Water-Related News

Cost-saving dredging techniques sought by Lee County

Over the years, the dredging has cost taxpayers millions, but the county is working on alternatives to save you money.

Fishers at Blind Pass on Sanibel are like clockwork, but one said that lately, there's been something off. "Boaters can't get out, a guy tried getting out this morning and had to turn around, he couldn't get out. The water's just not deep enough," said George Head of Cape Coral.

Others say at the moment, you have to keep a watchful eye if you're boating through the area."When you go through these passes by boat, you gotta be aware of what's on the charter isn't necessarily what's actually there," said tourist Ron Rogers.

Lee County is contracting dredge work at Blind Pass with the goal of improving beach and water quality, which is now labeled "good" by city leaders. That cost to dredge is more than $2 million in tourist tax dollars.

A big reason they keep spending the money to do it is to tackle beach erosion on the northern part of Sanibel. "It's rough to spend money, no matter what it's for," Head said.

With the dredging, leaders with Sanibel and the county say they're exploring more cost-effective alternatives to manage flow of sand. One example of a possible solution would be having a jetty to redirect the movement of sand.

Dredging at Blind Pass is expected to be completed later in the Spring of 2017. This is the fourth time in 16 years Blind Pass will be dredged. Sanibel and the county will seek public feedback on alternative methods as late as April.