Water-Related News

Amendment approved to include Bonita Beach nourishment efforts

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted to approve an amendment to an agreement with the City of Bonita Springs to expand the scope of Bonita Beach nourishment efforts south to the County line.

The expanded scope is necessary due to damage caused by Hurricane Ian in September 2022.

The State of Florida has designated the northern 0.9 miles of Bonita Beach as a critically eroded shoreline. Since its incorporation, Lee County has worked to manage the erosion since 1995, including cooperating with the City of Bonita Springs.

Hurricane Ian damaged Bonita Beach, including the historically stable shorelines south of the designed nourishment project. The City of Bonita Springs requested and was granted over $4 million in State funding for a one-time repair of beaches from the nourishment project limits south to the county line to cover all the costs associated with this extension.

The work will restore storm protection, environmental benefits such as sea turtle nesting, and recreational opportunities along the South Bonita Beach area, including county parks and beach accesses.

Combining the South Bonita Beach Segment with the existing, planned nourishment project provides financial, logistical, and environmental benefits.

In a related vote Tuesday, the Lee Board of County Commissioners approved a negotiated, noncompetitive lease with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Department of the Interior to use outer-continental shelf sand resources for beach nourishment. The lease qualifies for a fee waiver and provides up to 3 million cubic yards of beach-quality sand to nourish critically eroded shorelines and repair Hurricane Ian’s damages on Lovers Key, Bonita Beach and South Bonita Beach.