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Dignitary-studded Blind Pass re-opening celebration set for January

By Staff | Dec 31, 2009

Blind Pass, closed for a nearly a decade, is now open and gulf waters are once again flowing between the islands of Sanible and Captiva, an event heralded by local environmentalists.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the long-awaited re-opening that occurred this summer will be held Friday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m.
“I’m excited to attend the ceremony for the opening of Blind Pass,” said Captiva Erosion Prevention District Chairman Mike Mullins. “Its success is something that we’ve been hoping and praying for, and we’re glad that we’re finally there.”
Speaking at the event will be the Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s Board of Commissioners, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham, the Lee County Board of Commissioners and officials from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
For eight years, according to a recent CEPD statement, Blind Pass has remained closed as the result of instabilities in the channel geometry caused by storm-induced shoaling and infilling. Because of this severe shoaling at the Pass, the rates of erosion on Sanibel have increased and the reduced tidal flows and flushing of Dinkins Bayou, Roosevelt Channel and Wulfert Channel have created conditions that impaired light transmission and disturbed the historically pristine marine ecosystem.
The closing of the pass also resulted in the associated loss of the ebb shoal, causing the shoreline to erode at higher rates and causing the loss of recreational beaches and storm protection to upland development.
The project to re-open the pass began in late 2008 with the primary objective of restoring significant portions of the disturbed coastal ecosystems within the Wulfert Channel, Dinkins Bayou and Roosevelt Channel marine complex that have been adversely affected by the loss of a direct tidal connection to the Gulf of Mexico.
At the end of July 2009, just as the project was nearing completion, Mother Nature took over as gulf waters burst through the containment cell wall and the pass opened.
According to the CEPD, the project provides significantly enhanced flushing and water quality benefits to those systems — Wulfert Channel, Dinkins Bayou and Roosevelt Channel — which existed prior to the shoaling and closure of the Pass. Secondary benefits associated with direct channel access to the Gulf are the enhanced recreation benefits to the public.
There will be no parking on site. Attendees can park for free at the Bowman’s Beach parking lot on Sanibel and South Seas Island Resort and
Tarpon Bay Explorers will provide free trolley service to Blind Pass.
If you would like more information about Blind Pass or details regarding the ribbon cutting event, please call the CEPD at 472-2472.