The Town Is Bringing Sand to the Beach!
Our goals are to restore and maintain critically eroding shorelines using high quality sand to construct an “engineered beach design.” This will provide storm damage reduction benefits to properties, enhance recreational space, and improve critical habitat for threatened and endangered shorebirds, tortoises, and sea turtles.
BEACH PROJECT TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS
Emergency Berm Plans
Estero Island Nourishment Plans
Dune Management Plan & Exhibit
The beach recovery plan over the next year is to place approximately 1.1 million cubic yards of sand on Fort Myers Beach. First, the Town plans to construct an emergency berm in the easement area to provide protection from storm surge in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) & Florida Division of Environmental Protection (FDEP) guidelines. The goal is to provide a berm along the length of the beach to maximize protection and minimize future scour on upland properties from storms. The emergency berm project will begin as soon as FEMA funding is confirmed and a contractor bid is approved to begin construction. The berm project will likely involve trucks hauling mined, beach compatible sand, and will take approximately 90 to 120 days to complete. The Town has also requested funding from FDEP for emergency work.
In addition, the Estero Island Nourishment Project is scheduled to begin construction during the third to fourth quarter of this year. This project is a continuation of the Town’s long term goal to maintain our critically eroding shoreline. Sand will be pumped from offshore onto the beach via pipes. The design beach will take approximately six months to construct. State and Federal permitting requires monitoring and tilling for several years after the sand is placed. In addition, the Town has obtained authorization for maintenance grading in the project area to maintain a positive grade for better drainage to reduce pooling on the beach for the life of the State permit, which is 15 years.
Town requests easements to be signed by beachfront property owners for sand replacement
Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island is a seven-mile stretch of white sand on the Gulf of Mexico that took a direct hit during Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022, along with the rest of the Town. While the beaches are still wide, the storm created many scours, and approximately two and half feet of elevation was lost. During the storm, sand was displaced from the Beach and washed back into the Gulf or over the island entirely and into Estero Bay. Recoverable sand has been sifted (cleared of debris) so that it is safe to return to the beach. This sand will be used to partially repair the many scours and gouges that the storm created and to restore the beach back to a more natural and protective state. These are the three programs that will accomplish this:
- Construction of an emergency berm to protect from smaller storms and surges;
- Renourishment of the beach to return it to its pre storm elevation;
- Replacement of sand by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on private properties applying for additional sand.
To accomplish the emergency berm and renourishment of the Beach, the Town needs beachfront property owners to sign a temporary construction easement to place sand on the beach areas that are private property. Signing this easement only gives the Town permission to place sand on the owner’s private property. It does not give the Town rights to private property. The easement document along with construction plans and other information can be found at www.fmbgov.com/beach.
The first step in this process will be to build an emergency berm. Typically, walking up the beach to a property is already four to five feet above sea level. The berm will only add one to two feet depending on the lost elevation. See the cross section in the construction plans for the R monument near your property for details.
The State of Florida’s permit lasts for 15 years and authorizes the Town to oversee beach management activities. These activities include reducing dune heights and maintaining a positive slope to allow the beach to drain and prevent pooling in the middle of the beach. The engineered design elevation of six and a half feet is above sea level, not ground level at a person’s home. This is described as six and a half feet above sea level (0.3 NAVD88). The berm will be placed near a structure or seawall but can be configured in accordance with the Town’s Dune Management Plan to accommodate the property owner’s preferences. The Estero Island Nourishment Project that was in process before Hurricane Ian is also still moving forward, scheduled to start in the Fall of 2023. This project will add approximately one million cubic yards of sand to the beach creating recreational space and protecting against storm surge impacts. This will be adding 200 feet of beach in some areas that lost beach. In areas where the beach is wide, the project will add elevation. Town staff are working hard to rebuild the Town and the beach and are here to cooperate with beachfront property owners in the management of the Town’s most precious natural resource.
Questions and concerns can be directed to Chadd Chustz, Environmental Projects Manager, at email@example.com.
ATTENTION BEACHFRONT PROPERTY OWNERS
Please support the implementation of the Town’s Nourishment Projects by executing the Temporary Beach Management and Access Easement for your property. The person or entity who holds title to the property must sign the easement in the presence of a Notary Public and two subscribing witnesses who do not have an interest in the property. If two individuals hold title to the property, then both must sign the easement, with each of the signatures similarly witnessed.
If the property owner on the recorded deed is:
- Singular or Plural Owner(s) (e.g., “as husband and wife”) - Who Signs? The singular or plural owner(s)
- As shown on the recorded deed
- Corporation or LLC - A duly authorized corporate representative
- As shown in a Corporate Resolution
- Partnership - The designated managing partner
- As shown in Partnership Documents
- Trust - The Trustee
- As shown in the Trust Document
- Condo Association (see Corporation or LLC above) - The Condo Association Chair or President on behalf of the Association for the Common Element
- The Town does NOT need easements from Individual Condo Owners
Florida Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has published the application for the Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program. Eligible Fort Myers Beach residents include single family homes, residential condominiums, and cooperatives seeking reimbursement to remedy coastal beach erosion and eligible construction costs for sand placement, temporary coastal armoring, or permanent coastal armoring construction projects.
It is important that residents read the application instructions and Emergency Rule 62ER23-2, F.A.C. for definitions and eligibility requirements. Please visit www.floridadep.gov/hurricane for information, instructions, and the application form. The FDEP will make the application portal live on February 1, 2023. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
All fill waterward of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) requires a separate authorization from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Town (TOWN BEACH FILL APPLICATION HERE). All fill waterward of the CCCL shall be beach compatible sand unless otherwise authorized by FDEP. Beach Fill Applications should be submitted via the Building Services Page.
The following upland sand source products were reviewed by FDEP and authorized for use on Fort Myers Beach: non-shelly sand product from Stewart Mining Industries’ Immokalee Mine, Vulcan Materials Company’s Witherspoon Mine, E.R. Jahna Industries’ Ortona Mine, and CEMEX Lake Wales Mine. Any additional upland sand sources will require review and authorization through the FDEP permit modification process.
Update on beach berm project from Council meeting on November 6, 2023
The Town’s emergency berm project moved several steps forward at the November 6 meeting with action by Town Council and notice of additional funding to be received that covers the entire cost of the project.
The Town received word from FEMA that the completion of the beach emergency berm will receive an additional approximately $1.3 million. This project began last spring and was halted for a few months due to shorebird nesting season on the south end of the Island. It started back up again in September.
“In September, we requested a change in scope for this project from FEMA due to the need for additional sand, which included a request for additional funding,” said Environmental Project Manager Chadd Chustz.
At the Town Council Meeting on Monday, November 6, the expansion of the scope of the project was approved and Chustz announced the approval of the additional funding.
To listen to this discussion, watch the recording of the November 6 Town Council meeting on the Town’s YouTube channel starting at 54 minutes and 45 seconds.
To read more about this project’s current status, visit the November 6 meeting agenda packet, starting on page 253.