Published: Jan 08, 2013 5:55 PM EST
Updated: Jan 08, 2013 6:39 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Collier County Commissioners have declared Clam Pass an emergency situation.

The pass completely closed up and last week teams of people pitched in to dig it out.

Tuesday's move will help speed up the hiring process, so work can start as soon as the permit to dredge is issued, but county leaders say that could still be weeks away.

Tuesday afternoon, the trench once filled with water and kids digging was at a stand still much like the permitting process to get this pass dredged.

Collier County leaders and beach goers continue to wait for the Army Corp of Engineers to issue a permit so work to dredge Clam Pass can begin.

"The permits take a while and of course there are other political issues. We just have to hope for the best and trust that it will get done," says Jeannine Gonzalez, a resident who walks by Clam Pass everyday.

The permit to dredge Clam Pass has been pending for two years and it's even caused contention among commissioners. Last week, tired of waiting, hundreds of citizens took the matter into their own hands. At the moment the sand has since dried up, but their efforts haven't gone unnoticed.

"It's symbolic if nothing more and it's commendable," say County Commissioner Georgia Hiller.

The county hired a surveying team to determine how much sand will need to be moved. They've been out surveying for the last five days, and have about a weeks worth of work left to do.

"We're trying to do it as fast as we can because I know they're in a hurry for it," says Guy Adams, a licensed land surveyor.

As the condition of Clam Pass worsened the original permit was tabled and the focus was changed from restoration to preservation. Commissioner Hiller says the move to table the permit was made by the Army Corp of Engineers, but didn't delay the the process any extra. While that was disputed by Commissioners Fred Coyle and Donna Fiala, the board voted unanimously to declare the pass an emergency situation. That means as soon as the permit is issued, crews will be ready to get to work.

"I would love to see it start within 60 days and unfortunately I wish we could do it faster but we are bound with permits and by the requirements of the law and so were limited to do what the law dictates, otherwise if it were me I'd be dredging today."

Commissioner Hiller says there are several important meetings coming up this week including one with Army Corp of Engineers.