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Beaches battered by hurricanes will get help in Sarasota and Manatee counties

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Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union via AP)
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Beaches that were eroded by waves and wind from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole last year will get help, with funding just announced.

The state on Wednesday allocated $100 million to help rebuild beaches devastated by last year's hurricanes. It includes restoration projects in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The money will be used for beach renourishment projects in 16 counties that were impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The money includes $305,000 for Manatee County and $618,000 for Sarasota County.

The money is in addition to $20 million awarded in November to help several local governments immediately address erosion problems. Beaches are considered the first defense against storms, preventing waves from reaching inland dunes and beachside developments. A wide beach system absorbs wave energy, protects upland areas from flooding, and prevents erosion.

"Beaches are vital not only to the environment and the state’s economy, but are most importantly our first line of defense against storms,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “I am thankful for the support and leadership of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to accelerate restoration and further protect these impacted communities from future storm events.”

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Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.