Applications for shoreline project filed
The city of Sanibel recently submitted applications for the design work and a request for financial assistance on the emergency shore protection project south of Blind Pass, along Sanibel-Captiva Road.
Last week, Natural Resources Director James Evans reported that the city submitted the permit application outlining the project to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on July 16.
“They will be reviewing it as part of their Coastal Construction Control Line permit,” he said, explaining that it will review the proposed design to ensure it is consistent with the agency’s rules.
Evans noted that the design has not changed since it was finalized in early July.
“The design is the same,” he said.
Previously, the DEP has reviewed permit applications within the first 30 days of receiving them, following up in that timeframe with requests for additional information or clarifications. Evans noted that over the next few months, the agency will likely request additional information a few times.
Once it is satisfied it has everything, a notice of intent to issue the permit would follow.
“Then we’ll usually get it (the permit) within a week or two,” he said.
“We hope to have that permit sometime in the October-November timeframe,” Evans added. “So we can begin work on the project as soon as sea turtle nesting season is over at the end of October.”
In addition, the city submitted an application on July 30 for funds through the DEP’s Florida Beach Management Funding Assistance Program, which accepts local funding requests for beach projects. He reported that the city applied for just over $300,000 in state assistance as part of a 50-50 cost-share.
“It would cover the cost of the beach renourishment or fill placement and dune restoration,” Evans said. “It would not include the structure itself – revetment, sheet piling, riprap – to protect the roadway.”
He estimated that the total project may cost approximately $612,000. The city intends to request funds from the Lee County Tourist Development Council to help cover the remaining costs of the project.
However, the city will not know the final figure until it runs the full costs through. Evans explained that the city waits to receive the notice of intent from the DEP before proceeding on that and with bidding.
“Until we know that this is what it will look like,” he said of the project. “The DEP might make us modify the design.”
A part of the process for the DEP funding request, a resolution in support of the application was scheduled to go before the city council on Aug. 6 for approval, naming the city as project sponsor.
“It’s us going on the record,” Evans said.
As for the project’s timeline, things are running along as expected.
“We’re on the schedule we’ve kind of set forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, the site itself has continued to see sand accretion in the recent months.
“We’re pretty close to the 2016 level,” Evans said of the current sand status. “But again, as soon as we move into the fall and start to get those cold fronts that’s when we’ll see the erosion start to return.”
The beach accumulates sand in the summer and loses it in the winter because of the wind direction. If the project is finished before winter, sand can accumulate on top of the new sand the city deposits.
“That is why we want to get the project done by fall, early winter,” he said.
Earlier this year, the city had brought in Humiston & Moore Engineers to look at the area near Pine Avenue and Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages and come up with concepts to better protect the nearby road and properties from erosion. Later on at a city council meeting, the firm reported the following:
“Recent storms and cold fronts in 2018 and 2019 have resulted in increased sand loss and vulnerability,” the firm stated in documents. “It is the intent of the city to design improved protection along this section of roadway and extend the protection further north and south of the existing buried (rock) revetment to provide high frequency storm protection to the most vulnerable 400-foot section of the evacuation route for the island of Captiva and the north end of Sanibel.”
“The concept plan involves the addition of a larger armor stone layer along the existing buried revetment and installation of a steel sheet pile wall with a concrete cap upland of the revetment, along the edge of the right-of-way, for the approximate 400-foot section of vulnerable roadway,” it continued. “Additional rock will be included for toe-scour protection north and south of the existing revetment seaward of the new wall and tapering of the rock further landward.”