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CCP approves pilot program to combat iguanas

By Staff | Apr 16, 2019

TIFFANY REPECKI Captiva Community Panel Member and Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown, second from left, provides an update on the consultant's efforts to gather supplemental wastewater information.

The Captiva Community Panel supported moving forward with a pilot program at its recent meeting to determine if iguana control is necessary, as well as received updates on two ongoing panel projects.

On April 9, the panel voted 10-0 to approve spending $5,000 for 10 weeks of service with Alfredo Fermin, owner of AAA Wildlife Trapping and Removal Services, as part of a trial run. The goal is for the panel to find out if the iguana population is a big enough problem to warrant ongoing services.

Panel Member Dave Jensen, who has been fielding the iguana issue, explained that Fermin and he walked around to some properties the week before to get an idea of the current situation. They visited nine properties in the Village and spoke with land owners or property managers for seven of those.

“He showed me many nesting holes and tracks from iguanas,” he said, noting that he had never been aware they made tracks or what to look for. “He thought we potentially have a big growth issue.”

Jensen added that Fermin thought it is possible to keep the population in check.

While using a snare and traps might work on the bayside with the seawalls, Fermin suggested that using the pellet gun would be the most effective form of control after touring areas of Captiva.

“His recommendation and my recommendation is if the community is concerned, we maybe go forward with this test proposal,” Jensen told the panel, referring to the pilot program.

He added that the trial’s success and ensuring the data collected reflects the current state, however, will depend on gaining access to as many properties as possible. South Seas Island Resort has opted out.

Resident Lisa Riordan, who was in attendance, pointed out that South Seas does not own all the land, mostly the common areas. She volunteered to speak to the homeowners associations for approval.

Jensen noted that individuals in South Seas have reached out about wanting the service.

Rauschenberg Residency Director Ann Brady, who was also present for the meeting, reported that she would permit Fermin’s company to access the properties to work, as long as no artists are on site.

Panel President David Mintz said he alerted Lee County officials to the possible trial.

He motioned for the panel approve the contract, then seek reimbursement for the funds from the county. If ongoing service is needed, the panel will try working with the county on a contract.

Also at the meeting, Mintz provided an update on the Captiva Drive walkway.

At last month’s meeting, the panel voted unanimously to designate up to $43,000 for Johnson Engineering to design and engineer the blueprint for the project. At the time, Panel Member Rene Miville questioned the firm’s quote, and Mintz agreed to work with Miville and re-examine it.

“We did get it reduced,” Mintz told the panel.

With Miville’s help, he was able to get the price to $37,250. In addition, Mintz and staff have been reaching out to stakeholders and those who may benefit from the project in search of donations.

“We’ve raised about $6,300,” he said.

Another project update provided during the meeting came from Panel Member and Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown. He reported that he had spent the last month contacting land owners in order to compile a list of at least 30 properties for the soil sample tests related to septic systems.

“I’ve recruited approximately 40 people,” Brown said.

As part of the panel’s efforts to gather supplemental information to go with the TKW study on wastewater alternatives for Captiva, the panel recently hired a consultant. Part of the contacted work includes determining the high water elevation of the water table under 30 island septic systems.

Those on the list have volunteered to let the soil engineer on their land to sample it.

“I figured he’s probably going to encounter some problems,” Brown said of why he compiled more than the 30 needed, citing that someone may not be home and the engineer may not gain access.

He added that the soil sampling could start the second week of May.

Brown brought up a concern about what the engineer should do if he discovers a malfunctioning system, questioning if he should tell the owner or property manager or say nothing at all. After some debate, the panel voted that he should collect the data confidentially, as planned, and do nothing.

If owners want any details, they can reach out to the panel.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Mintz reported that Panel Member Bob Walter’s seat is up in December and he is termed out. He suggested a list of names to make up the nominating committee in overseeing his replacement.

Mintz noted that he hopes to maintain South Seas’ representation on the panel.

“They represent half of the island,” he said.

The panel voted in support of Mintz’s suggestions for the committee.

– Panel Member Michael Lanigan, chair of the Hurricane Communications Committee, reported that members met and discussed what they thought the island needed or lacked in terms of information. The committee felt that preseason information was less important than details before and after a storm.

“Once that storm is announced and really after the storm, I think that’s where there’s a real demand,” Lanigan said. “So, we focused a lot on that and identified sources of information.”

He noted that Lee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Sawicki suggested reaching out to the city of Sanibel and asking if a Captiva representative could join in on its hurricane partners’ meetings.

“It’s going to take some time to put together a scope and plan,” Lanigan said.