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Lee County's beaches are its No. 1 economic and environmental asset. Unfortunately, approximately 22.4 miles of the 47 total miles of Gulf beaches in Lee County experience critical erosion. To address this on-going concern the Coastal Advisory Council (CAC) and the Division of Natural Resources staff work with other government agencies and beach property owners to plan for the restoration and maintenance needs of our beaches including the technical, economic, funding, and education issues associated with beach management. 

The County participates in specific projects developed for Gasparilla Island, Captiva, Blind Pass, Fort Myers Beach (Estero Island), Lovers Key, and Bonita Beach.


 Gasparilla Island



  

The initial project included removal of a derelict groin field and placement of beach fill along 16,390 feet (3.1 miles). The complete Lee County project area, from Boca Grande Pass to 17th Street, is listed as critically eroded shoreline by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). 

The 2019 beach nourishment project, projected to be completed by the Army Corps May through July, will add sand from Banyan Street to 18th Street, and on the Gasparilla Island State Park segment surrounding Belcher Road from Seagrape Park south toward the Lighthouse. 
 

Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED ​LENGTH ​VOLUME ​CONSTRUCTION COST
​April 2007​3.1 miles​1,072,781​$11.8 million
​December 2013​3.1 miles​433,424​$7.3 million
​July 2019
​1.6 + 0.4 miles
281,638
​$6.5 million

 
This project is cost shared through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Download the latest state funding application for additional project details.

Download the latest physical monitoring report.

 
For additional information, contact us via email or phone at 239-533-8109.



 Captiva Island

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The first organized beach nourishment activity in Lee County occurred on Captiva Island under the direction of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD). The scope of work has varied over time and has included cooperative projects on Northern Sanibel.

 
Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED ​LENGTH ​VOLUME
October 1981​1.2 miles​655,000
​April 1989​4.7 miles​1,596,000
​May 1996​6.0 miles​1,180,000
​January 2006​6.4 miles​1,352,931
​April 2008​0.6 miles​99,000
​December 2013
​6.0 miles​864,192
​October 2021 (est.)
​5.0 miles
​925,000 (est.)

 
Projects are managed by CEPD. During some years, this project was cost shared through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Lee County bed taxes pay for a portion of the work. 

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For additional information, call CEPD at 239-472-2472 or visit the CEPD website.  

 

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 Blind Pass

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Blind Pass is a relatively small inlet to Pine Island Sound located between Captiva and Sanibel Islands. The Blind Pass Project is designed to remove sand that deposits in the pass and place it on the beaches of Sanibel Island, as recommended in the Blind Pass Inlet Management Plan (1993). A feasibility study conducted for the City of Sanibel, Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD) and Lee County in September 2003 recommended the project to provide a stable tidal connection between Pine Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico for environmental reasons. An Inlet Management Study was completed in 2018 and an Inlet Management Plan (IMP) adopted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2019. The IMP defines strategies for long term management of the inlet and adjacent beaches, and recommendations for further study.

Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED LOCATION ​VOLUME ​CONSTRUCTION TYPE
March 2001​Gulf​20,400​Mechanical
​December 2009​Gulf & Sound​148,000​Hydraulic reopening
​September 2012​Gulf​63,300​Hydraulic maintenance
​May 2013​​Sound​37,600​Hydraulic maintenance
June 2017Gulf & Sound89,700​Hydraulic maintenance

 
This project is a cooperative effort including Lee County, Captiva Erosion Prevention District, City of Sanibel and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Download the latest state funding application​ for additional project details.

Download the latest physical monitoring report.

 
For additional information, contact us via email or phone 239-533-8109.



 Fort Myers Beach (Estero Island)

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The project consists of the restoration and maintenance of critically eroded shoreline on portions of Estero Island.  The original federally authorized 4.6-mile project was not able to be constructed in 2011 because of a lack of local support. The County implemented a shortened project from Bowditch Point Regional Park adjacent to Matanzas Pass, to Crescent Beach Family Park in order to nourish the County Parks and adjacent cooperating properties.

Along with beach nourishment, a terminal groin was built on the south side of Matanzas Pass. The pass is a federally maintained channel that requires maintenance dredging approximately every three years. The structure will anchor the beach fill and discourage material from infilling the federal channel.

Future nourishment will be the primary responsibility of the Town of Fort Myers Beach. Lee County will continue to provide technical support to the Town and cost sharing through the bed tax funded Beach and Shoreline Program. Opportunities will be sought for regionalization of future projects.


 

Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED ​LENGTH ​VOLUME ​CONSTRUCTION COST
​December 2011​1.2 miles​402,805​$4 million

Download the latest physical monitoring report.
 

For additional information, contact us via email or phone 239-533-8109.

 Lovers Key

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The project consists of the nourishment and maintenance of approximately 1.1 miles of shoreline on Lovers Key State Park.  The project shoreline is comprised entirely of critically eroded shoreline within one of Florida's most visited State Parks. Cost savings are being realized by coordination of the project with Bonita Beach Nourishment.​​ Permit conditions are designed to ensure protection for sea turtles and shorebirds.
 

Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED ​LENGTH ​VOLUME ​CONSTRUCTION COST
​October 2004​1.1 miles​570,240​$3.5 million
​December 2014​1.1 miles​333,494​$3.1 million

 
This project is cost shared by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Download the latest state funding application for additional project details.

Download the latest physical monitoring report.
 

For additional information, contact us via email or phone 239-533-8109.

 Bonita Beach

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The project consists of the nourishment and maintenance of approximately 0.8 miles of shoreline on Little Hickory Island. The project shoreline is comprised entirely of critically eroded shoreline. In addition to beach nourishment, two groins were constructed at the northern end of the project to anchor the fill and prevent sand losses into Big Hickory Pass.  Cost savings are being realized by coordination of the project with Lovers Key. Permit conditions are designed to ensure protection for sea turtles and shorebirds.
 

Project History
 

DATE COMPLETED ​LENGTH ​CUBIC YARDAGE ​CONSTRUCTION COST
​November 1995​0.8 miles​217,000​$1.1 million
​June 2004​0.8 miles​150,000​$1.6 million
​September 2014​0.8 miles​134,484​$1.6 million

 
This project has been cost shared by the City of Bonita Springs, local property owners, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Download the latest state funding application for additional project details.
For additional information, contact us via email or phone 239-533-8109.

Beaches provide habitat for sea turtles, shore and wading birds, mollusks and other creatures, many rare, threatened or endangered. The continuing loss of beaches increases competition for remaining resources, reduces overall populations, and forces relocation outside of Lee County.

Sea turtle nesting in Florida has risen dramatically in recent years, in part to improved beach conditions and better management practices. 

 Erosion... One third of all the beaches in Lee County are classified as critically eroded.

Erosion of our beaches is a natural, continuous process that poses substantial threat to our coastal development, infrastructure and economy.

Our best option for dealing with this problem is to take action to restore and maintain our beaches. The quality of life we enjoy in Lee County, the economic engine of tourism, and the natural habitats for our wild creatures, depend on the health and sustainability of our beaches and coastal systems.

Our beaches deserve more than a "Band-Aid" approach to their health. We need to plan, manage, and endorse restoration and enhancement of one of our most important county assets.


 Hurricane Protection... a wide beach can reduce hurricane damage by 50%

Wide, healthy beaches cause breaking waves associated with storms to expend their energy further away from the upland shoreline. Waves, carried closer to shore by storm surges, are one of the primary causes of damage to coastal structures. High, wide sandy beaches and dunes are the most cost effective form of protection from tropical storms and hurricanes.

Economic Impact... healthy beaches equal a healthy economy.

The Gulf Beaches are Lee County's most attractive feature and are considered to be its number one economic asset.

In 2013, 4,797,933 visitors to Lee County made over $2.77 billion in direct expenditures and paid $28.6 million in tourist taxes!  Without healthy beaches the vast majority of these tourists may not visit Lee County, which means our economy, local taxes and employment could be sharply impacted. Visit The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel tourism website to learn more.

Lee County works to attract new business and industry to our community. The coastal location and miles of white sand beaches are an extremely important asset in promoting our area as a site for business relocation. New business helps to diversify our economy and protect the community's future economic viability.

Habitat... healthy beaches attract wildlife.

Beaches in Lee County are home to thousands of animals which depend on healthy, sandy beaches and dunes. With over 33% of our beaches in a critically eroded condition, these habitats, and the animals that need them, suffer.

Beaches provide habitat for sea turtles, shore and wading birds, mollusks and other creatures, many rare, threatened or endangered. The continuing loss of beaches increases competition for remaining resources, reduces overall populations, and forces relocation outside of Lee County.

Sea turtle nesting in Florida has risen dramatically in recent years, in part to improved beach conditions and better management practices. 


Recreation... better beaches mean more fun.

The quality of our beaches is a reflection of the quality of life in Lee County.

Beaches are the lifeblood of recreational activities in Lee County. Whether you are an angler, boater, sailor, swimmer, snorkeler, diver, sheller or sunbather, you benefit from healthy beaches.

Beaches are important infrastructure for recreation, and deserve the same care and attention as our roadways, parks, buildings and other public works.

Management... preservation, restoration, nourishment.

Education is the first step.

The goal is to effectively and wisely manage our beaches and coastal systems.

To make this happen, we need your help, your attention to the problem, and your willingness to help us assess the cost and benefits of various approaches to beach management.

Beaches affect our everyday lives. Healthy beaches fuel our tourist economy, which, in turn, benefits not only our livelihood, but our quality of life.

Not having beaches is not only a loss to all of us, but a loss to our children, and our children's children.