HOLMES BEACH, Fla. — A $17.3 million beach renourishment project has begun on Anna Maria Island.
Officials say the sand protects the coastline from the tide, it provides nesting for wildlife like sea turtles and it makes for a great beach for residents and tourists. But storms wash it away.
"The sand shifts. It gets washed out and it gets packed down," said Jim McDaniel director of development of the Center for Anna Maria Island.
That’s why a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has begun an extensive beach renourishment to restock a 5.5-mile stretch oF beach from northern Holmes Beach to the southern end of Coquina Beach at Longboat Pass.
"These projects are huge for the protection of our beaches and properties due to our never-ending storm season," said Christopher Culhane, executive director of the Center for Anna Maria Island.
The project schedule calls for restocking about 300-feet of beach per day and is expected to be completed by the end of October.
"This beach nourishment management program is very much like a roadway or other such infrastructure, as in once it is built, it must be maintained," said Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director. "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."
The county says portions of the beach will be closed during active construction, preventing the public from accessing that area of the shore.
The progress will be updated throughout construction and a list of frequently asked questions are available at mymanatee.org/beachproject.