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Town moves forward with north end beach erosion study

February 12, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG (nmayberg@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Town of Fort Myers Beach is bringing on a consultant to study the erosion of the beach specifically in the area near Bowditch Point Park to Lynn Hall Park.

The study is the first step in the laying the groundwork for an application to the county for funds to conduct beach restoration as has been done in the past. Lee County has budgeted $1.1 million this fiscal year for beach and shoreline monitoring for Fort Myers Beach with Tourist Development Tax funds.

The Pink Shell Resort has pushed for the study due to significant erosion of the beach in the area since the last restoration effort was conducted back in 2011.

Article Photos

These photos are of Fort Myers Beach, with the Pink Shell Resort at center, showing the level of erosion from 2011 to the shortening of the beach in 2018.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY FAST AERIAL

While the Pink Shell Resort still enjoys a large and favorable beach, but due to their experience with the beach restoration, Senior Vice President of Operations Bill Waichulis said he wanted to get ahead of the process which can take three to five years.

The process involves the dredging of sand out from the shore into the beach.

Waichulis said beach renourishment has been happening about once each decade on Fort Myers Beach going back to the 1980s.

"I brought the pictures to the town manager," Waichulis said.

He provided aerial photos of the beach from 2011 and compared them to 2018, which showed a noticeable reduction in the extension of the sand.

"Pictures speak a thousand words," he said.

"We just hired a consultant," Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said. "We have to do an analysis. They (Pink Shell Resort) have been reporting that they have been losing this sand."

Waichulis pointed to the situation at Blind Pass on Sanibel Island, where a state of emergency was declared in December due to an eroding roadway, as to why it was important to get ahead of erosion issues. In January, the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved $1.4 million for the Sanibel-Captiva shoreline erosion protection project.

"I wanted to make sure we are not waiting until the last minute," Waichulis said.

According to records provided by the town, Coastal Engineering Construction will be paid $17,800 for the due diligence project to study the erosion along the beach.

Robert Boykin, co-owner of the Pink Shell Resort, said beach restoration is important for tourism.

"If you let the natural resources become neglected, it can become an enormous threat," he said.

"Beach renourishment should be like your annual physical," Boykin said.

 
 

 

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