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After nearly a decade, Blind Pass finally open

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

With a little push from Mother Nature, Blind Pass officially opened last Friday night after almost 10 years of closure as water eroded its way around the sheet pile wall on the Sanibel side of the pass, creating an opening.

“This area was the last to be dredged and the remaining beach berm was not strong enough to hold,” said project manager Robert Neal of the Lee County Division of Natural Resources in his most recent e-mail update.

Construction continued throughout the week as workers removed parts of the sheet pile wall in an attempt to reduce the strong current so that divers could work to remove old creosote bridge pilings in the pass.

Last week, Neal told Blind Pass mailing list recipients that the County also intends to authorize additional dredging of up to 40,000 cubic yards, to be completed in October.

“The additional material will be dependent on the volume of shoaling experienced when the sheetpile wall is removed,” Neal wrote.

Accompanying Neal’s most recent update was an aerial photo taken by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation prior to the water breach.

“Everyone needs to take a good look at the aerial photo of Blind Pass as taken by the SCCF on Thursday. We cannot help but be delighted at the ‘oops”‘ opening of the Pass over the weekend,” said Captiva Erosion Prevention District chairman Mike Mullins.

“The CEPD and all Captivans, Sanibelians and neighbors have waited too long for this event – all will be thrilled. The SCCF aerial photo expresses better than words the questions about water quality. Contrast the Gulf water separated by the metal sheet wall and the Blind Pass water,” Mullins said. “The water in the gulf is a brilliant, turquoise color and the water east of the wall on the pass side is a nasty, brownish color. This rather stagnant water fills the back bays and bayous.

“The ecology will benefit the most from this flushing of the Pass which is afforded by the current ripping through the opening. Consequentially, our bayous and channel will also benefit,” he continued. “Only those who have their heads stuck in the sand can avoid wondering how much of this brownish color emanates from mangrove tannins and how much comes from Captiva’s ineffectual septic systems.”

Mullins, who was thrilled with the accidental opening last weekend penned a short poem, entitled “Ode to Blind Pass,” to express his joy:

“Open at last, open at last.

Please, dear Lord, make the opening last.”

The CEPD has set a date for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Blind Pass on Friday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m.