The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers and Pinellas County finished a beach
renourishment project on Egmont Key on Dec. 10
that placed more than a million cubic yards of
sand on the beach. The picture above shows the
key after the completion.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
EGMONT KEY Its located
in the mouth of Tampa Bay and accessible only by boat,
but theres a lot of history located on the small
slip of sand known as Egmont Key.
Fortunately, now theres a lot more sand.
According to Catherine Florko, project manager for the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the project
that began on Aug. 11 was finished on Dec. 10, a month
longer than anticipated. But she said there was a reason
for the delay.
"They added three geotubes into the sand to protect
it from erosion," she said. "If they hadnt,
the sand would be gone in six months."
The renourishment was a cooperative project of the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers and Pinellas County. Florko said
it was unusual to see the county help with the expenses.
"Egmont Key is located in Hillsborough County,"
she said. "That shows you how much they care about
the historic structures there."
Those structures are artillery batteries that were constructed
by the United States in 1898 to protect the bay from pirates
and the Spanish Navy. Florko said the state was unable
to lend a hand in the financing.
"Egmont Key is owned by the U.S. government, which
leases it to the state," she said. "That means
the Army Corps of Engineers was the lead agency in the
project because the FDEP is limited in what it can do
when the federal government owns the beach."
The million cubic yards of sand extended the beach an
average of 200 feet to the west along three-fourths of
the beachs length. The sand came from a Corps harbor
deepening project in Tampa Bay, which kept down expenses.
"The Army Corps is doing a study of the Key to see
if it can put it on a regular schedule for renourishment,"
For now, boaters who leave Anna Maria Island and travel
north to Egmont Key will have more beach along its western
shore to enjoy.