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Lee Commissioners accept FDEP grant funds to place beach sand

Posted at 10:19 AM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 06:11:55-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to accept grant funds of $5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for Hurricane Ian and Nicole Emergency Recovery to place sand on Lee County beaches.

The State of Florida allocated $5 million for the beach and dune sand placement. It will help provide storm protection and recreational benefits along the publicly accessible and heavily used beaches eroded by Hurricane Ian.

Mike Haas, who visits the island for a week, once a month says he hopes that whatever help the city is getting, that it leads to a lasting solution, "Mangroves can get re-established and the native plants and such so that it can be a more permanent fix," Haas said as he fished off of the Blind Pass Bridge.

That bridge, leads residents from Captiva, onto Sanibel, and then onto the main line, as the main evacuation route.

While Haas understands hurricanes come with the beach homes and the beach life, he’s hoping for a more lasting solution, to make sure the erosion on the South end of blind Pass, to make life on Sanibel, safer, "That’s what we always worry about, as the sand fills in, we worry this will fill in and it won’t be navigable anymore."

The project consists of trucking sand to beaches previously designated by the state as critically eroded and actively managed by Lee County to protect public infrastructure currently at risk from hurricane impacts.

Locations include Lovers Key and south of Blind Pass where the severely eroded beach threatens the Sanibel Captiva Road evacuation route.