Mining Anna Maria Island Sand

Offshore dredge pumps sand onshore

Offshore dredge pumps sand onshore

Large machinery, tugs, and pipelines, floating off the beaches of Anna Maria Island, provide eery sights, with powerful engines and pumps sending sand from the sea bottom to the shoreline while dredging operations continue over several weeks.

Federal, State, and County taxpayers are providing Great Lakes Dredge and Dock $13 million  to move sand from offshore to onshore in order to widen the beach, beginning at 79th Street, Holmes Beach, and moving south 4.7 miles to 38th Street, Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Beach is not included in this project because the coastal properties are considered adequately protected from erosion.

An additional subsequent contract of $3 million extends the beach widening further south along Coquina Beach Park.

The Holmes Beach – Bradenton Beach contract began December 20th and scheduled for completion within 60 days, by February 18th. The Coquina Beach Park work continues through end of April.

The sand mining halted on a number of occasions when high winds endangered pipelines and equipment. While the large dredge scours out the sand offshore, the pipeline outlet onshore gushes the slurry for bulldozers and excavators to spread out along the shoreline. Up to 1000 feet of beachfront accretion per day is possible before equipment is repositioned to the next section.

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2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Review

2013 Atlantic Storm Tracks

2013 Atlantic Storm Tracks


  • The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active season so far this century, and
    the quietest on record since 1950.
  • No effects on Anna Maria Island.
  • 1 storm made US landfall in NW Florida (T.S. Andrea).
  • 2 hurricanes barely reached Cat 1 (Humberto, Ingrid).
  • Season’s latest recorded hurricane since 1960 (Humberto, September 11th).
  • Fewest hurricanes per named storms in historical records.
  • No “major hurricanes” (Cat 3 or higher).
  • Lowest Accumulated Cyclone Energy since 1983.
Atlantic Hurricane Season  June 2013 forecast  2013 Actual
Named storms (>35mph)  18  13
Hurricanes (>72mph)  8  2
Major hurricanes (>111mph)  3  0
US landfall likelihood  72%  7%
Gulf Coast landfall  47%  7%

The Named Storms

Andrea – Tropical Storm,  June 5-7, 55kn wind, landfall ‘Big Bend’ of Florida.

Barry – Tropical Storm,  June 17-19, 40kn wind, landfall Belize; then Veracruz, Mexico.

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Christmas Shopping on Anna Maria Island

Florida misses some of the elements associated with the Christmas spirit, but for every thing that is lacking, there is something that more than makes up for it on Anna Maria Island. The fine white sand of our beaches is a great substitute for snow. Boat parades are as festive and full of holiday cheer as any parades or groups of carolers up north. On days we want to stay snugly at home, there often is real reason to light a fire, as temperatures can dip low enough to make that the perfect way to warm the house for just a few hours. When it’s time to head out to buy gifts, there is no shortage of good Christmas shopping, in all three of the island’s cities.

Anna Maria’s Pine Avenue, and Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street, are picturesque main streets that become festivals of lights and good cheer during the holidays. Shops, boutiques and restaurants of all kinds beckon. These lovely shopping areas are ideal places to take visiting family and friends, for last minute presents and enjoyable meals and snacks along the way.

Holmes Beach has not yet become as tourist-oriented, in terms of providing a charming centralized street of shops that are easily accessible on foot. From the resident’s point of view, in some ways this is good. There is much to be said for what Holmes Beach does offer.

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Autumn on Anna Maria Island

It’s the best time of year again. Finally the summer heat and humidity ends. During September through October there are a few days of thunderstorms that bring downdrafts of cool air relief, but when the first cold front from the north pushes far enough south to bring a cold air mass with it, autumn has signaled its arrival.

By cold I don’t mean frost on the pumpkins or blasts of arctic air. Some times the temperature difference is minimal – going from high 80′s to low 80′s. But the change is noticeable especially because the cooler northern air has less moisture in it. That means lower humidity.

Halloween marks the time to look forward to cold fronts and the zonal climate change from tropical to temperate. Even if the official hurricane season is supposed to last through November, the first cold front brings a sigh of relief that the weather pattern has changed. The summer’s predominant moist air from the southwest reverses to dry air from the northeast. Time to turn off the air-conditioning and open the windows.

The grass has stopped growing as fast but flowers come alive again with renewed vigor:

Suddenly it’s comfortable to stay outdoors longer and start looking at those deferred projects that are too strenuous in summer’s humid heat. Or perhaps linger longer on the patio and deck for lunch without no-see-um bugs. The days are still long enough to find time in the evening to tackle neglected tasks. Then when daylight-losing-time begins, the tasks move one hour forward. Instead of the sunset walk at 7:30 it moves to 6:30 and slowly earlier as the days shorten.

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Collecting Turtle Nests Hatch Data

It’s the time of year when sea turtle nests hatch and that means lots of work for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. Volunteers walk the beach daily to check the status of marked nests and for tracks of hatch-lings in the sand. The hatch-lings dig their way out from under the sand, usually during the night, and attracted by the moonlight over the water make their journey to the sea.
Turtle nest staked out

Three days after the nests have hatched, licensed personnel excavate the turtle nest site to collect data. By counting the empty shells the number of hatched turtles are recorded, along with unhatched, unfertilized eggs and ones that died in the hole. Sometimes a few left behind are retrieved out of the collapsed sand, protected from day-time predators, and re-released at night.

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