Egmont renourishment halted by turtle deaths

EGMONT KEY, FL – The renourishment of Egmont Key’s critically-eroded beaches is at a standstill because the project resulted in the deaths of six sea turtles, the maximum allowed.

The $10 million project, which began last month and was suspended on Dec. 2, is expected to resume in late spring or early summer, before hurricane season, said Susan Jackson, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville corporate communications office.

Egmont Key, home of historic Fort Dade, lies north of Anna Maria Island in Tampa Bay. Its western shore was set to get sand dredged from 17 miles of the Tampa Harbor Egmont and Mullet Key channel cuts.

The dredge removed about 100,000 cubic yards of material from the channel, completing about 25 percent of the dredging project. About 40,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the beach at Egmont Key from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, she said, adding that the channel is not yet in critical need of dredging, so the delay is not expected to cause problems with shipping.

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