Longboat Key, Florida | June 12th, 2018 – Thankfully, there is some relief coming for residents of Lido Key who are worried about the shrinking shoreline of their beloved and popular beach. The city government of Sarasota has doubled up on its efforts to immediately stop the erosion of Lido Beach which has gotten worse with the onset of this year’s hurricane season.
A state of emergency has been declared by city officials in Lido Key as subtropical depression Alberto, which hit Florida on Memorial Day, severely affected parts of the island’s shoreline. This declaration permits homeowners on the eroded Lido shorelines to beef up their beachfront with sandbags and additional sand to protect their properties. They can seek a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to set a buffer of up to 300 cubic yards of sandbags and beach-quality sand.
State Funding for Immediate Repairs
Early this June, city officials also passed a resolution to ask for more state funding to rebuild parts of Lido Beach that Alberto washed away. The subtropical depression, one official observed, has eroded the dunes and shoreline in portions of Lido by roughly seven to eight feet.
The last time that this beach was renourished was in 2015 with about 226,000 cubic yards of sand added to its shoreline, but that already has eroded.
Sarasota has lined up two approaches in solving the bugging problem of the shrinking beach attraction of Lido Key. The first is a small-scale project to dredge from New Pass 150,000 to 200,000 cubic yards of sand this fall to renourish Lido Beach.
This short-term project is estimated to cost between $2 million and $3 million, with additional state funding now put forward as a result of the recent beach damage wrought by subtropical depression Alberto. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has earlier pledged to contribute $3.3 million for the renourishment of Lido Beach. The city of Sarasota, on the other hand, has declared its willingness to match state money to rebuild the shoreline parts eroded as each storm strikes the vulnerable area.
Larger Renourishment Project
A larger and long-term project for the Lido Beach renourishment is also now moving forward. This after an administrative judge last month dismissed a petition of the Siesta Key Association opposing the city’s project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge from Big Pass up to 1.3 million cubic yards of sand for the larger Lido Beach renourishment project.
The Siesta Key Association is considering appealing though, and it also has a pending civil lawsuit against the project. The association opposes the Big Pass dredging project, as it claims that this would adversely affect navigation and trigger sand erosion in the Siesta Key side.
The city administration, nonetheless, remains optimistic that the association would relent and abandon its opposing stand. Official efforts underway to work out a solution with the Siesta Key group are hopeful signs that the large-scale project will finally push through perhaps as early as winter this year.
Local communities could be expected to have a united stand on beach erosion, as this problem is taking a serious toll not only on the quality of the beach that is so loved by residents and visitors. It is also threatening local sea-turtle nesting and some of summertime bird breeding, which too are very much part of the charms in Lido Key and our other barrier islands.