LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The first maintenance dredging event of Blind Pass is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 18.
Blind Pass was initially opened as part of a cooperative project including Lee County, the City of Sanibel and the Captiva Erosion Prevention District in December 2009.
Approximately 137,000 cubic yards of sand were removed at that time at a cost of roughly $2.5 million. The sand was placed onto the adjacent beaches of Sanibel. Since that time, the Pass has been allowed to adjust on its own.
As part of the annual monitoring of Blind Pass, the County observed sand filling in portions of the channel. As a proactive measure to minimize the chance of the Pass closing, the County awarded a contract to Florida Dredge and Dock to complete maintenance dredging of the Pass.
Lee County took advantage of Florida Dredge and Dock being in the area from the recently completed Fort Myers Beach restoration project to get extremely favorable pricing. The construction cost estimate is $831,250 and is being funded from tourist bed taxes and a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The maintenance project is scheduled to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week through August, and hopes to remove as much as 120,000 cubic yards of sand and place it on the eroding shoreline near Bowman's Beach.
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation is working with the County to provide sea turtle and shorebird protection throughout construction.
During certain phases of the work, fishing from the bridge as well as a portion of the Blind Pass parking areas will be closed to the public.