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Manager talks beach, red tide, new park

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Town Manager Dave Bullock heads into the busy season on Longboat Key with several critical projects either under way or in development.

Dave Bullock

Perhaps no activity on Longboat Key is more visceral than the stoic task of removing thousands of pounds of dead fish from canals and beaches following red tide. Another issue is the ever-changing state of the beach and the town’s renourishment program and the evolution of the redeveloped Bayfront Park, which is also on the agenda. Here’s what Bullock had to say about these Longboat issues and other matters that face the town.

 

Red tide has been omni-present over the past weeks. What is the state of fish removal in the canals as well as on the beach?

We have had Public Works staff cleaning the canals every day since our contractor has been unavailable due to demand. We went out today and hit 11 canals removing the last fish we could find.

 

In all, how much fish has been removed from Longboat shorelines?

We removed a total of 43 tons off the beach and seven tons out of the canals. If you figure each fish weighs about one pound, that’s 200,000 dead fish. In the canals our staff used the boat we bought last year that has a flat deck and nets to retrieve the dead fish. We placed the dead fish in large demolition bags provided by Waste Management and two dump trucks continuously have made trips to the Manatee County landfill with the dead fish.

 

Before you were town manager, you worked as the Sarasota County Deputy Manager and how has the recent red tide and fish deaths compared to what you have seen over the years?

This was pretty mild compared to what we used to see in the mid 2000s. In 2005, the red tide was so bad you noticed a decrease in the fish whereas I went fishing on the east side of the Bay last weekend and caught plenty.

 

What has been the reaction or what do you hear most from residents concerning the red tide? 

The most common comment we get is ‘Thank you,’ especially when they see our Public Works staff knee deep in dead fish in the canal cleaning things up.

 

When will the current beach work be completed?

We should finish up Sunday. By that I mean the contractor has indicated they will finish dredging Longboat Pass on Sunday and then all that will remain is for the sand to be spread and graded.

 

That is the north end, but when will the trucking of sand for Inn on the Beach be completed?

They just completed. So in a week, everything should be done and then we can look forward to next year when we will undertake sand surveys for a future renourishment project as well as analyze the possibility of extending the jetty at New Pass in order to retain more south end sand.

 

What about the new Bayfront Park?

A lot of work has been underway and the contractor has poured most of the sidewalk and connecting sidewalks within the site.

 

When do you expect the project to be complete and the residents can again use the expanded facility?

We are planning on a June 2017 Grand Opening.

 

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