Last nourished in 2006, the Sand Key shoreline in Pinellas County will be getting some attention once again.
Part of a $31.5 million construction project slated to begin in March on 8.7 miles of Sand Key shoreline
, the project is anticipated to use about 1.25 million cubic yards of sand from a borrow area approximately 12 miles offshore and west of Sand Key Park
“Essentially, there are three reasons to nourish beaches: To provide storm protection, to boost the economy through tourism and to provide a nesting habitat for marine sea turtles, as well as a nesting and foraging habitat for shorebirds,” says Andy Squires, coastal manager at Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure
Construction on the project will start just south of Sandy Key Park, continuing southward to North Redington Beach
, excluding Belleair Shore
Expected to take about five months to complete, the construction process involves dredging sand from the approved offshore borrow area, pumping the new sand directly from the borrow area to the beach or transporting the sand by barge and spreading the sand on the beach to correct elevations and slopes with bulldozers.
Residents can get involved in the project by assisting the County with planting beach vegetation. The vegetation installed helps to build sand dunes and improve storm protection to upland properties.
“Each year, in late June or early July, the County pays for and provides oat seedlings to beach towns and cities for volunteer groups wishing to build the sand dunes along Pinellas County beaches such as Sand Key, Treasure Island
and Long Key
," says Squires.
For more information on the protect or volunteer opportunities, call (727) 464-8477.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Andy Squires, Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure