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Water-Related News

Big Pass dredging may benefit Perico Preserve

MANATEE COUNTY — If the city of Sarasota proceeds with a controversial dredging project in Big Pass, Manatee County will benefit by allowing the city to use Perico Preserve as a seagrass mitigation site.

The city wants to coordinate a project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use about 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass to rebuild 1.5 miles of beach on Lido Key.

Big Pass separates Lido Key to the north and Siesta Key to the south.

Responding to concerns from the Siesta Key Association that the project could harm that island’s beaches, the Sarasota County Commission recently asked the corps, which initially reached a “finding of no significant impact” in assessing the project, to conduct a more thorough environmental study.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection intends to review a second round of documentation about the project by Oct. 1.

The dredging would reportedly affect about 1.68 acres of seagrass.

To mitigate that damage, the city offered to create from 2.9 to 3.2 acres of seagrass at Manatee County’s preserve on Perico Island.