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Beach renourishment efforts scheduled on Anna Maria Island | Environment

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Beach renourishment efforts scheduled on Anna Maria Island
Beach renourishment efforts scheduled on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, Florida -- Positive changes will soon be coming to the coasts of Anna Maria Island.

Soon, residents and visitors may begin to notice beach renourishment efforts from Coquina Beach to Longboat Pass in upcoming days and weeks as crews begin to mobilize the first of a three-phase project to restock island beaches with their trademark white sand.

Actual dredging will begin by April 1 and should last about one month, depending on weather conditions. Following the Coquina renourishment, a smaller project will be done near the Sandbar restaurant on the north end of Anna Maria.

Portions of Coquina receiving sand will be closed for one day at a time while 200,000 cubic yards of sand are delivered but the rest of the beach will remain open. Charlie Hunsicker, director of Manatee Natural Resources Department, said renourishing the beach will help protect Gulf Drive from storm waves.

“The necessity of this project is proven through the mere fact that our beach lifeguards can no longer traverse the beach with their rescue equipment without having to drive out into the water or into the sand dunes,” Hunsicker said. “This sand is being placed across a stretch of beach that has experienced some of the worst erosion in recent memory.”

Project Manager Rick Spadoni, of Coastal Planning and Engineering, said a barge will dock off the northern end of the Island where it will dredge sand and pump it through underwater pipes to Coquina.

“A submerged pipe of up to five miles long will bring dredged sand from the barge to the north end of Coquina Beach and a bulldozer and front-end loader will spread the sand on the beach,” Spadoni said.

The cost of the $6 million project is being split evenly between Florida documentary stamp collections and tourist tax dollars collected locally.

A second restocking project will take place next year at the Island’s northern tip. That $5.5 million project will be paid entirely by Port Dolphin, LLC as part of an agreement to allow the company to extract natural gas 28 miles west of Anna Maria Island, convert the gas into vapor and then pump the product through the underwater pipeline to Port Manatee.

A third project planned for 2014-2015 will restock eroded beaches throughout Anna Maria Island. The cost will be split by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Florida and local Tourist Development Council money.

For more information on the renourishment projects, call Hunsicker at (941) 745-3727. For more information on Manatee County beaches, visit www.mymanatee.org/beaches

Source: Manatee County Information Outreach Coordinator

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