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Pinellas County leaders developing emergency project to repair eroded shoreline

Posted on September 18, 2023

Tampa Bay-area beaches serve many purposes. A fun place to spend a day soaking in the sun or a home to sea turtle nests and a wide variety of seabird species. It’s tourism that is driving and positively impacting the economy.

The most important function the beaches serve is likely one most don’t think about – our beaches are a barrier of protection when storms pass through. The sand and the dunes protect inland infrastructure from flooding and devastation when severe weather approaches.

Hurricane Idalia showed the importance of having enough sand on the beach. Every Pinellas County beach lost a significant amount of sand as the king tide and storm surge pushed waves further and further in.

Now, to help repair the damages done by Hurricane Idalia, the county is piecing together a plan to stabilize the beaches impacted.

“The county is going to be implementing emergency control measures in the hardest hit areas to get them shored up at least through hurricane season,” Tony Fabrizio, the senior public relations coordinator, shared via email. “Sunset Beach in Treasure Island is among those areas. There are others, and we’re working with municipal partners.”

Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy confirmed her municipality is also working with the county for repair work.

“We are surveying them to find out exactly how much each will cost,” Kennedy explained. “They’re all a little different, some have higher levels of sand loss. So as we get that, that’s going to be a part of the emergency renourishment.”

Pinellas County is using its emergency procurement process to expedite the work, with a goal of beginning repair work in a matter of weeks. The work will include temporary erosion control structures and dunes. The plan is still under development with the county unable to provide more specific details about what the work entails.

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