Water-Related News

Erosion could affect tourism on Fort Myers Beach

FORT MYERS BEACH – Busy season in Southwest Florida starts in a little more than a month, and that means winter residents will be flocking to the region’s beaches.

After Hurricane Irma and a king tide over the weekend some are questioning if the beaches are ready for the influx of visitors.

Business owners and vacationers agree, it's time to get the shores ready for a pleasant stay.

Luke Manning owns “Luke’s Beach Club Chair Service,” which has affected by Irma's waters and eroding sand.

“This is one of the highest erosion's I've seen,” Manning said. “We've lost probably 90 percent of our beach."

Manning has been in the region for nearly 10 years, while others, like David Heath, have just returned from up north for another winter.

“I expected to see a lot of beach erosion. I expected to see more damage. I think Fort Myers Beach dodged a bullet and they're better for it,” Heath said. “There's still plenty messed up...it’s far less than what I expected to see."

More folks like Heath will soon be making their way to Southwest Florida.

“This is how Fort Myers Beach gets its income, from all the visitors that come to visit our beautiful state and see our beautiful beaches So if the beach is eroded it's going to discourage people from coming, so we need to keep it as pretty as possible,” Debbie Webster of Cape Coral said.

Environmentalists on Fort Myers Beach said the town is currently conducting surveys to see how much sand was moved. Then they will begin examining possible replacement work.

The island of Captiva will begin its own erosion survey at the end of the week.