Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beach Renourishment Projects

Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously approved on Jan. 5 amendments to two beach renourishment contracts.

Amendment No. 1 to the Treasure Island beach renourishment grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection increases the state share of the project from $400,000 to $700,000. The project is scheduled to begin in late spring 2010.

Amendment No. 2 to the FDEP contract for the Sand Key renourishment project increases the state share of costs from $333,320 to $3.9 million. Construction is set to begin between November 2010 and February 2011.

The Treasure Island project will be constructed in conjunction with the Upham Beach renourishment project and will be administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The estimated cost of $3.5 million for the project will be cost-shared, 60 percent federal government, 20 percent state and 20 percent county. The $20 million estimated cost for the Sand Key project will be paid for with the same cost-sharing formula.

History of the Treasure Island project shows that the beach has “two erosional hot spots:” One on the north end and along the southern two-thirds of the island.

Treasure Island was the first federal project to be constructed on the west coast of Florida in 1969. The beaches have been restored 14 times. Treasure Island was last restored in 2006.

Project plans call for sediment to be dredged from John’s Pass and pumped onto the beaches. The project will renourish a total of 1.4 miles of shoreline encompassing two areas: One in north Treasure Island and the other further south along Sunset Beach.

Officials estimate that construction of both areas will take less than four months.

The Sand Key project is 9 miles long and extends from the Sand Key portion of Clearwater south to North Redington Beach, according to staff notes.

The project history shows the area was first renourished as a single unit in 1998. Prior to that time, individual communities, such as Indian Rocks Beach, Redington Shores and others, were nourished separately.

The 2005-06 Sand Key project was the most expensive beach renourishment project in the history of the Jacksonville District U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at $45 million. The high cost was mainly attributed to fuel costs from barging sand from the Egmont Key Channel borrow area to the beach.

Officials are trying to reduce the cost of the 2010-11 project by contracting Coastal Planning Engineering Inc. to do a sand search for new borrow areas several miles offshore Sand Key.

Sand Key News