Vol 6 No. 34 - May 17, 2006

Beach project flushed

By Tom Vaught

BRADENTON BEACH – Faced with the uncertainty of not knowing what the weather might do, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told beach renourishment contractor Goodloe Marine, Inc., to pack up and leave.

Project manager Ben Goodloe got the news Monday, according to Corps field project director Ron Rutger.

"The Corps sent a letter to Goodloe directing them to remove the pipe from the beach by June 1," he said. "We’ve run out of time and the weather has not cooperated at all."

Rutger estimate no more than 60 percent of the project had been finished. Goodloe started removing pipe from the beach shortly after receiving the letter. Rutger said the contractor would still perform the final grading of the beach to smooth out the surface of the sand and prevent escarpments from forming.

Goodloe called a halt to the renourishment last November due to winter storms that brought winds and high waves, which they said made it dangerous to be offshore on the dredge that was sucking sand from the Gulf bottom. The project had begun July 5, 2005, and was delayed several times due to tropical storms and hurricanes near the area and in the Gulf.

Following a winter of indecision on whether to take up the pipeline that went down the beach from just north of Manatee County Beach to just north of Katie Pierola Park, Goodloe was given the go-ahead to restart. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission gave permission for the dredging to resume, despite the beginning of nesting season on the beach for endangered sea turtles. But they were told to get all their equipment off the beach by June 1.

Before the project began, Manatee County matched a $250,000 payment from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for an engineering study to find the best quality sand for the beaches. The Corps is normally charged with finding sand, not always good quality sand, to protect the beaches when it directs a renourishment, but the county wanted to make sure the color and texture more closely matched what was already on the beach.

Manatee County Conservation Lands Management Director Charlie Hunsicker commented on the project.

"Despite the difficulties, the county is grateful for the supplemental sand we received under the federal contract," he said. "The work on the beaches this past year made a better buffer and we feel it was worth it."

Hunsicker said the county looks forward to adding sand to Anna Maria and Coquina Beach in a project being planned for this November.

Last week, Goodloe asked to be able to use the parking lot at Manatee County Beach to stage pipes that would be taken away after the job. The Manatee County Commission voted not to allow that parking lot to be used, but the county did give Goodloe permission to use Coquina Park Bayside to load the pipes on ships to be taken away.

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