Monday, October 18, 2021

Marco Beaches Need More Sand

Following rain, water puddling and pooling on Marco’s beach. Submitted Photos

Following rain, water puddling and pooling on Marco’s beach. Submitted Photos


Marco Island Central Beach Re-Grading Project
Collier County Coastal Zone Management Director, Gary McAlpin recently provided the Marco Island City Council an update on the upcoming regrading of the Marco Island Central Beach. Marco Island is blessed with beautiful wide beaches, but the width and flatness of the beach present its own unique set of problems. The flatness and width of the beach create ponding and algae formations where standing water puddles, and the surface is excessively hard after drying. These conditions greatly reduce the use of this beach for sea turtle nesting. Also, recreational use of this beach is greatly reduced due to the high concentration of algae growth.

Collier County and the Coastal Advisory Committee have been working to correct this drainage issue for over 10 years. In the past, they have “laser graded” the beach by filling in low spots with sand from higher points on the beach. This was done in the past 10 years with marginal results and it was a

Truckloads of sand donated by Marriott Beach Resort.

Truckloads of sand donated by Marriott Beach Resort.

very expensive process. The area of the beach that will be regraded will be from the area south of Sand Dollar Island to approximately 700 feet north of the Marriott Beach Resort Hotel. This area of beach is approximately 1,000 feet wide and has been accreting (process of gradual build-up) for the past 20 years. Accretion will continue as a result of the disintegration of the islands just north of Sand Dollar Beach Island and the sheltering effect of Sand Dollar Island to beaches in the south.

After the regrading in the north (R136.5), the beach will be reduced by 225 feet but remain 745 feet wide. In the south (approximately 700 feet north of the Marriott hotel at R140), the beach will be reduced by approximately 121 feet but remain 336 feet wide. To correct the drainage problem, it will take approximately 170,000 cubic yards of sand. Approximately 135,000 cubic yards of sand will come from the intertidal zone of Central Marco Beach; Hideaway



will donate about 30,000 cubic yards, which will offset the amount of sand that will be dredged from the intertidal zone. The Marriott Beach Resort will donate about 7,500 cubic yards of sand. Already, 3,500 cubic yards of sand has been delivered and unloaded in designated areas on the beach, and the balance of 4,000 cubic yards of sand will be delivered at a future date.

At the Admiralty (R137), the beach will be reduced by approximately 168 feet but remain 594 wide. However, it is expected that within three years, the beach will accrete back to the pre-grading levels but will benefit from the positive slope regrade. The design phase of this project is completed, including addressing federal concerns over its impact on shorebird nesting. The coastal permit application has been filed and is awaiting approval.

South Marco Island Beach Re-Grading Project
About 13,000 cubic yards was authorized by FEMA from Tropical Storm Fay. A new permit is being obtained for this project for sand to

View of Tigertail intertidal lagoon and beach.

View of Tigertail intertidal lagoon and beach.

be hauled in through a conveyor system from Collier Boulevard through Cape Marco. Sand will have to be placed on the beach to address erosion. They will try to get this done this year before the turtle nesting season, and if not, it will be done in 2017.

Dredging of Collier Creek
According to Gary McAlpin, all permits for the project are in place to allow dredging Collier Creek. The dredging is an interim solution to the sand accreting in the mouth of the creek to improve boater safety over the short term, while a long term solution is developed. They will dredge about 10-15,000 cubic yards of materials which will be taken out and deposited in an underwater borrow area for Big Marco River and Collier Creek. They expect this project to be done by turtle season, however, since it is being done from a barge, they do not expect that this project will interfere with the nesting season.

For more details on these projects, please contact Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management.

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