To prepare for the next nourishment project on Sand Key, Pinellas 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 to Redington Beach, excluding Belleair Shore. The easement acquisition progress can be viewed and tracked on the Beach Nourishment Easement Acquisition map. 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 beach renourishment program, little to no beach existed along much of the Pinellas County shoreline. Beaches are very dynamic and are constantly changing. Along undeveloped shorelines, movement is often not detrimental and may go unnoticed. Conversely, the changes in beaches along developed shorelines are often very evident and detrimental to beachfront properties. Images of 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 percent from the federal government (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), 20 percent from the state (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and 20 percent from local funds (Pinellas County tourist development tax). Without signed easement agreements, federal funding could be at risk.
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. These easements would be vital after a hurricane. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Pinellas County cannot nourish beaches without easements. Without the required easements, the project could be indefinitely delayed until all easements are received, or permanently canceled.
What can I do?
It is prudent for the County and property owners to have easements in place so the U.S. Army Corps can plan, budget and build an uninterrupted, nourished shoreline that provides optimal storm protection benefitting all beachfront property owners. You play an important role in communicating the importance of beach nourishment and the required easements to your coastal community.
Past Public Easement Meetings:
Redington Shores: Easement Information Meeting, Nov. 14, 2019
Indian Shores: Easement Information Meeting, Mar. 3, 2020
Indian Rocks Beach: Easement Information Meeting, Sep. 23, 2020
For more information on this project,