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State offers feedback on Big Pass dredge

Lido Key residents are anxious to get more sand. Siesta Key residents fear the worst. As the state nears a decision on the proposed Big Pass dredge, what else is new?

Bob Brantly stood in the back of a crowded room at the Waldemere Fire Station for 90 minutes Nov. 30 and offered a vigorous defense of the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to dredge Big Pass and renourish Lido Key.

If Siesta Key residents were hoping the state would block the project, Brantly’s comments were deflating — because he works as an engineer for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

FDEP is still reviewing the application to dredge Big Pass, which is also supported by the city of Sarasota. The state agency has a Dec. 27 deadline for announcing whether it intends to issue a permit for the project, and held a workshop last week to gather public input in advance of a decision.

The project seeks to take 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass, which has never been dredged, to renourish critically eroded portions of the Lido shoreline. Siesta residents, worried about the project’s impact on their shoreline to the south of Big Pass, continued to argue the Army Corps’ proposal was flawed.