USA: Comments Invited on Lee County Beach Renourishment Plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, is considering an application by the Captiva Erosion Prevention District for a Department of the Army permit to address erosion through beach renourishment along 6.5 miles of shoreline between Redfish Pass in Captiva and Bowman’s Beach in Sanibel, Lee County, Florida.

The Corps issued a Public Notice August 5 and comments are due by August 26, 2014.

The applicant proposes to transfer sand, which is similar to the sand on the beaches, from two offshore borrow areas and from upland sand mines for placement along the coast.

The beach was last nourished between October and December 2013. The current permit for this project expires in March 2015, and the requested permit would cover future beach renourishment events for a period of 15 years, expected to begin in 2021. It includes two additional fill areas at the north end of Captiva Island as well as contingencies for hot spots and storm events.

The proposed action is pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which governs the placement of dredged and fill material in waters of the United States, including wetlands, and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for the protection and maintenance of the nation’s navigable waterways.

It is estimated that Captiva Island beach renourishment will require placement of approximately 750,000 to 900,000 cubic yards of sand and Sanibel Island beach renourishment will require placement of about 350,000 cubic yards of sand. Sand will be transported by pumping and by truck. It is not anticipated that the project will impact natural or cultural resources.

In accordance with the Endangered Species Act, the Corps has determined that the project may affect several endangered species, including critical habitat for the smalltooth sawfish and loggerhead sea turtle, Florida panther, and the piping plover.

The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and special conditions may be required to ensure protective measures are employed.

Press Release, August 8, 2014

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