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Sand won’t stick to North Longboat Key

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The North-end beach on Longboat Key presents a costly conundrum for the Town Commission.

Last Monday, the Town transferred about $385,550 to fund a detailed analysis and engineering report to help address the ever-shifting shoreline and rapidly eroding Beer Can Island.

At the meeting last Monday, Town Manager Dave Bullock said that in his “layman’s viewpoint” the two groins that were recently installed on the North End have not helped much in retaining sand in front of Longbeach Condominiums.

“The seawall is probably the only reason the Coquina Building at Longbeach Condominiums is still there. I have concurred that under the current setup it will not be possible to retain sand in front of that seawall,” said Bullock.

Bullock told Longboat Key News that the groins appear to be very effective in retaining sand and preventing erosion to the north in front of 360 North Condominium, but it is to the south that the bare seawall remains unprotected. He said the seawall has been in place for 40 years and has been the best defense for the Coquina building and has not been breached since no mega-storm has hit the Key.

Vice Mayor Phill Younger said at the meeting that the Town should consider placing a much coarser grain of sand in the vicinity of the groins.

Longboat commissioners and the Town residents have historically desired sugar-white sand, but the smaller grains have less adhesion qualities and are prone to faster rates of erosion. Bullock agreed with Younger’s sentiment.

The money that was approved for the study last Monday, is left over from last year’s dredge and beach maintenance projects as well as the truck hauling projects.

The town’s beach engineer, Olson and Associates, will consider several of the shifting dynamics in its analysis and Bullock hopes to have their report in hand by summer so the commission can choose among options. One of the concerns is the erosion of Greer Island and the movement of that sand toward the Longboat Pass Bridge where its accumulation is gradually choking off the lagoon that currently serves as a tidal estuary in front of numerous North Shore Road properties.

Bullock said that it is important to maintain the flow to that lagoon or the estuary will transform into a hyper-saline environment.

Olson and Associates did perform a peer review on the potential effectiveness of the groins that were installed, but their design and recommendation came from the town’s previous beach engineer, Coastal Planning and Engineering. The rapid erosion on the northwest tip of Longboat Key is in large part due to the inlet currents and the confluence of the Gulf and the lack of a terminal groin, which was proposed and approved by the state but not built due to a court challenge and settlement agreement.

Resident Gene Jaleski, who fought the north end terminal groin, along with former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash, said the two groins should be removed.

“I’ve never seen sand loss from the beach as rapidly as I have in my 35 years I’ve been here,” said Jaleski.

Bullock cautioned against making assumptions or unrealistic expectations of the groins and said, “they are holding sand and protecting upland structures. That was the goal.”

Bullock added, “It was clear and both the state and engineer said there would be significant erosion on the northern tip of the island without a terminal groin.”

 

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3 Responses for “Sand won’t stick to North Longboat Key”

  1. David Baughman says:

    the seawall at the coquina building will naturally affect the property immediately south of it as it has for the past forty plus years. But not any worse than it has. It has never been a threat to the rest of Longbeach. Note the large amount of sand in front of the Sea Pines and Whitney Beach condo’s that are south of the Longbeach property.
    The new groins are not going to cause issues for Longbeach, and the seawall hasn’t for decades. the crisis is at the inlet. Mr’s Bullock and Jaleski are correct in thinking that a terminal groin of significant length is needed at the inlet where it can help to narrow the inlet and catch drifting sand out to its length.

  2. JC says:

    What is “active sand recycling”? Is that the same as renourishment? While I am not an expert, my understanding of groins is that they help maintain sand updrift, and cause more erosion downdrift. If this is true, then they are not a viable solution if the desire is to maintain the beach on both sides of the groins. Unless, of course, groins are placed every so-many feet down the entire island. I don’t think anyone would advocate such an ugly solution. I remember years back reading somewhere that the fundamental problem was the increase in depth of the longboat pass channel, which was dredged to allow passage of sailboats. Would it be possible to fill it in? Also, what about Sandsavers?

  3. gene jaleski says:

    Correction. If one looks at all the articles appearing on my website pertaining to beach maintinanc, it is very clear that i advocated, for over a decade, placing a long jetty at the pass, along with continuous sand bypass/back pass to recycle the 86% sand loss i to the passes. Passive structures will not stop the loss ever more expensive sand off our beaches into the passes. I was opposed to the useless and destructive groins. I wanted the jetty and active sand recycling. Taxpayers spent $3.4 million to construct two groins to protect two small condominium buildings with s 400 foot, fairly narrow beach, while destroying a thousand feet of Beer Can Island, that will now cost millions to repair. Go figure.

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