Published: Jan 21, 2013 5:39 PM EST
Updated: Jan 21, 2013 6:39 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Ken Dawson is one of the Clam Pass diggers.

"It gets closed up every night and it takes approximately 12 to 15 hours for man to dig it out," said Dawson.

And he's out there digging everyday.

"It's an emergency dig that we're doing," said Dawson.

On Monday, the Pelican Bay Services Division approved plans that would get the diggers out and the professionals in. The plan separates the pass into three sections. Right now, all three, starting at the Gulf, are clogged.

"And from the engineers stand point, and my own stand point, those two zones behind there are integral to the project as well. Because they allow the water to get from the pays to the pass which helps to keep it open," said ecologist Tim Hall.

To keep it open, dredging equipment would come in and make a 45-foot cut, starting at the bottom and then remove that sand to other parts of the beach. The Collier County Commissioners will discuss these plans on Tuesday. If they are approved, they will go to the Army Corps of Engineers. Senior ecologist Tim Hall said that will further delay the process by at least a month.

"I would hope that when permits are issued, the contractors are ready to start the next day," said Hall.

The hope is they can start dredging in March. But they need to be finished before Sea Turtle nesting season begins in May.