Sarasota News Leader

08/23/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 23, 2013 OPINION The city understandably wants to preserve a valuable tourist destination within its corporate limits. And, without intervention, Lido Beach will continue to diminish. Sadly, that is the nature of coastal geology. Sand is not a permanent fixture and efforts to hinder that impermanence stand as constant witnesses to the proverbial Law of Unintended Consequences. Page 60 The science of coastal geology has taken on increased urgency with the realization that climate change is leading to more rapid rises in sea levels. The normal forces of wind and tide are being magnified by the effects of more water encroaching upon the shore. Experts such as Stanley Riggs, distinguished professor of geology at East Carolina University, and Orrin Pilkey, James B. Duke professor emeritus at Duke More frustrating is University's Nicholas that this current proSchool of the Enviposal is, to quote Yogi The science of coastal geology has ronment, have for deBerra, "... déjà vu all taken on increased urgency with the cades advocated for over again." In 1994, realization that climate change is leading allowing nature to take when Venice wanted to more rapid rises in sea levels. its course in coastal to preserve its diminand estuarine waters. ishing beaches, the Their considerable Corps looked at the research long has established that beach reshoal sands in Big Pass as a good source for nourishment is only a temporary replacement the more than 2 million cubic yards it needed of that which cannot be maintained, and that for that project. groins and other structures meant to extend the life of renourished beaches are the epitA study undertaken then by D.G. Aubrey, a ome of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" — sands senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanograph- retained by groins only accelerate erosion ic Institute, and Robert Dolan, a professor in elsewhere on the coastline. the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, pointed out that That acceleration is precisely what concerns the stability of the sands just to the south on residents of Siesta Key, as any dredging of Big Siesta Key was a result of the shoal sands in Pass likely would increase erosion on that isBig Pass, which protected the key from the ef- land. And adding groins to Lido Beach to prefects of storms and acted symbiotically in the serve the new sands will make the situation on Siesta Key commensurately worse. natural transport of sand among Big Pass, the shoal and Siesta Key. In the end, the Corps of The City of Sarasota must make a choice. Engineers abandoned the plan to dredge Big Either the inevitable diminishment of Lido Pass for sand to renourish beaches, and the Beach must be allowed to happen, or replacement sands from offshore should be used for pass never has been dredged.

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