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.......