MANATEE -- As it has been previously over the past 40 years, Longboat Pass will be dredged once again.
The Manatee County Commission and Longboat Key Town Commission voted Tuesday to move forward with dredging the pass by approving a joint permit application.
"I know this has been going on a long time, and it seems to me that the professionals have told us what to do and we need to just do it," Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said.
The permit with comments will be submitted to the Tampa District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Parks and Natural Resources Department.
With the shifting sands, Hunsicker said it is appropriate to follow the original alignment.
"I, like others, believe on the strength of 40 years of history of dredging the pass on alignment so there is little room to call out that there
have been other environmental issues," Hunsicker said. "I am hopeful that we will be successful moving this permit through this calendar year."
Sand from the dredging will go to Longboat Key, which needs it. The town commission will manage the project bidding, follow-up work and sand placement, according to Hunsicker.
Next time dredging takes place, if Manatee County beaches need the sand, it will take responsibility.
"It will go back and forth based on the sand need," Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock said.
Since dredging has occurred at the pass in previous years, most recently in 1997, no additional environmental impact studies were done since they've been done before, said Manatee County Commission Chairwoman Betsy Benac.
"This is routine maintenance," she said.
As additional beach renourishment, Longboat Key is considering trucking in bring about 200,000 cubic yards of sand to Central Island.
Project cost is unknown, but the town has $13 million in voter-approved debt to fund the renourishment, Bullock said.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.