Over 60 Coastal Managers from Across Florida Participate in Field Trips to Discuss Inlet Management
ECA President Joe Moreland and Biologist from Coastal Planning and Engineering discuss details of plans to manage the Wiggins Pass Inlet.
Over 60 beach and coastal managers from across Florida and other coastal states participated in two boat field trips on the Cocohatchee estuary on Thursday, September 27, to review and discuss plans for managing the navigational channel for Wiggins Pass. The Estuary Conservation Association worked in partnership with Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management Department, Pelican Isle Yacht Club, and Tarpon Cove Tours to conduct the field trips as part of the Florida Beach Preservation Association’s annual conference being held in Naples. Participants included state and local legislators and county officials interested in learning about the project.
Coastal and beach managers from across Florida to participate in guided field trip on September 27.
Working in collaboration with Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management Department, the Estuary Conservation Association (ECA) will be providing two guided boat trips of the Cocohatchee estuary and Wiggins Pass on Thursday, September 27 for coastal managers participating in the 56th Annual Conference of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
The boat trips will provide participants with a first-hand view of the pristine inshore waters of the estuary, and an imporatnt opportunity to learn about adaptive management strategies employed by Collier County Coastal Zone Management staff to address issues involving the management of the inlet at Wiggins Pass.
Pelican Isle Yacht Club is participating as a local sponsor.
We very pleased to report to you that the Collier County Board of Commissioners has approved funding for the Wiggins Pass Dredging and Re Nourishment Project. They voted three to two for the awarding of $6,798,820 for County wide beach and Pass Maintenance projects, of which Wiggins Pass is one.
The Florida DEP has notified the County that they intend to issue the necessary Permit once the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signs off on the project (the last hurdle). The DEP should publicly issue their “Intent To Issue” by Sept 9th; then the 21-day public notice, then the Permit can be finally issued. Hence the scheduled goal is to have the DEP permit in hand no later than the first week in October.
Collier County Office of Coastal Zone Management, plans to combine South Marco, dredging and beach fill with Wiggins Pass straightening in order to realize a savings on the order of $250K via reduction of mobilization and demobilization costs of equipment.
Marco South would begin dredging on November 1, 2012 and be completed by December 31 and then move to Wiggins Pass and complete the work by May 1, 2013. It is intended that navigation will be possible throughout the project.
At long last we stand at the threshold of success. Your Continued Support is Needed.
ECA, working in collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University, has completed a two-year study of oyster reef habitats in the Cocohatchee estuary. Research results are being used to plan for environmental restoration of oyster reefs at targeted sites.
Why restore oyster reefs? Oysters perform important environmental functions in estuaries: they are highly efficient at filtering water, and serve as a refuge (or home) for shrimp, crabs, and fish that live in the Cocohatchee ecosystem. Research has shown that oyster reefs in Southwest Florida have decreased significantly since the 1960s.
How will ECA and FGCU restore oyster reefs? With help from local community partners and sponsors, ECA hopes to build on FGCU researchers success in restoring reef habitat by engaging local volunteers to place bags of oyster shell material in specific areas where environmental conditions are optimal. Oyster larvae, or “spat” thrive when they attach to the shell reefs.
How can I help? ECA is seeking local community sponsors to help share costs of a demonstration project designed to increase awareness about the need to restore and sustain the environmental health the Cocohatchee estuary. In addition, ECA is recruiting local volunteers to help with the transport and placement of shell bags in the estuary.
On January 25th the Collier County Board of Commissioners approved the contract to dredge the outer Pass, as has been done with previous maintenance dredges. Work is expected to begin by mid-February and be completed by mid-March. Approximately 50,000 cubic yards of sand will be removed from the Pass and placed near Barefoot Beach to help restore that area. As with any dredging project, timing is dependent on weather conditions. (See more details in the Naples Daily News story by Eric Staats.)