Beaches fared quite well during Irma

| October 1, 2017

By Rachel Brown Hackney

Turtle Beach aerial

Sarasota County’s Environmental Protection Division staff reported late on Sept. 13 that the county’s beaches fared “very well following Hurricane Irma.”

On Sept. 12, the summary says, staff of the division conducted a countywide, post-storm inspection of the beaches and dune conditions on the unincorporated barrier islands, including Siesta and Casey keys. These assessments followed pre-storm inspections conducted on Sept. 5 and Sept. 6, the summary notes.

The assessments following Irma were “based on visual inspections, local knowledge of our beaches, and comparisons of the photo-documentation of pre-storm and post-storm conditions,” the summary explains. “No specific surveying or topographic measurements are taken during these

beach and dune assessments,” the summary points out. “Therefore, the evaluation is qualitative rather than quantitative and should not be used to make conclusions on estimated volumes of sand lost or gained in our coastal areas.”

For Siesta Key, the summary reported the following findings:

• Wind-blown sand accumulated over portions of the restored dune vegetation at the South Siesta Key Beach Renourishment area at Turtle Beach.

• The southernmost property on Siesta Key (9230 Blind Pass Road) showed minor beach and dune erosion (less than 5 feet), but only minor dune vegetation loss was noted in this area. “Overwash deposited a layer of sand on the pool deck at this property.”

• Minor beach and dune erosion (approximately 5 to 10 feet) was observed at the southern end of Crescent Beach, immediately north of Point of Rocks on Siesta Key.

• “The majority of public beach accesses on Siesta Key experienced flooding of varying degree. Several public access points had a few to several inches of standing water on the public footpaths leading to the beach” at the time of the Sept. 12 assessment, the summary said.

The report contained the following information about Casey Key:

• The step revetment area on North Casey Key Road saw wave overwash, sand deposition and impacts to guardrails. The road remained passable.

• At 2007 Casey Key Road, the recent sand placement had washed out, exposing previously installed sandbags that continued to provide protection to the foundation. The septic tank at this location also had been exposed because of the loss of sand placed in the area; this site was reported to the Health Department.

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