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End in sight for dispute over Big Pass dredging

A proposal to dredge Big Pass as part of a project to renourish portions of the Lido Key shoreline has largely been stalled since a weeklong December hearing challenging the project, with both sides of the dispute waiting for an official transcript to be completed.

The December administrative hearing focused on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to issue a permit for the proposed dredging. The project, a joint endeavor between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Sarasota, would take up to 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass, which has not been dredged before.

Two Siesta Key organizations, the Siesta Key Association and Save Our Siesta Sands 2, filed an appeal challenging the permit. The groups contend dredging Big Pass will jeopardize the health of the Siesta shoreline to the south.

In addition to the city, the FDEP, the Army Corps and the Siesta Key organizations, the Lido Key Residents Association has also joined the dispute to support the proposed dredging.