COLLIER COUNTY

Hurricane Ian caused extreme waves and storm surge that washed away beaches and dunes. This meant a great loss of sand, making beach structures vulnerable.

Beaches are one of the most important things in Collier County, so preserving them is a top priority. On Tuesday, Collier County commissioners are set to vote on how they will address the issue.

Monday morning was not a perfect beach day. It was overcast and raining, but the Bowen family didn’t mind.

“This day is good for us because we are alone here. We love it so much,” Denise Bowen said.

The Bowens’ favorite thing about beaches is sand, but sand remains one of the biggest problems on Collier County beaches.

Collier County Shoreline. (By: WINK News)

It is not enough after the extreme waves and storm surge of the hurricane.

“During a hurricane, we can have waves that are typically more than 5 to 10 meters high, and those waves have a lot of energy, so they move a lot of sand up the coast,” said Chris Daly, assistant professor of aquatics at FGCU.

“We had representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and FEMA on our beaches, all of whom expressed concern about the large loss of dunes and the vulnerability of our upland structures to coastal storm surge flooding,” Trinity Scott said. , head of the transport services department.

That’s why the Collier County Coastal Authority wants to spend $24 million to build an emergency berm, essentially rebuilding the dunes with 400,000 cubic yards of sand out of the country.

“If we wait for natural processes, it’s going to take a long time, so we can help by, you know, artificially putting sand in the dunes,” Daly said.

There is still work to be done after restoring these dunes. These 400,000 cubic yards of sand are only half of the amount needed to fully improve the beach.

Collier County doesn’t have time to do this before the FEMA deadline or next hurricane season, but plan to tackle this larger project eventually.

County commissioners still have to approve the project before anything can happen. It is planned to vote on it on Tuesday.

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