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CEPD discusses Blind Pass revetment, ‘Stop the Beach Renourishment’

By Staff | Aug 20, 2009

At the monthly meeting of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District, commissioners heard reports from senior administrator Kathleen Rooker regarding a recent meeting with Sanibel city manager Judie Zimomra and the status of Blind Pass, in addition to ratifying an emergency motion from a previous meeting to provide funding to the legal defense fund for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who are currently the target of legal troubles from a group of disgruntled citizens in Walton County, Fla.

Rooker met with Zimomra on July 22 to discuss several items of importance, such as oil and gas exploration off the coast of Florida and potential threats to island water quality.

“The purpose of that meeting with Sanibel was that we feel like we share a lot in common. What effects Sanibel effects Captiva and we want to come closer together to help each other. We think that we’re a little bit stronger when we work together and when we share ideas,” Rooker explained to commissioners.

“Some of the questions that Sanibel had, we had already found answers to. We heard some questions about Blind Pass and the revetment issue and we also talked about water quality issues. It was a very positive meeting and as a result of that [I’m] trying to start regular meetings between Captiva organizations and government entities and the City of Sanibel. That’s the goal,” she said.

A topic of concern at both the meeting with the City and the commissioners’ monthly meeting was the issue of the dismantled revetment at Blind Pass.

According to Rooker, Robert Neal of the Lee County Department of Natural Resources informed the CEPD that the rocks were moved by Sanibel during the City of Sanibel’s installation of a lift station.

Rooker described the revetment as the part of the groin that’s closest to the bridge.

“It’s all the rocks that are built up close to the bridge at Blind Pass. It serves as an edge to the shoreline. The revetment has become more of an issue than we thought it was going to be” Rooker said.

“Sanibel had said that they’d move the boulders, but before they could replace them, the contractor for Blind Pass showed up and was ready to begin construction, so in a conversation between the two, it was decided that they would just leave it open because the contractor needed it open to do his work,” Rooker continued.

“Now that they’re finishing up with the work at Blind Pass, we would like the boulders restored in a careful manner. We talked with our engineer, Steve Keehn, and although it’s not a very technical process, there are certain requirements that need to be met to replace them properly,” she said.

But for the CEPD, it’s not just a matter of who did what and who will fix it.

“It’s a big safety issue. Once the contractor clears out of there, if those rocks are not replaced, what happens is, if you pull into that parking lot to look at the open pass, you can drive right into it,” Rooker said.

“It’s just sand there and it looks like a parking space. The car would just be swept out to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Rooker said that during her meeting with the City of Sanibel, she requested that Sanibel and the Lee County Department of Natural Resources work together to reconstruct the revetment, and, as of Wednesday, Aug. 12, the County had agreed to restore the rocks.

CEPD chairman Mike Mullins expressed his hopes that this revetment project will be completed before the Sept. 25 opening celebration of the Pass, to begin at 10 a.m. For more information about the event, call the CEPD, 472-2472.

One of the most pressing matters at the CEPD meeting was the Supreme Court case of “Stop the Beach Renourishment vs. Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Walton County/City of Destin.”

At an emergency CEPD meeting held on July 21, commissioner Rene Miville moved to make a $2,000 donation to help fund Beach Watch efforts in support of the Florida DEP and Walton County. The motion carried unanimously pending approval from the CEPD’s attorney, who ultimately gave the organization the go-ahead.

Stop the Beach Renourishment consists of a group of Destin citizens who feel that, because all sand seaward of the erosion control line becomes property of the State after a beach renourishment, this is, in effect, a taking of private property.

In a summary of Rooker’s meeting with the City of Sanibel, she noted that should the Supreme Court rule against the Florida DEP, “beach nourishment as we have come to know it, would come to an end.”

Mullins asked for a motion to ratify the donation.

Commissioner Harry Kaiser made a motion that was seconded by commissioner Dave Jensen and the motion carried unanimously.

Mullins also noted that a tentative budget meeting will take place on Monday, Sept. 14 at 5:01 p.m to be followed by a final budget meeting on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m.

For more information about the CEPD and their meetings, call 472-2472. The CEPD is located at 11513 Andy Rosse Lane, unit 4, and online at www. mycepd.com