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Why can’t Longboat dredge its sandbars?

There’s a treasure trove of sand less than 100 yards from the shores of Longboat Key. So why don’t officials see sand source potential?

At a Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key meeting earlier this month, Public Works Director Juan Florensa presented an update on the island’s sand situation.

The big question from attendees: Why can’t the town dredge the sandbars and shoals along Key shorelines?

And it’s not just those in attendance who are wondering.

“Certainly the technology is there, and certainly the entities that do it exist,” said Steve Madva, president of the Country Club Shores Association and a Planning and Zoning Board member, in a phone interview with the Longboat Observer. “I think it should be looked at.”

There’s so much sand on the south shoal — a sandbar near inlets between Lido and Longboat keys — that Florensa can’t even estimate the number of cubic yards. Further south, another large shoal is located at the tip of Big Pass, and has more than 23 million cubic yards of sand.

As for why all that sand can’t be used, the answer is: It’s complicated — a product of regulations, potential litigation and undulation (i.e. wave action).