To prepare for the next nourishment project on Sand Key the County needs to obtain 386 easements along the project area. These easements are perpetual and allow the Army Corps to place sand on private property and allow the public to use the easement area since the project is being built with public funds. The project area extends from Clearwater south to North Redington Beach excluding Belleair Shore; map showing the 386 easements. Easements that are still needed are labeled “In Progress” and those that are executed are labeled “Easement Received.” Each easement extends from the Erosion Control Line (ECL) landward to the seawall or Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) if no seawall is present. The ECL can be found on the Erosion Control Line map.
What is an Erosion Control Line (ECL)?
An ECL is a boundary line fixed by the State on a nourished beach dividing private (landward) and public (seaward) property. See Florida Statutes, Section 161.191. It is typically set at the Mean High Water Line, which was established before the first nourishment. See Florida Statutes, Section 161.161(5).
Why do I need to provide an easement if there is an ECL?
In most cases the ECL is near the landward edge of the beach. Sand must often be placed landward of the ECL to restore the proper slope, elevation and function of the beach. Easements are needed in advance to ensure the entire beach requiring sand can be restored appropriately regardless of how much beach has eroded. Privately owned beach property needing sand but lacking easements will not receive sand. The Army Corps must construct long uninterrupted stretches of nourished shoreline to create a functionally effective beach. Unfortunately, beach properties with easements near parcels lacking easements may not receive sand as well.
What happens if I wait to sign the easements?
The Army Corps budgets money for nourishment two years in advance. The project budget depends upon the shoreline length to be nourished, which in turn, depends upon the number and locations of acquired easements. It may be too late to place sand along beaches where easements are granted after project funds are appropriated.
What can I do?
It is prudent for the County and property owners to have easements in place so the Army Corps can plan, budget for, and build a continuous uninterrupted nourished shoreline that provides optimal storm protection benefitting all beachfront property owners. Therefore, it is critical that you relay to your community the importance and urgency of providing easements to the County.
Why do we need beach nourishment?
Prior to the ongoing renourishment program, little to no beach existed along much of the shoreline. Beaches are very dynamic and constantly changing and moving by various physical processes. Along undeveloped shorelines, movement is often not detrimental and may go unnoticed. Conversely, the changes in beaches along developed and eroding shorelines are often very evident and detrimental to beachfront properties. The Pinellas shoreline before nourishment and after years of nourishments can be found on the Nourishment Comparison before (1990) and after (1990) story map.
For more information on this project,