Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City commissioners will discuss sand renourishment devices

A January ’08 beachgoer watches a small wave break against one of the T-Groins that line the beach at Upham Beach.

LARA CERRI | Times

A January ’08 beachgoer watches a small wave break against one of the T-Groins that line the beach at Upham Beach.

For more than three years residents, surfers and experts have been arguing about an experimental solution to the problem of sand erosion on Upham Beach.

The debate is likely to continue at the St. Pete Beach City Commission meeting Tuesday when Nicole Elko, Pinellas County's coastal coordinator, asks commissioners to reaffirm their support for the Upham Beach T-groin project.

Controversial from the start, the T-groins are a series of geo-textile tubes, like large sand bags, that were buried at Upham Beach to reduce erosion and the frequency of renourishment.

The verdict is still out on whether T-groins work.

County staff and scientists from the University of South Florida, who monitor the T-groins, say yes.

The T-groins have reduced the frequency of renourishment, the process in which sand is pumped back on to the beach, on Upham from every two years to every four and have cut the cost in half, from $6-million to $3-million, according to Elko.

Residents from the Starlight Towers Condominiums, and several other condos along Upham Beach have recently joined the chorus of supporters, saying the T-groins are the only thing standing between them and the tides.

But surfers say the project has ruined one of the only surfable breaks on Florida's west coast and some residents say the beach is still eroding.

"There's no mistake, they ruined our break. So we resent them for that, but we don't feel that they work," said Mike Meehan, chairman of the Suncoast chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

There has also been criticism that the tubes are a safety risk.

Since being installed, the beach has eroded, leaving the tubes exposed. People often climb on them and swim in the waters around them.

The local Surfrider Foundation has started a petition drive to remove the T-groins, gathering about 14,000 signatures, and has been drumming up media coverage of their efforts.

That coverage, along with concerns expressed by Commissioner Linda Chaney, has led the county staff to question the city's support of the project and the proposed permanent T-groins, Elko said.

There has also been talk of looking into different options for solving the erosion problem.

"Pinellas County holds that we have already been through that exercise and we're committed to the structural solution," Elko said. "However, we're not going to do anything the city doesn't want."

If the city offers continued sup­port, Elko will also ask what time line they plan to follow.

In 2005, the five existing tubes were installed with plans for replacing them with permanent structures in 2012. The project cost $1.5-million and was funded jointly by the county and state. If permanent structures are built, they, too, will be paid for by the county and state.

Another renourishment is planned for next year, but Elko has since suggested speeding up the process and building the permanent structures sooner than 2012.

"This is supposed to be a five-year test," Chaney said. "At the end of the test you evaluate the results and go from there."

Nick Johnson can be reached at [email protected] or 893-8361.

>>If you go

The meeting

What: Commission meeting

When: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Where: St. Pete Beach City Hall, 155 Corey Ave.

City commissioners will discuss sand renourishment devices 07/19/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 8:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills

    Bucs

    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) watches a replay while sitting out with an injury during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  2. What to watch this weekend: 'The Walking Dead,' Stephen King's '1922'

    Blogs

    100 episodes of walkers: The Walking Dead

    Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.
  3. Editorial: GOP failing to protect health care for Florida kids

    Editorials

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program. There is a disconnect that threatens health coverage for about 215,000 …

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program.
  4. Infamous killers of Tampa Bay, a region familiar with horror

    Crime

    TAMPA — Three people have been shot and killed in the last two weeks in Seminole Heights, and police say the cases are related. On Thursday night it was Anthony Naiboa, 20, who just happened to get off at the wrong bus stop.

    [Times files]
  5. Dunedin man accused of possessing homemade explosives released under Baker Act

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A 24-year-old man who was arrested for possessing destructive explosives Wednesday is no longer in jail.

    Randall Winston Drake, 24, of Dunedin is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]