Erosion on Sanibel beaches posing dangers to visitors
Several feet of sand is eroding away on Sanibel Island beaches, putting homes, businesses and people’s health at risk.
“We used to have vegetation that went out an additional 75 feet, and then beyond that 75 feet was another 75 feet of beach before you hit the water,” said Jerrold Stern, owner of the Blue Dolphin.
Blocking off one of the only paths to the beach from the Blue Dolphin cottages was a tough decision for Stern.
“I now have it blocked off, because I’m afraid they will fall and get hurt. The average guest is not a youngster and it’s dangerous,” Stern said.
The drop-off is around three feet.
It’s a danger that has prohibited his three grandchildren, who are visiting from California, from enjoying their favorite beach.
“We haven’t been able to spend as much time at the beach this year. We are worried about them falling off and there’s just really not a place for them to play as well,” said visitor John Cronin.
And while the beach erosion is nothing new to Sanibel, Stern says he’s never seen it this bad.
“At one point (it was) a six foot drop. It goes up and down with the tide,” Stern said.
Stern says he’s notified the city, and they have been responsive to his concerns.
“They are doing permitting, etc. But there is still a permitting process and decision to be made,” Stern said.
It’s a decision Stern is afraid will take too much time.
“A couple more winter storms…I could be in trouble,” he said.
The city of Sanibel announced earlier this week it was working with a coastal engineering firm to design and permit a project to dump more sand on beaches.