Vol 6 No. 17 - January 18, 2006

Beach project permits in jeopardy

Above, Large chunks of rusted pipes have scaled off
and may pose a safety problem.
SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE

By Tom Vaught
SUN STAFF WRITERS

BRADENTON BEACH – It has been nearly two months since the renourishment contractor, Goodloe Marine, Inc., quit the project to wait for better weather.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering granting an official delay, searching for a subcontractor or requiring Goodloe to finish, but has taken several weeks to find an answer.
Now it appears to be a race consisting of man and machines versus mother turtles with eggs to lay.

"I’m getting signals that we might not get the permits extended beyond May 1," said Rick Spadoni, Senior Vice President of Coastal Planning and Engineering, the consultant for the project to Manatee County. "We might have to wait until September, if they grant the extension at all."

Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers, expire in March. "I didn’t think it would be a problem," he said, "but I’m getting indications that it might be."
In addition, the final phase of the renourishment, which was brought on by heavy erosion from 2004’s hurricane season, might not be funded. That portion is under a separate contract with Goodloe, and is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The first phase, covering the original renourishment from 2002 in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach, is funded by the Corps. Spadoni indicated the funds from FEMA to do the job in the city of Anna Maria might not be available beyond May.

It appears the two federal agencies are concerned that the project will go into a second turtle nesting season. Sea turtles are a protected species and if it does, it might entail moving the nests to safer locations, according to Manatee County’s Ecosystems Administrator Charlie Hunsicker.

"They may shorten the length of time granted to complete construction of the project unless an appropriate safe location can be found to relocate the new turtle nests," Hunsicker said.
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said the Corps is asking for nesting statistics from last year, which is apparently the reason for a delay in its decision on the future of the project.

"I’m satisfied that they’re being very cautious about the turtles," she said.
Meanwhile, there are complaints about the large pipes left along the beach from the Manatee County Beach south to Katie Pierola Park. Beachfront resort and rental property owners say it is unsightly and it obstructs access to the Gulf waters. Hunsicker said that is another reason they hope for a quick solution to the problem, which is brought on by rough winter storm fronts that whip up the waves, making it impossible for Goodloe to safely mine sand from the Gulf floor.

Another problem has been scaling of the pipes by the salt air. There are reports that large chunks of rusty metal have fallen off the pipes and into the sand, posing a safety problem. Spadoni said the contractor is supposed to take care of maintenance of the equipment and pick up the metal and he said he would check into it.

 



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