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Tampa Bay beaches recovering from more erosion after Idalia, Army Corps to hold meeting on nourishment

Posted on September 6, 2023

Beaches in Pinellas County managed to reopen just in time for Labor Day after Hurricane Idalia swept through the state.

The storm stripped tons of sand from beaches that had already been badly eroded. Every single beach in Pinellas County lost a significant amount of sand because of the storm, officials said.

At one point, it prompted health advisories for some beaches due to high bacteria levels. Flooding also prompted closure to the barrier islands moments after the storm.

As of Sunday, access to Sunset Beach remains limited due to the erosion. However, at the main Treasure Island beach, crowds have flocked for the holiday weekend. It’s kept business at Caddy’s Waterfront Restaurant busy.

“It’s nice to see all of the families and everyone be able to come out for their vacation,” Jessica Ford, general manager of the Treasure Island location, said.

However, city officials said about half of public beach access points at Indian Rocks Beach remain closed due to erosion as well. After ongoing erosion concerns, city officials are urging the Army Corps of Engineers to reverse their decision to pause beach nourishment projects.

Recently, the Army Corps changed its requirements for the project to move forward. Now, 100 percent of homeowners in the zoned project areas are required to sign a perpetual property easement. The easements give the Army Corps rights to a portion of the homeowners’ property, forever.

The work to invest in Florida beaches in the mind of Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina. The business was busy once again after the storm pushed an influx of sand in and around the property.

Hubbard said the beaches are vital to the state’s tourism and economy.

“The importance of our beaches matters to every single resident in Florida,” Hubbard said. “If our beaches aren’t here, tourism’s not here, our state will suffer as a whole.”

The Army Corps of Engineers will host a public meeting to share updates on the storm damage reduction project. That meeting will be held in Indian Shores on Friday, Sept. 8.


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