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Expect relief in key spots along south Lee County beaches and inlets. Dredging bids for work in the Big Carlos Pass and the New Pass areas were let in September; work to open inlets choked with sand should finish by year’s end, officials with the West Coast Inland Navigational District, or WCIND, report. Drifting sand in channels and the passes make them shallower, or pinched, affecting navigation, water flow and marine life, says Justin McBride, the WCIND’s executive director. Property owners had also complained pinched inlets lower values. Dredging and broad widening will relieve the channels for up to three years. “Sand just moves around,” McBride says.
The West Coast Inland Navigational District was established in 1947 to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A small property assessment in Lee and three surrounding counties funds the agency.
Most Gulf Coast communities face similar issues. The Captiva Erosion Prevention District regulates such inlets as Blind Pass and surrounding beaches, for instance. Captiva property owners in 2014 were invoiced $5.7 million of a $20 million project to replace beach sand lost to erosion. Cost for the WCIND project is about $2.5 million.
BIG CARLOS PASS ON FORT MYERS BEACH SUE MONK KIDD