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FEMA denies Longboat funding for Irma damages

Longboat Key has sought reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for sand lost during Hurricane Irma

Longboat Key needs more than 60,000 cubic yards of sand to replace what was lost on portions of its beach to erosion last September during Hurricane Irma, a survey of the island’s shoreline shows.

But, because other portions of beach gained sand in the storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week denied the town’s request for help.

A survey of the town’s beaches, the report of which was completed July 6 by Olsen Associates, a Jacksonville coastal engineering company, showed that the island lost 61,700 cubic yards of sand on four of eight gulf-facing segments when the storm swept up the peninsula the weekend of Sept. 9-10, 2017.

A segment facing Longboat Pass also lost sand but doesn’t qualify for reimbursement.

The same survey found four other gulf-facing segments gained more sand than was lost, adding more than 137,000 cubic yards. The net gain across 10.1 miles of shoreline was about 61,000 cubic yards, the survey found, which swayed the FEMA decision.