SKA Continues Opposing Big Pass Dredging on Several Fronts

August 4, 2020  —  

Siesta Key Association(SKA) asked the Florida Department of Environmental Protection(FDEP) to enforce the requirements of its Pre-Construction Review but that request was verbally denied in June 2020.

On June 23, 2020 SKA briefed Sarasota County staff on the imminent start of construction on the Big Sarasota Pass dredging without a required County Water and Navigation Control Authority (WNCA) permit. SKA asked the County Administrator to issue a stop work order for the dredging of part of the shoal. SKA noted the work is without a major work permit from the WNCA, is not exempt as maintenance, and is an imminent and significant hazard to the north shore of Siesta Key. SKA did not ask that the entire dredge be stopped, only the portion of Cut C that breached the shoal and allowed unrestricted progress of Gulf waves to the shore.

SKA did not ask that dredging on the western, outside edge of the shoal be stopped and noted it contained sufficient sand to meet the City’s nourishment needs. None the less, on June 26 the County declined to take the requested action without providing a reason other than they had no history of doing that.  View a beautiful aerial video of Big Pass recorded by Rich Schineller

On June 25, the City of Sarasota and Lido Key Residents Association (LKRA) finally issued their answer to SKA’s February 6, 2020 appeal. SKA sent its reply on July 20. SKA rebutted the City’s arguments,  noting that the City misquoted the WNCA ordinance concerning exemptions. The City and LKRA also asked for an oral argument which has yet to be scheduled.

On about July 16, 2020  dredging began in Cut C in Big Sarasota Pass. Since dredging began, work had to be shut down once due to a violation of the water turbidity limits. SKA also notified the FDEP on July 21, that nourishment work on the South Lido Beach at Ted Sperling Park was outside the approved beach template. SKA provided aerial photos and requested enforcement to stop the unauthorized work. FDEP indicated they were awaiting a survey.

In a related action, SOSS2 requested in Federal Court on June 30, 2020 a temporary restraining order to stop dredging in Big Sarasota Pass. The Corps of Engineers replied on July 1, 2020. The Judge denied the request on July 6, 2020.

SKA requests your continued support by a donation of $50 to $100 to the SKA Environmental Defense Fund or the SKA Legal Fund.