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Blind Pass erosion causing concern

By Staff | Mar 4, 2015

Mother Nature’s up to her old tricks.

Beach erosion at Blind Pass is causing concern in Sanibel. Winter currents, strong winds and tides have eroded the beach south of Blind Pass adjacent to Sanibel-Captiva Road. If the erosion continues, it could threaten the roadway and city officials are closely monitoring the situation. The city has been granted a state permit to place sand at the vegetation line, a temporary fix that would limit more serious measures, a city official said. The city’s Natural Resources division will seek funding assistance from Lee County. The tab for 600 cubic yards of beach-grade sand is estimated at $21,620.

Conversely, a shoal on the Captiva side has extended into Blind Pass, threatening to bottleneck the ecologically sensitive waterway. Shifting sand has closed off Blind Pass several times in recent years, with authorities dredging thousands of tons to keep the waterway open. Lee County in 2013 dredged some 40,000 cubic yards of sand, relocating it along the eroded beachfront south of Blind Pass.

Lee County has tentatively scheduled another dredging for 2017. The Blind Pass Ecozone Restoration Project in 2013 re-kindled the “extraordinary productivity of fisheries, invertebrates, bird life, and sea grasses that were previously present in the open pass, as well as protecting over a hundred acres of productive mangrove forest and improving water conditions in both Dinkins and Clam Bayous,” according to a Lee County report.

Sanibel Natural Resources director James Evans said those depending on Blind Pass for travel and recreation should recall that Mother Nature frequently directs her attention to the scenic and important waterway. Shifting sand is part of winter along the Gulf, he said, noting that emergency sand placement is an option.

“If we make it to summertime, fantastic,” Evans said.