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Erosion near Blind Pass under review

By Staff | Feb 26, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED

The city of Sanibel is looking into options to address the continuing beach erosion being monitored adjacent to Sanibel-Captiva Road and the Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages, near Blind Pass.

At a recent council meeting, City Councilman Jason Maughan requested a report on the situation, noting that residents had raised concerns. On Feb. 19, Natural Resources Director James Evans said a coastal engineering firm was hired to examine the area and he had just received its scope of work.

He explained that the scope of work will develop different options to address the erosion.

“Options like renourishment or additional stabilization of the shoreline,” Evans said.

He noted that the city has erosional hot spots identified that it tracks with annual surveys.

Evans added that the erosion near Blind Pass has been ongoing issue.

“We’ve been following that erosion very closely. It’s an area that is impacted by erosion, specifically because of its proximity to the Blind Pass Inlet,” he said. “We know that’s an area that continually needs maintenance. So, we’re continually trying to address the erosion on that stretch of beach.”

The area has received renourishment in conjunction with past projects for Captiva.

“It never really recovered after (Hurricane) Irma,” Evans said, pointing to last season’s storms and the impact of when they occur late in the season. “Then Hurricane Michael and other storm events.”

He explained that the beaches naturally accumulate sand during the summer and lose sand in the winter. In the cold months, the erosion is associated with cold fronts and north and northwest winds.

“If you lose a lot of sand on the beach (from summer storms or late-season storms) and go into the winter, you kind of have a sand deficit,” Evans said.

With the scope of work in hand, the city’s next step is to have in-depth advanced surveys of the area completed. Once the surveying in done, the city council will be presented with potential options.

He hopes to have the information ready for the council’s meeting in March.

Evans explained that in the meantime, staff is researching what permits may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, plus the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in regard to wildlife, to do any of the proposed work.

“And there are private property owners there that we would have to work with,” he said.

“But, we may not need to implement any of the alternatives,” Evans added.

While there are concerns by residents about the erosion situation, he noted that a rip-rap escarpment installed in the area along Sanibel-Captiva Road in the 1990s remains intact and is not exposed.

“There is a last line of defense,” Evans said.

He added that the city is looking at possibly creating another line of defense waterward of the rip-rap.

“We’re going to have our coastal engineer look at what options are available there,” Evans said.