LIDO BEACH, Fla. (WWSB) - 700,000 cubic yards of sand is now being pumped from Big Pass to Lido Beach as part of a major renourishment project. Sarasota city officials are calling this the Lido Shoreline Stabilization and Hurricane Protection Plan. They tell ABC 7, this will help with the erosion issues that continues to plague Lido and protect the shoreline.
“It is well thought out, it really is recycling sand back to Lido from where it came,” said Tom Barwin, City Manager for Sarasota. “It’s the most environmentally sensitive approach and it now changes the situation where we can plan our shoreline protection on a regular basis.”
This has been a hot debate for years. Legal challenges from Siesta Key residents have tried to stop this from happening.
“This is just devastating to us, this is an estuary of national significance, outstanding water quality,” said Mike Holderness, a Siesta Key resident and hotel owner. “It’s a county marine park conservation area, Manatee Estuary, fish estuary, I mean it’s heartbreaking.”
Holderness and others say the dredging of Big Pass will cause many issues, including an impact on the Siesta Key coastline.
“It can definitely cause other beach erosion, the wave heights were average,” said Holderness. “So we’re going to see a lot higher wave intensity all the way to downtown Sarasota, Siesta Key and even Lido, our water quality is now in jeopardy.”
There are also concerns with sea turtle nesting. Sarasota city officials say they want to get along and work closely with everyone, especially with residents of Siesta Key.
“The key to the future is collaboration, cooperation, rolling up your sleeves, working together,” said Barwin. “There’s not one single soul in the city of Sarasota that wants to see any harm done to anything Siesta Key, they’re our friends, they’re our neighbors, we love them.”
The dredging part of the project is expected to be finished late this fall. After that, crews will then construct two sand retaining groins, which should be finished by May. Total cost of the project is around 19.5 million dollars.