Blind Pass Seagrass Monitoring

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Project Details

Client: Lee County Division of Natural Resources

Date: 2008 – Ongoing

Blind Pass separates Sanibel Island from Captiva Island in Lee County, Florida. Over time, sand had accumulated in the tidal channel that connects Charlotte Harbor to the Gulf of Mexico and by 2008 had completely closed the pass.  Work to reopen the pass began in December 2008 and the initial dredging removed approximately 150,000 cubic yards of material from the pass and interior system.

One of the permit conditions requires the permittee (Lee County) to evaluate, on an annual basis for five years, whether there are any secondary impacts to seagrass within a 500-foot buffer of the channel footprint as a result of the maintenance dredging. Coastal Engineering Consultants, Inc. (CEC) has performed environmental and survey services for the County to comply with these requirements. The services have included mapping the extents of seagrass beds within the designated buffer zone, determining qualitative traits of the seagrass beds along a series of transects, and quantitative analyses of seagrass coverage. CEC’s combination of experienced environmental biologists and survey field crews allowed the monitoring surveys to be performed in a timely and efficient manner that minimized cost to the County.

As of May 2013, four seagrass monitoring reports have been submitted to the County in accordance with the FDEP monitoring requirements. The reports include comprehensive figures and tables that display both current seagrass conditions as well as detailed comparisons with the results of previous surveys.

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