TREASURE ISLAND — City and county officials are scrambling to see if beach nourishment can be expedited after Tropical Storm Eta scoured the Sunset Beach area.
“I’ve spent the past several days on the phone with mostly Sunset Beach residents who have lost a significant portion of their yard to erosion,” Stacy Boyles, Treasure Island’s assistant public works director, told city commissioners the week after the Nov. 11 storm hit.
Pinellas County coastal management officials have hired a University of South Florida professor to survey the beach, with that information to be provided to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps was originally scheduled to nourish the Treasure Island beach next in 2023.
County public works director Kelli Hammer Levy said last week that her office is seeking emergency funding to make repairs on Sunset Beach.
“We did the damage assessment on those beaches and we submitted that data to the Corps and requested emergency funding,” she said. “They’re very grateful that we got it to them so quickly, and they’ll let us know about any available funding that might come forward on Tropical Storm Eta.”
Even on an emergency basis, beach nourishment is “a long process,” Boyles said. She said she hoped to hear about the availability of funding by the end of February. “If we are successful, and we believe that we will be in getting the renourishment pushed up to early 2022, we still have a couple winters to go,” she said. “So it’s sketchy out there.”