If you’ve visited the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island lately you may have noticed some new beachgoers – the heavy machinery and massive pipes being used for our latest beach renourishment and dredging projects.
There recently began an extensive beach renourishment to restock a 5.5-mile stretch of beach northern Holmes Beach to the southern end of Coquina Beach at Longboat Pass. But don’t worry, this is a construction project worth investing in and rooting for- it helps makes our beaches more sustainable.
Why Beach Renourishment Done
“The work you see is maintenance that will help ensure the continued presence of a sandy beach and storm protection for the upland, as well as provide important nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles and shorebirds.”- Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Parks, and Natural Resources Director
Hunsicker said the beach loss averages 100 feet of depth every 10 years. He said the retreat of the sand is measured until it reaches a point where renourishment can begin before too much sand is lost. Each successive event requires less sand until a sustainable pattern is reached.
“Our goal is to get in balance with sand coming into the system and sand coming off the beach”
How Beach Renourishment Accomplished
The sand will be delivered by barge from an offshore borrow area about 2,000 feet offshore of the north end of Anna Maria Island, near Passage Key. The sand is dredged from the offshore areas by a hydraulic cutter suction dredge, then pumped through a pipeline to the beach as a water/sand slurry. The submerged pipeline comes ashore onto the beach at a designated landing location and connects to the shore pipeline, which runs along the dry beach. The sand slurry is discharged from the pipeline and bulldozers move the sand to fill the designed construction template.
Construction equipment moves down the beach around the clock, traveling about 300 feet every 24 hours, with heavy activity along the way expected to last no longer than a few days.
The project schedule calls for restocking about 300-feet of beach per day, baring weather delays, the project should be complete by the end of October.
Portions of the beach will be closed during active construction, preventing the public from accessing that area of the shore. But, the plan will always move in a way that leaves plenty of public beaches still open for visiting. The progress will be updated throughout construction and a list of frequently asked questions are available on the website.
So, if you notice some action on the beaches of AMI over the coming weeks, you can be in the know about what’s happening on our shoreline and rest assured- our beaches will be stocked and ready for many more years of fun in paradise!
Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos