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Millions spent to protect Manasota Key from Erosion

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.– Every storm that hits the shores of Southwest Florida could cause beach erosion. Officials in Charlotte County are working to protect their beaches by surveying the sand before and after major storms.

Before the Manasota Key Restoration project, the beach was basically non-existent. Residents said the waves were practically knocking at their back doors.

“There was significant erosion. In some cases actually impacting structures on the beach, houses, and condos,” public works director, John Elias said.

These waves could have caused major destruction had Charlotte and Sarasota counties not stepped in.

“Obviously if there’s no foundation under them, it could collapse so that was a problem,” Elias said.

Charlotte and Sarasota brought in more than one million cubic yards of sand to Manasota Key in 2020. This provided a renewed sense of hope, according to the residents who live there.

“The project has improved a lot of Manasota Key, especially for some of the homes that were in danger,” Ellie Decker said. “We do have a deeper beach or a wider beach, and there are fewer shark teeth but there are more turtles and more birds.”

The beach is now considered engineered. There is some concern that storms, like Elsa, could cause the sand to wash away again.

“With regard to beach erosion, expect the unexpected,” Elias said. “We’ve had non-events, storms that sit offshore or skirt the coast, and it’ll cause significant beach erosion. So it’s hard to say what to expect.”

To find out what impact each storm has, surveyors check the beach before and after the major storms. If there is damage, the county can request reimbursement from FEMA, as public funds were used for the project.

Until the survey team hits the beach later this week, residents said they are pleased with how things are going so far.

“So the beach nourishment project has been very effective,” Decker said.

Count on NBC2 to share the results of the survey as soon as they’re available.

The post Millions spent to protect Manasota Key from Erosion appeared first on NBC2 News.

NBC2 (WBBH-TV)

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