Sarasota News Leader

06/27/2014

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THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS DRAFT REPORT IS HIGHLY SUSPECT EDITORIAL OPINION EDITORIAL The long-delayed draft report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), regarding the planned mining of the Big Pass ebb shoal to obtain sand for the renourishing of South Lido beaches, was released on June 11. No gasps of surprise were heard from those perusing its contents, because there were no surprises: The draft report claims to mathe- matically prove that the plan will have no negative impact on Big Pass' ebb shoal, Siesta Key or downdrift beaches. In 171 pages of colorful diagrams, maps, photographs, long lists and determinedly obfuscatory prose, the draft report has the tinge of self-fulfilling prophecy, given the ACOE's almost pugnacious assertion last September that its staff knew what would work best in the ongoing effort to renourish the eroding beaches on Lido Key. ACOE representatives at the time were almost disdainful in their dismissal of local protests to the plan, maintaining that the impact of dredging on the Big Pass shoal would be almost imperceptible while saving South Lido from an uncertain future because of encroaching seas. Yet, those protests were based on more than just the fretfulness of people potentially affected by the ACOE plans, particularly residents of Siesta Key and other county tax- payers who realize what an economic engine Siesta Beach represents for the county. It was based on prior study of a similar ACOE plan, which showed the impact of dredging the ebb OPINION

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