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Thursday, February 10 2011
Last night I attended a talk sponsored by the Bayous Preservation Association on the current status of Blind Pass.  The guest speaker was from the Lee County Department of Natural Resources, Engineer - Robert Neal. As background - Blind Pass, which had been closed for 5+ years was re-opened  and improved the water flow between the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound and also improved the flushing of Dinkins and Clam Bayous so much so that the birds and fish have returned in abundance.. 

The good news from last night is that they are monitoring the situation.  The bad news is that it seems as though, until the Pass is actually closed, they will not take any action to re-dredge.  April is the decision month and that seems very far away when on a daily basis the opening appears smaller and more shallow.  At question seems to be the definition of "open".  Mr. Neal kept repeating the idea that the pass needed to be "open" and that didn't mean for navigational purposes but for water flow.  He presented several charts with water flow rates, both projected and actual and it appeared, from my naive perspective, that the estimates were way off.  This raised the question from the audience about who had made the projections and perhaps they needed different folks to do it because the ones who did weren't very good at their job.  Perhaps true.

My other side tells me that people have been messing around with Mother Nature for a long time and the past history shows that she will do what she wants, when she wants and how she wants regardless of what the humans want.  I came away last night feeling that the government agencies were trying to do the best job they could however it wasn't with any type of pro-active intent.  They continue to react and as a result, should Blind Pass close, it won't be until September or October of this year that we will get the dredge back to re-open it.  Additionally, the permit only allows them to re-dredge the approved area from before, even though it is evident at this time that a different channel is what Mother wants.

Only time will tell how this story ends.......
Posted by: Sarah Ashton AT 06:54 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 23 2009
Lee County Department of Transportation has decided to drop their plans to change the county toll structure, including the Sanibel Island Causeway toll.  After two public meetings, one on Sanibel and one in Cape Coral, and meeting with the Sanibel City Council this past Tuesday, they have decided not pursue their proposed changes.

The changes would have increased the toll expense for Sanibel Island residents and business owners considerably.  We are grateful that the Toll increase is off the table - at least for now.
Posted by: Sarah Ashton AT 04:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 15 2009
Please excuse the long Blog message however this is important and timely!  The economic impact of not ensuring clean water here is huge!  Read on and see what you can do.  Thanks,  Sarah


Newsletter - Bayous Preservation Association - June 14, 2009
 
WE NEED YOUR HELP BEFORE WEDNESDAY!
 
The BPA, working with the SCCF, is doing water quality monitoring at the four sites on Sanibel and Captiva where we have been testing for two years prior to the opening of Blind Pass. We will continue and are funded for water quality testing in the same four sites for a full year following the opening of the pass.
 
HOWEVER--the Lee County Tourist Development Council's Beach and Shoreline Fund, which has previously funded similar water quality monitoring on Captiva, at the Sanibel Caloosahatchee Water Quality Observatory and Sanibel Water Quality Monitoring--San Carlos Bay, has asked the Lee County Commission to pick up the tab this year.
 
In view of of the many increasing threats to the quality of our surrounding waters--due to factors such as runoff, fertilizers, algae, and bacterial pollutants--the support of all concerned BPA members is needed to encourage the Lee County Board of County Commissioners to fully fund in FY 2009-2010 these three important water quality projects.
 
The issue  of funding will be discussed at a budget workshop on Wednesday, June 17 (no public input planned), and the commissioners need to hear from us.
 
WE'VE ALREADY PAID THE TAXES FOR THIS, SO ENCOURAGE THE COMMISSIONERS TO SPEND IT FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR WATERS.
 
If you support the continuation of water quality monitoring on the islands, PLEASE SEND AN E-MAIL to the commissioners before Wednesday morning. Their e-mail addresses are listed below, as are some bullet points you can use to craft your individual message in support of this effort. Your email can be simple and to the point.
 
We in the BPA are lucky that, thanks to generous grants, donations, and memberships, we are able to continue our water quality monitoring program. Let's help these other areas, which are as critical to the water quality of the Blind Pass ecosystem as the opening of the pass, to get the funding they need.
 
We thank you in advance!
 
The Crew at BPA
 
SEND your emails to TO:
 
Commissioner Bob Janes, District 1 -- dist1@leegov.com
Commissioner Brian Bigelow, District 2 -- dist2@leegov.com
Commissioner Ray Judah, District 3 -- dist3@leegov.com
Commissioner Tammy Hall, District 4 -- dist4@leegov.com
Commissioner Frank Mann, District 5 -- dist5@leegov.com
 
MESSAGE POINTS:
 
I urge you to support full county funding in FY 2009-2010 for three important water quality projects previously funded by the Tourist Development Council:
1.       Captiva Water Quality Monitoring, Year 2 at $99,294.
2.       Sanibel Caloosahatchee Water Quality Observatory at $67,689.
3.       Sanibel Water Quality Monitoring -- San Carlos Bay at $30,000.
 
  • Water quality is an essential issue for Lee County, for both environmental and economic reasons. Healthy water is the basis for a healthy environment, a crucial building block to maintain ecological balance in the face of competing pressures and pollution sources.
  • The value of healthy water and beaches for the county's economy cannot be overstated: to bring visitors here to enjoy our coastlines and waterways, to keep residents drawn here by the many water-based resources available to them and to support the industries that rely on healthy water.
  • In a county that promotes its miles of white sandy beaches, its kayak trails, its abundant water-based recreational options and its commitment to preserve a fragile environment that has drawn people to this area for decades, protecting water quality is paramount.
  • In a county that brings in millions of dollars thanks to its environmental assets, spending thousands of dollars to ensure its waters stay healthy and its beaches stay open is a prudent investment for the future.
  • Water quality requires a more stable funding source to ensure this vital effort is adequately supported in years to come.
  • We understand financial times are tough and dollars are tight, but this is simply too important and timely an issue to wait until it's convenient. By then, it could be too late.
 
Be sure to include your name and Lee County address in your email.


--
Posted by: Sarah Ashton AT 11:35 am   |  Permalink   |  Email


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Sarah Ashton Sarah S. Ashton, Broker Associate, Realtor®
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