San-Cap Road erosion project advances
The city of Sanibel’s project to address beach erosion on the north end of the island, adjacent to Sanibel-Captiva Road, continues to move forward after recent meetings with state agencies.
On May 2, Natural Resources Director James Evans reported that the city had received the finished conceptual design for the project the week before from Humiston & Moore Engineers. Earlier this year, the city hired the coastal engineering firm to examine the area near Pine Avenue and Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages and to develop possible options to tackle the erosion near the road and properties.
“We reviewed it,” he said of the conceptual design. “Staff’s good with it.”
Evans previously explained that the project will involve the placement of a new riprap revetment – rock structure – and sand placement. The goal will be to place sand on top of and in front of the riprap to create a soft shoreline. In addition, new vegetation and plantings will provide a restoration aspect.
On May 3, Evans reported that the firm – at the request of the city – had met with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to go over its conceptual design. The city will need at least a DEP permit in order to conduct the work.
“They talked about the project, and both agencies seem generally supportive,” he said.
“The meetings yesterday went well,” Evans added. “They (the agencies) have requested a little more information, but we’re going to move forward with the design and engineering as planned.”
He explained that the firm would work next on the full design and engineering plan for the project, which city staff is expected to present before the Sanibel City Council on May 7 for approval.
Evans noted that the biggest variable with the project is permitting. While the DEP permit will allow for the work itself to be conducted, he pointed out that the target area is located along the beach.
“The FWC may want to review certain aspects of the project,” he said, adding that the agency could want to look for any potential impacts to the local wildlife, like nesting sea turtles and shorebirds.
According to Evans, once the agencies have completed their reviews and questions regarding any additional information are answered, it is at that point that any required permits would be issued.
He noted that the city’s hope is to have the project well under way before October.
“To hopefully have some sand to build on,” Evans said.
He previously explained that the beach naturally accumulates sand in the summer and loses sand in the winter because of the direction of the winds. When there are late-summer storms, that sand is lost not acquired, so the beach heads into winter with a sand deficit. The worsening erosion in the area has been attributed to the beach never fully recovering after Hurricane Irma, followed by last year’s late storms.
If the project is finished before winter, extra sand can accumulate on top of what is put down.
Evans reiterated that the aim of the project is two-fold.
“It’s primarily to protect the roadway and protect the adjacent properties,” he said. “That’s the goal.”