Anxiety high for residents struggling with erosion

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Property owners along the Sarasota County coastline are nervous for hurricane season. Severe beach erosion in Manasota Key is chipping away at backyards and threatening to wash away some homes.

“Today, all that white-sand beach is gone, all the sea oats are gone, and my 80-foot deep back yard is now 35 to 40-foot deep,” said Mark Stoker.

For Stoker and many of his neighbors, the gulf is in their backyards.  Decades of severe beach erosion has taken a toll, and now the water is threatening homes.

Many property owners are concerned about hurricane season after seeing the damage Subtropical Storm Alberto caused.

“About three feet of additional backyard has been washed out to sea,” Stoker said.

At his neighbor’s house, you can actually see the underside of the concrete foundation.  

One Sarasota County official tells FOX 13 News they are working to address the issue.  A beach restoration analysis was recently completed in conjunction with Charlotte County, and leaders are considering a plan to renourish the Southern end of Manasota Key to help stop further erosion.

However, most of the beaches in this area are private, so it’s each property owner’s responsibility to manage their shoreline.  There are options to combat the destruction, but it’s costly work that usually comes with a lot of red tape.

“We need immediate help to get past the regulatory hurdles, to get a temporary structure in place, to protect our houses getting washed out to sea,” said Stoker.

Stoker and some of his neighbors plan to try and get approval to build a seawall, or use massive sand bags to save their properties until any beach renourishment happens at Englewood Beach.