Water-Related News

Eroded Pinellas County beaches further damaged by Hurricane Idalia

A narrower beach means less protection for homes and businesses along the coast. But a dispute over federal guidelines has delayed beach renourishment projects in Pinellas County.

After storm surge and high tides from Hurricane Idalia closed barrier islands and gulf beaches, residents were assessing the damage while Treasure Island officials toured beaches that are already considered critically eroded.

Meanwhile, The City of Indian Rocks Beach has closed 14 of the 28-beach accesses due to sand loss and erosion.

Mayor/Commissioner Joanne "Cookie" Kennedy will hold a press conference Friday to discuss the impact of beach renourishment.

For years, Pinellas County has been trying to work with the Army Corps of Engineers on renourishment projects. But a dispute over federal guidelines has delayed those plans.

The federal agency is requiring property easements from beach community homeowners before taxpayer dollars are used to restore the beaches.

Pinellas County, which administers the beach renourishment projects across the county, was recently notified that planned projects for Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach, had been halted.

The county pays for the local share of the nourishment projects. The federal share for the Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach Project is 65% and the local share is 35%.

Beach renourishment was last completed for Treasure Island in 2019.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the entire beach along the three-and-a-half-mile Treasure Island is designated as critically eroded.