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Panel to use grant money for Captiva Drive tree planting

By Staff | Jun 23, 2010

The Captiva Community Panel plans to use a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to plant native trees and plants along Captiva Drive.

The grant, valid through July 31, is contracted with the state Division of Forestry and totals totals $18,200, with $17,000 for trees including installation.

“It’s a reimbursable grant with no matching funds required, which is

rare,” said panel administrator Ken Gooderham.

Last Thursday, Gooderham met with Jenny Evans, manager of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Nursery, Joe Sulak, who coordinates ROW plantings for the Lee Department of Transportation and Mike Weston, the local forester with the state Division of Forestry.

“The target of the grant is to plant trees in public rights-of-way, so we limited the scope to the area from Blind Pass to the first ess-curve since it had the most likely plantable public space,” Gooderham said.

In working with the SCCF Native Plant Nursery, Gooderham said the group identified a list of native plants that could be used for the planting, but the final selection of native plants and trees will ultimately be based on location, conditions and availability.

“We drove along Captiva Drive and Turner Beach to identify possible

planting space, and pretty much eliminated the bay side of the road due to

the infrastructure limitations, such as power lines above, phone and water lines below,” Gooderham said, noting that 12-15 sites along Captiva Drive were pegged as possible planting sites.

However, LDOT would need to look at right-of-way surveys to confirm the space could be plantable in regards to safety, space and access.

“Obviously, we would also want to work with the property owners as well to ensure success,” Gooderham said.

One idea that came out of last week’s meeting was the possibility of combining some of the ARRA money with County funding to enhance the plantings at the Turner Beach entrance to the island. To do this, LDOT would have to restore a retention area west of the bridge that was part of the original permits for the bridge’s replacement in the 1980s.

“The county’s Division of Natural Resources, which oversaw the Blind Pass opening project, recently installed some new plantings in that area, which could be transplanted, and still has a couple of trees to replace in conjunction with work by the City of Sanibel on the park infrastructure,” Gooderham said.

According to Gooderham, including some of the ARRA grant money with a DOT/DNR restoration of the park area might create a more attractive and welcoming entrance to the island in addition to helping enhance the park’s vegetation.

“This idea still needs to be discussed at the next meeting of the Captiva Community Panel for panel and public input. Both LDOT and SCCF are looking at options for plant choices and design, hopefully to be able to report something back to the community shortly,” Gooderham said.

The Captiva Community Panel will meet on Tuesday, July 13, at 9 a.m. in the Wakefield Room at ‘Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive.

For more information about the panel, go to www.CaptivaCommunityPanel.com