SANIBEL, Fla. — Blind Pass Beach Park will be closed to the public as of Wednesday.
Sanibel city officials said in a statement that the shoreline at the park has gradually eroded since May, and a steep escarpment has developed at the end of the beach access paths.
They said this erosion makes public access to the water unsafe.
The closure will remain in effect until conditions improve.
The closest beach parks to the Blind Pass Beach Park are Turners Beach Park (approximately 1,000 feet to the north) and Bowman’s Beach Park (approximately 2.4 miles to the south).
The City of Sanibel says that a large volume of built-up sand in the pass, related at least in part to the recent nourishment project that the Captiva Erosion Prevention District completed in November.
This has cut water flow to the south side of the pass, and now people can face steep slopes at Blind Pass.
It's something that local environmentalist, Ranger Rob Howell, sees happening more and more throughout Southwest Florida.
“Blind Pass is an area that was created by a hurricane very quickly, and it severed Captiva from Sanibel. So, nature is trying to put that sand back in and put those islands back together," he explains.
When discussing solutions to the erosion issue, he had this to say: “As far as immediate, the beach replenishment and nourishment do a lot - but it’s just a band-aid on a broken leg," he says. “Beach erosion is just the beginning of what is to come with bigger storms and things. Erosion doesn’t happen with storms all the time, but when a big storm hits it can take out a whole island.”
Sanibel city leaders say that they'll be coordinating with Lee County staff, as the county is responsible for maintenance dredging of Blind Pass and is currently in the permitting process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.