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PACKED TO FLUFFY: How the Fort Myers Beach shoreline will soon look different

Posted at 11:16 PM, Apr 10, 2024

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The aftermath of Hurricane Ian has left Fort Myers Beach with densely packed sand along the coast, but change is on the horizon with the upcoming beach renourishment project.

The work is anticipated to begin in June and the project's total cost exceeds $40 million. The sand is gathered from two offshore borrow areas.

Map of borrow area
Map of "Borrow Area" where the sand will be sourced.

Chadd Chustz, the Environmental Project Manager for the Town of Fort Myers Beach, explained the technical process

"It will be hydraulically pumped, fluidized into a slurry, and then it comes onto the beach really wet. They allow it to dewater and then grate it out," he said.

Example of pipe pumping sand onto a beach.
Example of pipe pumping sand onto a beach.

This approach will not only to replenish the sand but also to widen the beach significantly, potentially extending the shoreline by over 200 feet in areas like Times Square.

Map of how far out the shoreline is expected to be.
Map of how far out the shoreline is expected to be at Times Square.

More than a million cubic yards of sand are expected to be added, with an expansion of over 200 feet out into the Gulf at Times Square. There will be similar enhancements along stretches from Bowditch Point Park to Lanark Avenue, and from Lenell Road to Redfish Drive on the island's south end.

Visitors Fox 4 spoke with expressed nostalgia for the lost softness of the sand.

Packed sand on Fort Myers Beach
Packed sand on Fort Myers Beach

"We had more fluffy sand, now it's all packed," one visitor said, while another added, "The sands were a lot fluffier, whiter, and cleaner, but after the hurricane, you kind of expect that."

The project is expected to finish in November.