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Collier commissioner wants county to reconsider offshore sand for beaches

Posted at 6:14 PM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 19:54:19-05

As sand hauls by truck wind down for Collier County's 2016 beach re-nourishment project, at least one county official wants to re-examine another option for future sand replenishment: offshore dredging.

"The drawing card is our beaches," said Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor of the areas's biggest tourist attraction. "We are so lucky to have beautiful beaches."

Taylor said that keeping those beaches beautiful means that re-nourishment projects are needed, after sand erosion from summer storms. But she's concerned about the wear and tear from the numerous dump trucks, which haul the sand from Immokalee, is having on the county's roads.

"It should always be an option, but I don't think we should rely on it as the main tool to re-nourish our beaches," she said.

Taylor wants the county to consider going back to offshore dredging, saying that it's less intrusive to beachgoers and residents who live near the beach. 

It's also more expensive: the last bid by a contractor to supply Collier County's beaches with sand by dredging was about $32 million - over twice the county's budget.

Morgan Arons was sunbathing on Vanderbilt Beach Monday, right near the trucks and other machinery used in the re-nourishment project. She said she didn't mind the sight, or the noise from the engines.

"I don't think it's too bad," Arons said. "And if it saves Collier County some money, then I think it's probably worth it."

Taylor said she plans to ask the county to look into the feasibility of offshore dredging for sand at the next Board of Commissioners meeting next Tuesday.