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CEPD announces ‘Dunes Day Scenario’ with June Plantings

By Staff | Jun 4, 2009

Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD) Chairman Mike Mullins and senior administrative consultant Kathy Rooker recently spent a rainy afternoon with Lee County Environmental Planner and certified arborist Jason Cull, surveying the back dunes of Captiva as part of a sea turtle restoration project.

This dune-beneficial effort is consistent with the CEPD’s commitment to the maintenance and enhancement of the Captiva beach dunes, known as “The Dunes Day Scenario.”

Coastal storms, glaring sunlight, sea spray, desiccating winds and infertile sand, create a harsh environment for plants and animals. Sand dunes provide a habitat for shore plants and animals including gopher tortoises, migrating monarch butterflies, least terns, snowy, piping and Wilson plovers, ghost crabs and sea turtles.

Dunes are also our first line of defense against storm damage to coastal homes, businesses and resources as they act as a “surge protector” which buffers upland property.

Finally, Captiva beach dunes are a source of beauty, providing residents and visitors a beautiful beach where they may relax and renew.

A grant through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will provide for the installation of plants consisting of bay cedar, inkberry, seashore elder and sea grape along 1,600 linear feet of the section of Captiva Drive that directly parallels the beach.

The planting of vegetation has several environmental benefits for Captiva.

The plants will stabilize sand while building natural sand dunes that provide better nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles.

The plants will also buffer the light from the head lights of vehicles traveling along this stretch of Captiva Drive.

Artificial light sources disrupt the sea-finding behavior of sea turtles, ultimately reducing the chances of survival for turtle hatchings.

The 5,300 plants will be installed by hand during the first few weeks of June to take advantage of the rain.

A slow release granular fertilizer and water retention gel will be applied to the plants.

All planting will occur after the area is monitored each day for sea turtle nests. If nests are within the planting area, planting will go around the nesting area.

Pedestrian pathways will be left unvegetated.

Please contact the CEPD at 472-2472 or visit www.mycepd.com with any questions.