marine will have 120 days to complete the project, Vorse said.