John Domenie, Naples
On Clam Pass
A lot has been spoken and written about the width of the proposed Clam Pass dredge. I have been boating since the '60s, and frankly whether the pass is 40 feet, 60 feet or 80 feet wide should be of little consequence to a qualified "captain."
If as "captain" you cannot maintain your vessel in a 40-foot channel (no matter your beam) you should not own a recreational boat and should not be "captaining" a vessel.
The argument about 40-, 60- or 80-foot width does not refer to boating, but strictly to the health of the mangroves and the creatures in the mangrove habitat.
It is not difficult to understand that if you have a certain volume of water which must enter and exit the pass within a specific time period (ebb and flood) the water will flow at a slower speed through an 80-foot pass than through a 40-foot pass. And therein lies the problem and solution.
The faster the water flows through the pass the greater the "scowering" which is needed to maintain the depth of the pass. If the water flows at a slower rate, it cannot carry sand out of the pass, but instead deposits it, thus eventually again blocking the pass.
And, I would like to add that it was the PBSD which took the initiative resulting in the 1998 permit allowing the necessary dredging for the health of the mangroves and its habitat.
This permit was effective and saved the county-owned NRPA from further destruction. The pass remained open during the original 10 years of the permit. A renewal application was blocked by the county resulting in the closing of the pass.