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CEPD, SCCF working on beach vehicle usage

By Staff | Mar 4, 2019

Carolyn Weaver

With the Captiva Erosion Prevention District in possession of its new beach vehicle, the agency is collaborating with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation to create operation protocols.

At a briefing meeting on Feb. 22, the CEPD commission and staff shared the draft version of its standard operating procedures with SCCF Natural Resources Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel and Kelly Sloan, SCCF Sea Turtle Program coordinator, and discussed how the vehicle may be used.

“They’re very concerned that we don’t duplicate efforts on what the SCCF already does,” CEPD Administrator Carolyn Weaver said. “And that we minimize the time that the beach vehicle it out.”

She added that SCCF feels beach driving has a negative impact.

“So we want to work in conjunction with them, which is why we reached out to them to get input on our proposed standard operating procedures,” Weaver said.

Sloan reported on shorebirds and the impact the vehicle could have with flush issues.

CEPD Chairman Mike Mullins offered that they can partner with the SCCF to identify and educate tourists of the impact and added that the CEPD intends to minimize its use of the beach vehicle.

Weaver noted that a log will be completed every time it is used.

During the fish kill cleanups last year that resulted from the red tide, Sloan and Weaver stayed in contact on the work. The two will continue to communicate when it comes to turtle nesting season.

David Mintz, president of the Captiva Community Panel, was also in attendance.

He questioned the purpose of the beach vehicle.

Weaver reported that it would be used for monitoring beach conditions, littering and vandalism, maintenance of the poles and ropes used to stabilize the dune areas and to provide a daily report to MOTE on the beach conditions.

Mullins added that the work was done before by walking the beach and it was time consuming. He continued that it was not manageable and was unrealistic to walk the entire beach and back in order to maintain the litter and breakdown of the poles and ropes, furniture left out, big holes dug and such.

Mintz suggested that residents who walk the beach daily may offer a source of aid.

Also at the briefing, the subject of beach tilling was brought up. Both the CEPD and SCCF agreed in working toward not requiring tilling after the next renourishment project as it is not necessary.

On Feb. 28, Weaver reported on the next steps for the groups.

“We are waiting to hear from them about any recommendations they have or any changes or updates,” she said of the vehicle procedures. “Then we’ll review and come back together to finalize a plan.”

Last week, the CEPD used the vehicle to remove old crab traps from the beach.

“We’ve gotten some of the crab traps people have been complaining about,” Weaver said.

“If they have a concern or they see an issue, please call us,” she added.

To contact the CEPD, email mycepd@cepd.com or call 239-472-2472.