Updated September 2020
To prepare for the next nourishment project on Sand Key, the County needs 461 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 Redington Beach, excluding Belleair Shore. The easement acquisition progress can be tracked here: map of 461 easements. Easements still needed are labeled "In Progress" and easements that have been executed are labeled "Easement Received". Each easement extends from the Erosion Control Line (ECL) landward to the seawall or to the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) if no seawall is present. The ECL can be found on the Erosion Control Line map.
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.
Who pays for this?
Nourishment funding is typically split three ways: 60% federal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), 20% state (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and 20% local (Pinellas County tourist development tax), meaning county residents pay virtually nothing. However, without signed easements federal funding could be at risk. Pinellas County competes against states, counties and cities across the United States for federal funding including places like Puerto Rico.
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 and established before the first nourishment. See Florida Statutes, Section 161.161(5).
Doesn't the state already have access to the beach for nourishment?
Not entirely. According to Florida Law, beach property seaward of the erosion Control Line is state land. However, 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. These easements could be vital after a hurricane. The County and USACE will not nourish beaches without easements. Without the required easements the project could be indefinitely delayed until all easements are received, or the project could be permanently canceled. Every nourishment project could be the last project.
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.
Past Public Easement Meetings:
Redington Shores: https://youtu.be/SpkJhnTRUxo
Indian Shores: https://youtu.be/zCgVAx5yUHQ
Indian Rocks Beach: https://youtu.be/0Jf0OSLAI68
Upcoming Public Meetings:
No public meetings scheduled at this time.
For more information on this project,