Governor approves Midnight Pass money

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On June 12, Gov. Ron DeSantis approved $500,000 in funding to address water quality issues in Little Sarasota Bay. This funding will be a starting point for research, design and permitting for the potential of restoring the waterway that once ran between Siesta Key and Casey Key.

Improving water quality in Little Sarasota Bay has been a recent priority for Sarasota County leaders and have acknowledged that Midnight Pass – closed in the early ‘80s by the county when two homeowners complained their houses were being threatened with the plan to reroute the waterway – would be a focal point in reaching that goal.

Said Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Neunder, whose District 4 seat lies in the territory where Midnight Pass once existed, “Water quality here in Sarasota County has always been a high priority to me and the community I grew up in and serve.

The first step is a feasibility study that is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 of the study includes the identification and assessment of concepts and alternatives, not limited to a fully dredged tidal inlet to improve overall water quality in the Little Sarasota Bay estuary. The focus will be on the coastal engineering and process requirements for a hydraulic connection including consideration of the State and Federal regulatory requirements and constraints.

The work includes a review of background information on the project; coordination with regulatory agencies — such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP); assessment of potential alternatives for re-establishing tidal flow between Little Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico; development of a summary of the efforts; and a presentation of the findings to the commissioners.

The county commissioners have been told by county staff to expect an update on the feasibility study later this summer.

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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