Anna Maria Island in line for beach renourishment

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 2, 2013 

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Once covered by sand, erosion-control groins and rocks were exposed by heavy surf from Tropical Storm Debby as it pounded Coquina Public Beach in 2012, causing significant erosion to the beach. FILE PHOTO-GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

GJEFFERIES@BRADENTON.COM

MANATEE -- The proposed Florida budget includes $3.175 million in matching funds for beach renourishment along the eroded edge of Anna Maria Island.

The money, if Gov. Rick Scott concurs, will be used to match federal funds already been appropriated for the work, state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said Wednesday.

"The final budget ... has that money in it," said Galvano, whose district includes Manatee County's beaches. "Those dollars were an absolute priority for me because we depend so much on our tourism, and renourishment of the beaches has been successful in the past and helped, from not just a tourist standpoint, but a safety standpoint, in avoiding erosion.

"I represent Anna Maria Island and want to take care of it."

Asked about the possibility of a gubernatorial veto, Galvano said that is unlikely.

"I would be very surprised if the governor tinkered with it because it also comes with federal dollars," he said. "The best approach that is needed and vital to our community and our state is to let it go forward and not disturb it."

Renourishment will entail replacing about 795,700 cubic yards of sand to repair damage from last year's Tropical Storm Debby, according to Dee Ann Miller, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The proposed budget calls for $37.46 million for beach nourishment throughout Florida, she said.

"It makes a huge difference," said Mary Ann Brockman, president and chief executive officer at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. "We either have beach or we don't have beach, because it constantly washes away.

"If they don't keep replacing the beach, we don't have tourism," she said. "It all hinges on how beautiful your beach is whether you have tourists or not."

The federal government has allocated about $15 million for renourishment, with about $9 million requiring a roughly 48 percent state and local match, said Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker.

"So, that means you're still in the neighborhood of $3.2 million to $3.5 million, which will have been set aside by the state as a requirement to match the incoming federal funds for renourishment," Hunsicker said.

Hunsicker anticipates the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award the project in August with construction taking four or five months to complete.

Work will begin at 78th Street North at Holmes Beach and extend to 5th Street South in Bradenton Beach.

"When that project is completed, we will pick up from there with a county and state project extending south to Longboat Pass," Hunsicker said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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