SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla.- Early next week, crews will begin the second phase of dredging Blind Pass on Sanibel Island.
A pipe is now in place to move about 40,000 cubic yards of sand from inside the pass.
That sand will be used to re-nourish beach areas south of Blind Pass.
This is the smaller portion of an $883,000 project. The first phase was completed over the summer.
A project on Captiva this summer is expected to help re-nourish the Blind Pass area.
Project manager Justin McBride says the dredging is very important for the area. "To help with navigation but more important to help with flushing the bay. When Blind Pass is open, Pine Island sound gets much better flushing," he says. "Our tourism dollars are one of the biggest economic engines in the county and what do our tourists expect? They expect beaches that they are able to utilize. With a nice wide beach, people are able to enjoy it." He also says it will help wildlife and give them a healthy environment.
The pipe is on the beach just behind a big drop-off behind the Castaways Beach and Bay Resort. Storms Issac and Sandy eroded the sand and washed it away. Resort manager Carole Williams says today, the city of Sanibel stepped in to help.
"They've given us an emergency permit to make this walkway down so its safe for our guests," she says. "We dug this down so we can make a walkway down, we've got another walkway at the other end. It's made the guests extremely happy."
She says she understands how important the dredging is. "We really need that done because of the flow around the island to make sure ecologically we're in a good position. I'm not going to say it's the best (the pipe) but we understand it, we explain to the guests why it's being done and they've all been very understanding. Our main thing was helping them get on the beach and with Sanibel city's help, that's done."
She's confident her beach will be restored to its beauty once again. "Once we get the spring storms, we expect some of the sand to come back and our beaches will be paradise again," she says.
The dredging should wrap up by April.