Sanibel Closely Watches Cold Front, Wind, Blind Pass Beach Erosion & Threat To Sanibel-Captiva Road.
Sanibel is closely watching the impact of this week’s cold front and heavy winds on the Blind Pass Beach. There has been significant erosion of the beach and the escarpment is now less than 30 feet from Sanibel-Captiva Road.
The Sanibel City Council has approved emergency funds to reinforce the beach as soon as it is warranted and can be done safely. The Department Of Public Works is monitoring the beach on a daily and almost hourly basis during the cold front and heavy winds.
Background and History
“The area south of Blind Pass along northern Sanibel was identified as a critical erosion area in the late 1990’s and periodically exhibits high rates of erosion. Erosion in this area is often greatest during the winter when cold fronts generate strong north, northwest, or west winds. It is not uncommon to experience high rates of erosion along this stretch of beach following strong cold fronts. As a result, City staff regularly monitors beach conditions along this area from Blind Pass to Clam Bayou.
Along this stretch of beach there are several rental beach cottages, the Mad Hatter Restaurant, and several single family homes that are subject to impacts from erosion. Sanibel-Captiva Road, the only evacuation route from Captiva Island, is located in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity of survey monuments R-111 and R-112, where high rates of erosion can occur.
On February 2, 2015, Natural Resources staff conducted a beach inspection at Blind Pass Beach in response to a citizen complaint concerning beach erosion across from Pine Avenue. During the inspection, staff noted significant erosion that had occurred as a result of recent cold fronts. The erosion was focused in the area just south of the SCCF beach access located across from Pine Avenue between monuments R-111 and R112. During the inspection a 4 to 5-foot tall escarpment was present midway between R-111 and R-112. Several buttonwood and seagrape trees and a very tall coconut palm were located within 2 to 3 feet of the existing escarpment.” Source: Sanibel City Council.