The latest beach renourishment plan for Lido Key Beach still doesn’t have a start date, but officials say they know what is needed to protect the shore for the next five years.
The 2.6-mile-long beach, owned by the city of Sarasota, last had a renourishment in April 2019. A larger scale replacement of sand is planned this time, said City Engineer Alex Davis-Shaw.
She said the $19.6 million project is expected to provide protection to the shoreline for a longer period this time - at least five years. There are places where the impact has lasted longer. For instance, she said Venice Beach launched a similar project and was able to provide protection for seven years.
The main goal is to protect the houses and businesses along the shoreline from the consequences of erosion and to protect residents from possible floods. Davis-Shaw said the project includes adding sand on the shore and placing in the water structures called groins.
“There will always be some protection for the properties and the infrastructure along Lido,” said Davis-Shaw. “And [the project] also includes two groins to help slow the rate of erosion so that the sand stays longer than it has in the past.”
The city of Sarasota does not yet have a start date for the project. An agreement has not been reached with a contractor. However, the project must be done by October 2021, Davis-Shaw.
The issue of renourishment on Lido Key Beach has been an ongoing concern for the city and residents for years, and has been the subject of a Department of Environmental Protection administrative dispute over dredging. And the city commission has been discussing this latest plan for months.
Davis-Shaw broke down the upcoming project costs: 62% through an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 19% through a grant with the state of Florida, and 19% from tourist development dollars.
In addition, renourishment will help restore the natural habitat of protected species, Davis-Shaw said.
“When we had all those storms, we didn't have much beach, we had no place for turtles to nest and not much area for birds,” she said. “So this will build out the beach for natural habitat as well as providing protection for the road, so people have access.”
While the project is underway, people are still allowed to visit Lido Key.
“In the area where the project is occurring, they will cordon off that spot, so that people can go to the rest of the beach,” Davis-Shaw added, “And then they will work their way down the beach.”