MARCO ISLAND — Four years after Tropical Storm Fay, failing to capture Federal Emergency Management Agency funds could deal another blow to Marco Island’s south beach. Tropical Storm Fay came ashore with winds of 65 mph at Cape Romano in August 2008.
The storm eroded 77,000 cubic yards of sand from south beach, designating it a critically eroded shoreline from marker R-147 near the Somerset Condominium southward. FEMA agreed to share the cost of renourishing the beach but action must be taken by June 30, 2013.
Nancy Richie, city environmental specialist, told Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee Wednesday that 104,000 cubic yards of sand would be needed to recover south beach. Sand replacement, estimated at $1.8 million, includes Tropical Storm Fay losses and models by Coastal Planning and Engineering predicting 27 cubic yards of erosion for years 2011-2013. Eroded sand moves southward into Caxambas Pass, Richie said.
In addition, three jetties and a breakwater would need to be repaired to keep wave action from scouring away new sand. Hard structure repairs would cost an additional $1.2 million, placing the total cost at $3 million.
Richie told the committee she accompanied Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala and Marco Island City Attorney Burt Saunders Tuesday for an on-site visit to see south beach’s erosion. Collier County offers access to south beach through its entrance and parking lot and identifies the beach as a county facility, Richie said.
The beach’s renourishment received approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, City of Marco Island, Collier County Coastal Advisory Committee and Tourist Development Council. County commissioners are expected to take up the issue in the next ten days, Richie said.
Funds for the south beach project would come from TDC money and not from taxpayers. Work would need to begin in the fall after turtle nesting season.
In other business, the committee received notification that Tigertail Beach’s boardwalk construction is on hold due to materials shortages. Collier County Project Manager Clint Perryman informed Richie Tuesday that excessive rain in Brazil is impacting harvesting and shipping of hardwoods needed to rebuild five boardwalks and add a sixth.
When material are received the boardwalks could be completed in 60 days, Perryman said. Work on the project began in November 2011.
Thirteen community members have signed up to receive training as Marco Island volunteer beach stewards. The one-hour training is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22. City Manager Jim Riviere approved the beach stewardship program in March.
Graduates of the program will offer information, education and outreach to beach-goers on subjects such as red tide, shelling, bird migration, turtle nesting and beach etiquette. After training, volunteers will sign up to be available on the beach at least several hours a week. Those interested in training can sign up through the City of Marco Island’s website.
Three turtle nests have been identified since May 1 on Marco Island’s beaches: one each on Hideaway Beach, south beach and Sand Dollar Island. In other areas of the county, 14 nests have been identified, Richie said.
The next Beach Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, in City Hall’s 1st floor conference room. The next beach cleanup is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, at the south beach boardwalk.