"CEPD discusses importance of beach renourishment, community involvement"
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District met last Wednesday for their regular meeting where beach renourishment and community education regarding beach erosion were thoroughly discussed.
CEPD administrator Kathy Rooker offered a report on her trip to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference, saying that it was a wonderful learning experience and reinforced just how important beach renourishment is to coastal communities.
"One thing I did take away from the engineering meetings is that there is no one right way to do a project. You need to go back and examine projects that have been done around the country and find out what really works.
"We really need to study successful projects to know what works. We've been talking a lot about sand sources because sand sources are becoming very limited. One of the things that was stressed to us, and one of the most important things to a project, is how good your sand is. If your sand is not going to be good, your project won't be good. Don't forget that in your equation," Rooker said.
Rooker said she was able to look at pictures of the devastation caused by hurricanes along the Gulf coast of Florida and Louisiana.
"All of the speakers told us that the difference in the structures that were saved was the amount of sandy beach in front of it. Wide, sandy beaches protect, and that was stressed to us," Rooker said.
"That reminded me that we don't just do beach renourishments for recreational value, we are saving people's homes and businesses," Rooker said.
The topic of beach renourishment led into board members discussing the organization's community relations mission and their hopes of informing the Captiva population about the importance of beach nourishment.
"Overall, what we're trying to accomplish, is to recognize that the community in Captiva has changed dramatically in the last number of years," CEPD chairman Mike Mullins said, noting many people are property owners but are here infrequently or simply rent their properties and don't really understand the history of beach erosion and beach nourishment.
"We recognized at one point in time that to be successful in having community understanding and support, because they're ultimately the people that are paying for this, that we need to have a community relations plan that allows us to promulgate to the community, the historical information that most people miss," Mullins said.
"People don't really get that this group is fending for itself in a big way, but most importantly, however it gets done, if we don't maintain that beach we can't count on the County or the Feds or the State or anybody else to do it for us, and without the beach, the property values, the habitats, the recreational capabilities and so on and so forth are gone. So we feel, that we recognized the need going forward that we have to try to get this information out," Mullins said.
"We have a real problem, because when something works people don't really pay attention to it. When it breaks, people pay attention. We can't afford to let it break again like it was in the 1970s and 1980s," Mullins said.
Bob Gray of Partners in Progress presented a community relations update to the CEPD, informing the board members that he has found at least two potential candidates for researching and assembling educational, community presentations for the organization.
The CEPD will meet again at 'Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at noon.
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District is located at 11513 Andy Rosse Lane, Unit 4. For more information, call 472-2472, or visit www.MyCEPD.com
By JANE BRICKLEY, firstname.lastname@example.org