PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Indian Rocks Beach officials are asking the federal government for help with beach rehabilitation for an 8.5-mile stretch of shoreline.
At high tide the water crashes against the seawall at Belleair Shore Beach.
“My concern is what about the next storm and the next. At this point, there isn’t much room to maneuver,” said Erika Dietz, a resident of Indian Rocks Beach.
Though not a direct hit, Hurricane Idalia devastated the Pinellas County coast.
“In the beginning we didn’t have a big beach,” said Pete Redero, a resident of Belleair Shore.
The concern now is for the future.
“In the absence of renewal, our beaches will soon be gone, and now it’s really, really bad,” Redero said.
There is loss of sand and dune damage and now there are 4 to 6 foot drops along the coast from the flooding.
“We are deeply concerned about the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia,” said Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy. “We are calling on the Army Corps to reverse their decision regarding Pinellas County’s coastal communities and clean up our beaches.”
Mayor Kennedy said 14 of 28 beach access points were closed.
“For the infrastructure, our tourism and the economy, there is a lot that is related to that, we really need that,” said Redero.
Pinellas County’s beaches were renewed about every six years by the Army Corps of Engineers. The last project took place in 2018 and cost $42 million.
Now the federal government will not supply the beaches without easements. 100% of the property owners are required to sign a permanent easement allowing public access to the beach before beach rehabilitation can proceed.
“We’re probably never going to get 100% of people agreeing instead of giving a mixed message or some people blaming the beach owners and because of them we have to be united and all stand up for protection and put pressure on the government exercise.” Our beaches,” said Dietz.