Posted on October 18, 2021
Collier commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to spend nearly $5 million to renourish three county beach areas with work set to begin late this month.
The board voted to award Phillips and Jordan, a civil and infrastructure contractor, an agreement to haul sand to portions of Naples, Vanderbilt and Pelican Bay beaches.
“We are required by permit to do an annual beach monitoring — essentially a survey of beaches up and down Collier’s beaches,” Andy Miller, coastal zone manager for the county, said. “We rely on our consultant who does surveys to make recommendations for which beaches have eroded, which beaches need the sand.”
Workers will haul about 268,500 tons of sand — or the equivalent weight of about 60,000 full-size pick-up trucks — from Stewart Material’s Immokalee Sand Mine to the Third Avenue North and Vanderbilt Beach Road beach access points.
Sand will be hauled to Naples Beach from just south of Lowdermilk Park to just north of Naples Pier, to Vanderbilt Beach from south of Delnor-Wiggins State Park to approximately one-half mile south of Vanderbilt Beach Road, and also Pelican Bay Beach.
The Naples and Vanderbilt beach areas are publicly accessible while the Pelican Bay beach area is private. As such, funding for the private area will come from the Pelican Bay Services Division.
Commissioner Penny Taylor said Naples Council discussed in one of its meetings why the area around Naples Pier would not be renourished under this project.
“We have to weigh the impacts of a few hundred trucks a day versus the benefits of a little bit of sand, say to the south of the pier,” Miller responded. “We made the decision to eliminate that third mobilization and the impacts of the trucks south of the pier and just concentrate on the north of Naples Beach.”
The projects are expected to wrap up on Jan. 15.
Funding for the project comes out of the county’s Tourist Development Tax Fund, but the county will request partial reimbursement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
County documents say the project is expected to renourish the beach areas for three years “assuming no exceptional storms, hurricanes, or unexpected weather conditions.”
The county purchased the sand at a cost of $11 per ton, a price Commissioner Bill McDaniel called fair. He said the alternative to trucking would be using hopper dredges to bring sand from offshore, an expensive endeavor.
“(Dredging) is considerably more than truck haul and there is a disruption of quality of life because of the dump truck traffic, but it has to do with the necessity of renourishing our beaches,” he said. “Trucking in upland sands is the only way to accomplish the renourishment that is necessary.”
In April, the county’s Coastal Advisory Committee unanimously voted to approve the project. The Tourist Development Council unanimously approved the project soon after.
The FDEP listed most of Collier’s beaches as critically eroded in a July report.
The report defines a critically eroded beach as “a segment of the shoreline where natural processes or human activity have caused or contributed to erosion and recession of the beach or dune system to such a degree that upland development, recreational interests, wildlife habitat or important cultural resources are threatened or lost,” the report says.
The report lists nine of 12 county beach areas as critically eroded, totaling 15.5 miles of beach.
Last year, commissioners approved a $2 million beach renourishment project that saw 47,500 cubic yards of sand hauled and placed from Doctors Pass to just north of Lowdermilk Park, the Naples Daily News reported in October last year.