This spring, Army Corps of Engineers contractor completed initiative with sand from Big Sarasota Pass
The recently completed Lido Key Beach renourishment project has earned national recognition, having been included on the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s annual list of the country’s best restored beaches, the City of Sarasota has announced.
“The award acknowledges community beach restoration projects around the United States that ‘increase a shoreline’s resiliency, the beach’s ability to mitigate storm damage and flooding from severe storms and naturally allow the beach to adjust to short-term sea level rise while remaining an important part of the nearshore ecosystem,’” a city news release points out.
The Lido Beach renourishment, a partnership between the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), added nearly 700,000 cubic yards of sand from Big Sarasota Pass to a 1.56-mile stretch of Lido Key, “protecting critical infrastructure, properties and wildlife habitats,” the release adds. Along with placing the new sand on the shoreline, a USACE subcontractor constructed two rock groins on South Lido. Those have been designed to trap the flow of sand and reduce erosion, the release notes.
Lido Beach was one of only three beaches on the list, joining two others in Florida, the release says: Upham Beach in St. Petersburg, and St. Joseph Peninsula in Gulf County.
“This year’s restored beach award winners represent a variety of beach types, and I congratulate them for the hard work and beautiful beaches they have protected and enhanced,” said Tony Pratt, president of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), in the release. “For more than 50 years, beach restoration — the process of placing beach-quality sand on dwindling beaches to reverse or offset the effects of sand loss — has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities, and the original living shoreline approach to addressing coastal erosion,” Pratt added in the release.
Projects were judged on three criteria: the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community; short- and long-term success of the restoration project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project, the release explains.
“The renourishment of Lido Beach has been more than 20 years in the making, with many individuals from the City, our partner agencies and the community working through the permitting and design process and lengthy legal challenges over the years,” said Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown in the release. “It’s been amazing to see the beach’s transformation, and we are honored to receive this recognition for what is a beloved Sarasota destination and an important economic driver for our community,” Brown added in the release.
The Lido project marked the first step in a planned 50-year partnership with the USACE, the release notes. That “will allow the City to respond more quickly to future storm events with additional renourishments on the barrier island,” the release says.
The June 2018 permit the Florida Department of Environmental Management issued to the city and the USACE for the undertaking is good for 15 years.
The award-winning project teams will be honored during the spring 2022 ASBPA Coastal Summit, the release points out. A complete list of the awards for best restored beaches, along with information on the science and policy of beach restoration, are available at https://asbpa.org/about-us/awards-program, the release notes.