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CEPD is moving forward, preparing for open house

By Staff | Feb 26, 2009

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District is forging ahead into 2009 as they settle into a more spacious and welcoming office, participate in several beach projects including the reopening of Blind Pass and continue to maintain the mission of the CEPD, to preserve and protect Captiva’s beaches.

Formerly located in the Captiva Civic Association building, the CEPD is now operating in their new office on the third floor of the Celebration Center, located at 11513 Andy Rosse Lane.

“The people who come and visit us really enjoy it. They feel comfortable, they can sit down and talk, they ask questions about what we do and about our beaches,” said CEPD administrator Kathy Rooker, adding that the new office affords the organization more space for operations, meetings and welcoming visitors and members of the community.

“It’s fun to share with them, because we’re really proud of our island, and we enjoy sharing information with them,” said Rooker, noting that she spent many years as a school administrator, and she really enjoys the educational aspect of her job, informing people about the CEPD.

To help residents and visitors get to know the CEPD and their vital role on the island, the organization will be hosting an open house so that citizens can become aquatinted with the CEPD’s new location, staff, commissioners and upcoming projects.

The open house will take place on Thursday, March 12 from 5 to 7 p.m.

There will be light refreshments and CEPD T-shirts available as guests have an opportunity to meet and speak with Rooker, assistant administrator Ruth Wilburn and the CEPD board of commissioners, including the board’s newest member, Henry Kaiser.

“All of this is to help people know who we are, what people they can talk to, who they can ask questions of and just let them know that we’re there to serve them. I like to call it ‘Your CEPD’ because I want all the citizens to know this organization is here to help them,” Rooker said.

According to Rooker, the goals of the CEPD are to keep Captiva’s beaches healthy and beautiful, while at the same time, protecting island homes and business from storm surge and ensuring citizen safety and stable property values.

In keeping with these goals, the CEPD has several projects lined up in order to continue fulfilling the mission of the organization.

“It’s time for the three year monitoring,” said Rooker, noting that the monitoring process is required to check the status of the most recent renourishment project in 2005 and 2006 and the information gathered from measurements and aerial photographs taken during the monitoring will determine when another beach renourishment will be necessary.

What’s different about this year’s monitoring program is that the CEPD will be delaying the process, which would have already started by now, until the completion of the reopening of Blind Pass, an idea that has been both approved and thoroughly supported by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“We’re trying to be frugal with the taxpayers’ money and very careful with how we use it. There is some overlap with the monitoring that has to be done for Blind Pass. Economically, it makes good financial sense to combine some of the monitoring for Blind Pass with our beach nourishment monitoring,” Rooker explained, adding that the Blind Pass project should finish up and the monitoring program should begin in June.

But before Blind Pass is even close to wrapping up, a mandatory beach tilling will take place along Captiva’s renourished beaches, a temporary inconvenience for beachgoers.

“The purpose of beach tilling is, when you do beach nourishment, you’re bringing in sand from other sources. What can happen, and one of the things they watch for, is the compactness of the sand. If it’s too compact, it discourages sea turtles from nesting,” Rooker said, noting that sand that is too compact also prevents oxygen from cycling through it.

The machine that performs the beach tilling will be digging down into the sand no less than 24 inches and smoothing out the sand it leaves in its wake, though people walking the beach might have difficulty at first on the loosened sand.

The tilling will begin on Friday, Feb. 27, stop for the weekend and pick up again on Monday, March 1. If you have any questions about the process or your property, please contact Rooker at the CEPD, 472-2472.

Rooker also said that the CEPD would be begin operating a sea turtle monitoring program beginning May 1 and will soon meet with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss federal funding in the hopes of minimizing local funding.