Local beaches likely to receive disaster assistance

newsintern@bradenton.comJune 29, 2012 

MANATEE -- Manatee County likely will receive state assistance to cover damage done by Tropical Storm Debby.

In fact, the loss of sand and other damage done to Manatee beaches alone is likely to meet the expense threshold set by the state, according to Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County's director of natural resources.

"We will be relying on our coastal engineers to give us a rough estimate based on observations from the past two days. Those estimates, combined with estimates from other sectors will be submitted to the state to see whether or not our programs meet the required expense threshold." Hunsicker said.

Hunsicker said Manatee County can expect to hear an official total no later than Monday morning.

"As of 2 p.m. (Thursday), the state of Florida's division of emergency assistance says they look to be coming through the area to conduct an official assessment within the next two days," said Laurie Feagans,

Manatee's emergency management chief.

"The public assistance division will be covering estimates on government buildings and property, including the heavy erosion we are seeing on Coquina Beach."

Feagans said the exact dollar amount in damages the area must reach to quality for assistance is $1,094,404.

Although propertydamage from heavy rain-fall and flooding looksubstantial, some consolation may be taken from an environmental perspective.

"Our natural systems -- rivers, streams, and lakes -- have welcomed the rain. They have done a good job of receiving and absorbing the downpours, and that will result in a natural benefit for our wildlife," Hunsicker said.

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