Wednesday, January 17, 2018
News Roundup

Treasure Island to get $8 million in federal money for beach repair

TREASURE ISLAND — Tropical storms in 2012 swept hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand from this barrier island's beaches, but nearly a year later, the federal government has agreed to put it all back.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved more than $8 million in federal emergency funding and general construction dollars for the beaches on Treasure Island. To qualify for the money and to cover the project's estimated $12 million price tag, Pinellas must come up with another $4 million. County officials said they expect the state will cover half of their portion.

"This is going to restore us back to full; it's just a godsend," said Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning. Ever since last summer, when Tropical Storm Debby visited Tampa Bay and spent several days swirling overhead, the area's beaches have looked "pretty skinny," he said.

Long Key, another barrier island that was battered by Tropical Storm Debby, did not qualify for a share of the emergency funding.

Unlike Treasure Island, which endured some of the worst beach erosion in the county, Long Key's losses were "relatively small," Pinellas County coastal manager Andy Squires wrote in an email.

In deciding whether to grant emergency funds, the corps typically weighs the cost of a project against the amount of sand lost and the risk damaged dunes pose to people living nearby, Squires said. In Long Key's case, the threat was not great enough.

A study of the county's beaches by University of South Florida researchers immediately following Tropical Storm Debby found that Treasure Island lost 93,500 cubic yards of sand. On Sunset Beach, which was narrow to begin with, the storm carved up the dunes, pushing what remained of them back by 18 feet. Storms dumped the sand just offshore in growing sandbars or pushed it farther south.

On Long Key, which is significantly larger than Treasure Island, beaches lost a total of 113,400 cubic yards of sand. Much of it came from Pass-a-Grille beach.

Dredging and pumping sand onto Treasure Island's beaches could begin as early as this September, Squires said.

As for Long Key, the county will have to wait another year and hope the corps includes funding for it in its 2014 work plan.

"We hope we can get enough leverage politically and whatever it takes to get it into that work plan," Squires said.

Securing federal money to pay for beach restoration has become an increasingly difficult task, as individual members of Congress are no longer allowed to earmark money for projects in their districts. Spending cuts and the sequester, which could slow the pace of the corps' projects, have also drained some of county officials' optimism.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

Comments
Forecast: Brace for another short-lived blast of arctic air across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Brace for another short-lived blast of arctic air across Tampa Bay

Wednesday morning’s slight chill is but a precursor for what’s coming: It’s about to get really cold, Tampa Bay. Later this afternoon and into Thursday morning, temperatures are expected to drop to brutal lows — at least for a day. 10News WTSPFeels-...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

New Port Richey launches sign project

NEW PORT RICHEY – City leaders have approved spending a big chunk of money to put New Port Richey on the map with signs marking the city’s entrances and making navigation easier for visitors.New Port Richey City Council members unanimously approved a...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
South wakes up to snow, ice and record-breaking cold

South wakes up to snow, ice and record-breaking cold

ATLANTA — The South awoke on Wednesday to a two-part Arctic mess. First came a thin blanket of snow and ice, and then came the below-zero wind chills and record-breaking low temperatures in New Orleans and other cities. The snowfall sabotaged morning...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
A closer look at graduation rates. How did your school do?

A closer look at graduation rates. How did your school do?

Updated: 1 hour ago
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — Nine men are facing hazing charges in connection with the death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge, police said Tuesday. The Tallahassee Police Department said in an emailed release that arrest warrants were signed earlier ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies conducting homicide investigation in Tampa

Deputies conducting homicide investigation in Tampa

Hillsborough County deputies are conducting a homicide investigation after a man was found dead in the Grant Park area of Tampa early Wednesday morning.Deputies say the man was found in the 3700 block of Carroway Street.The circumstances surrounding ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Status hearing today for suspect in Seminole Heights killings

Status hearing today for suspect in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — A status hearing will be held Wednesday morning for the man accused of four killings in Seminole Heights.Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was arrested Nov. 30, hours after he gave a bag that held a gun to a fellow employee of an Ybor City McDonal...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Meteor credited for bright light, noise rattling Michigan (w/video)

Meteor credited for bright light, noise rattling Michigan (w/video)

DETROIT — Experts say a bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky above Michigan was a meteor.The American Meteor Society says it received hundreds of reports of a fireball Tuesday night over the state, including many in the Detroit area....
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Freeze watch is in effect; accused Seminole Heights killer in court today; examining Tampa Bay’s grad rates; local crabber’s ‘lucky’ life

The Daystarter: Freeze watch is in effect; accused Seminole Heights killer in court today; examining Tampa Bay’s grad rates; local crabber’s ‘lucky’ life

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• The cold is back Tampa Bay. Wednesday will see highs in the 60s and then it gets worse from there, dropping down to the 20s and 30s overnight. The region is under a free watc...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Washington PostFive Navy officers involved in ship collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors last year will face a variety of criminal charges, including negligent homicide, the service announced Tuesday night.The individuals include Cmdr. Bryce B...
Updated: 9 hours ago