Sarasota and Manatee county beaches escaped Hurricane Ian, for the most part, fairly unscathed.
The beaches didn’t experience significant erosion in the storm, according to representatives of both counties.
“Sarasota County’s beaches faired quite well through the Hurricane Ian event,” staff in the county’s Planning and Development Services department said in a report.
This is likely due to the prevailing offshore winds that Sarasota County experienced as Ian passed through the area, county staff said.
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They assessed the beach conditions on the three barrier islands in unincorporated Sarasota County – Siesta Key, Casey Key and Manasota Key – last Friday. They visited numerous locations on these beaches.
Their assessment was based on visual inspections, local knowledge of the beaches and photo comparisons of the beaches pre- and post-storm, according to the county report.
They didn’t observe any significant structural damage at the locations they visited. There wasn’t widespread damage to dune walkover structures or cabanas, for example. The Pearl Beach Inn on Manasota Key Road suffered roof damage, according to the report.
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Sarasota County recently renourished some of Manasota Key. Planning staff noted that the replenished area “appeared to perform well,” and they are waiting on further input from project managers.
“Only a couple locations on Manasota Key showed limited signs of erosion and bluff formation on the beach,” staff members say in the report.
Venice beaches in 'relatively good condition'
In Venice, City Engineer Kathleen Weeden said the beach is “in relatively good condition,” except for the stormwater outfalls, where there was considerable erosion. The city has more than a dozen outfalls that drain onto Venice Beach.
City engineers, the Army Corps of Engineers and representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection assessed the impact of Hurricane Ian on Sunday.
They saw severe erosion at the end of Alhambra Road – which dead ends at the beach just north of the Venice Sands condominium complex.
“We lost a portion of the road,” Weeden said.
In addition, there was overtopping of normally dry retention berms.
“We'll be working to get some corrections done to the areas that we saw erosion that appear to be primarily from the excessive rainfall and drainage,” Weeden said.
“The beach is open and safe to traverse,” she added. “Just avoid the Alhambra location.”
'Zero loss' on Manatee beaches
Meanwhile, Manatee County beaches fared well in the storm. County staff conducted before and after measurements of the beach at 25 sites and determined there was essentially “zero loss” of beach width or depth from Hurricane Ian, according to a Sunday news release.
“While taking measurements prior to the storm I made note of sea turtle nests,” said Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County’s director of parks and natural resources, in the release. “During my post storm inspections, I was excited to see those turtle nests still intact. That was a great visual indicator!”
Anne Snabes covers city and county government for the Herald-Tribune. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @a_snabes.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Hurricane Ian: Siesta Key, Manasota Key, Sarasota beaches after storm