Posted on October 24, 2022
Where’s the beach?
Some island beaches along Anna Maria Island might be unrecognizable and take years to come back to their long stretch of sand between dunes after erosion caused by the wind and currents from Hurricane Ian.
The category 4 storm made landfall in Lee County Sept. 28, bringing high winds and rolling surf to Florida’s Southwest coast. While Anna Maria Island beaches escaped the brunt of the storm, the storm eroded the northernmost-facing beaches.
Bean Point in Anna Maria and Beer Can Island on Longboat Key saw erosion, according to Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County director of parks and natural resources.
Hunsicker said Oct. 14 that the county’s renourishment program is based on evidence of severe erosion and also the cooperation of those property owners who allow renourishment in their area.
Hunsicker said the property owners in Anna Maria toward the Bean Point area did not agree in earlier decades to convey renourishment rights, as did property owners in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.
“With the exception of a one-half mile stretch between Elm Street and Magnolia … the remaining portions of Anna Maria are not enrolled in a state or federal renourishment program,” Hunsicker said.
“Without enrollment, the county is not eligible to receive supplemental funding and would not pursue beach renourishment entirely at our own expense.”
Hunsicker said the Bean Point beaches likely would rebalance themselves over the next few years.
He said erosion on Beer Can Island also would be left to nature.
“There is no property there to protect other than to watch Mother Nature balance and rebalance herself. There’s no harm in that,” Hunsicker said.
Hunsicker said upcoming county projects in the Coquina Beach area would include a redesign of the groin at the southernmost point of the public beach.
He said the capital improvement plan is scheduled between 2023 and 2025 and the groin would be refurbished as an erosion control structure.
The work needs to be done to prevent the loss of sand along the shore and from a buildup of sand in the pass, which creates a navigational hazard.
The project will be funded by tourist tax revenues and money from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Hunsicker said the next island renourishment is not planned until 2030.