A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lido Beach: "Critically Eroded"?

No doubt about it. There are some places on Lido Beach that could use some more sand. There's a scarp near that groin in the center of the island (below), and then there's those two buildings near the south end that project much further west than their neighbors are dealing with a pretty minimal beach.

Erosion scarp next to groin. Lido Beach.

These two buildings were probably built too far seaward.

But overall, is Lido Beach in bad shape? Based on a recent walk, I'd say no (see photo below), but the State of Florida Department of Environmental Regulation begs to differ.

Image from the center of Lido Key. Many places in the US would love to have a beach like this.

In June of 2012, not that long ago, DEP updated their publication CRITICALLY ERODED BEACHES IN FLORIDA. I'm assuming the term "updated" meant that it was up to date.

Here's their definition of critically eroded: Critically eroded area is a segment of the shoreline where natural processes or human activity have caused or contributed to erosion and recession of the beach or dune system to such a degree that upland development, recreational interests, wildlife habitat, or important cultural resources are threatened or lost. Critically eroded areas may also include peripheral segments or gaps between identified critically eroded areas which, although they may be stable or slightly erosional now, their inclusion is necessary for continuity of management of the coastal system or for the design integrity of adjacent beach management projects.

So according to DEP 23.9 miles of Sarasota County Gulf beaches are critically eroded. And .4 miles are non-critically eroded. So 98.35% of our beaches are critically eroded. Ninety-eight point thirty-five percent. Kind of takes some of the meaning out of the term doesn't it?

In other words, according the the State of Florida, a beach does not have to be critically eroded, or even eroded, to be deemed critically eroded. It could be growing. And that's reassuring, because they were characterizing North Lido as critically eroded.

Here's what the report says about North Lido: The north end of Lido Key fronting on New Pass is a critically eroded inlet shoreline area (R31, east 1500 feet) for 0.3 mile. Nearly all of Lido Key (R31-R44.5) has critically eroded beach that has threatened private development and recreational interests along 2.4 miles. Beach restoration has been conducted along the island and maintenance dredging material has been obtained from the federal navigation channel at New Pass.

Which is interesting because North Lido, out at the end of John RIngling Blvd. is wider now than I can remember it being in 43 years. I would say it was critically eroded when waves lapped at the rocks north of the parking area. But now you could rent camels to get people out to the water since it is about 650' from the parking lot to the Gulf shore.

This image from January of 2012 presumably represents the "eroded" condition of North Lido reported in the DEP document.

So when you read that Lido Beach is "critically eroded", take it with a grain of salt. Or sand.