Rapid erosion troubles Lido Shores residents

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While the erosion on South Lido Key and the battle to dredge Big Pass has received intense media, resident and government attention, a rapidly eroding shoreline is causing concern just to the north.

In fact, Lido Shores Property Owners Association is appealing to the City of Sarasota Commission and management to “take immediate action to save Lido Key Beach.”

In a statement issued May 17, the Lido Shores Association said that over the past two years more than 23 feet of protected dunes have eroded and four additional feet in the past week alone. They say the protective dune system is collapsing at an unprecedented rate and that access for the numerous public beachgoers who walk north from the main beach is impeded by downed trees and sheer lack of beach.

According to homeowners in Lido shores and some engineering experts, sand dredged by the City of Sarasota in 2015 from an offshore ebb shoal just south of New Pass is the likely culprit for the rapid and massive erosion. Before then, southerly currents coming from nearby Longboat Key left the powdery white sand beach and dunes alone. Now, currents regularly slam directly into the once pristine beach, scouring sand back into the Gulf at an alarming and catastrophic rate say residents.

Lido Shores is home to numerous iconic Sarasota homes that belie the history of mid-century modern architecture. North Lido beach is not only the beach Lido Shores residents walk to, but streams of visitors and beachgoers as well stroll from the main beach off St. Armands to the north end and back.

Lido Shores resident Elliott Himelfarb said the erosion is the worst he has seen in the eight years he has frequented the beach.

The Lido Shores neighborhood Pavilion, an iconic landmark for North Lido Beach walkers, now sits just 5-feet from falling into the Gulf. The Association says more importantly, with the loss of dunes, residents are seeing more flooding onto Westway Drive, threatening not only homes and property values with damaging salt water, but also a wastewater pumping station that handles sewage. The next storm surge will likely infiltrate the city drainage system not designed to handle salt water says the Association.

The Association met several times with city engineer Alex Davis Shaw, and last week with City Manager Tom Barwin.  Barwin urged the neighborhood association “to speak up and become part of the conversation.”

The loss of protective dunes is especially worrisome with Hurricane season closing in.

That “conversation” over where to dredge and where to spread sand is leading to ever-increasing challenges and cost as easy sources of the powdery commodity grows scarce and beachfront development intensifies.

Lido Shores residents are specifically aware that the public beach along the north end of Lido is not slated to receive any sand soon. And while the South end of Lido is severely eroded as well, good news recently arrived.

South Lido residents and business owners were gratified when recently a state judge rejected a challenge by Siesta Key residents to block a state permit for the dredging of Big Pass that the City says is needed for the eroded south end of Lido. In total, up to 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass will be used to rebuild parts of Lido Beach — but not the north end.

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1 Response for “Rapid erosion troubles Lido Shores residents”

  1. ghostrider says:

    “[The] “conversation” over where to dredge and where to spread sand is …” at best a short-term delay tactic. One understands the need for having something done now, but, the money would be better spent sinking wall barriers than having beach sand replenishment after every season. Your present solution will leave you exactly at the same place five years down the road.

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