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Manatee County awarded national honors for Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project

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Manatee County Commissioners yesterday received a national award recognizing their efforts and commitment to keeping the beaches of Anna Maria Island stocked with beautiful sand.

Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee’s Parks and Natural Resources Director, presented Commissioners with the Robert L. Wiegel Coastal Project Award from the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. The award recognizes a coastal project that has “stood the test of time and has shown a positive environmental, social, or recreational benefit.” The Association awarded Manatee County for the project that involved pumping one million cubic yards of sand from offshore from 2013-14.

Manatee County becomes the fourth Florida community to receive the award in the past 25 years.

“This award is in recognition of the community’s willingness to support a lasting beach for the protection of property and tourism and for the wildlife that depend on the sand,” Hunsicker said, adding that he will present the award to Island municipalities during public meetings this month.

Hunsicker told Commissioners yesterday that the project improves storm protection for Island buildings and roads, including the primary hurricane evacuation route for Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. That project leveraged federal and state funding to save millions in mobilization costs.

Unlike many beach renourishments, the Anna Maria project is entirely accessible to the public and provides habitat areas for nesting sea turtles, shorebirds and other marine life such as the Florida manatee, Hunsicker said.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.