BY LIZA STROUT - The end date for the project to renourish the beaches of Gasparilla Island has been pushed back from March 15, 2014, to June 20, 2014. This is thanks to an extension to a permit end date.
“The additional time should create a more favorable bidding environment, resulting in lower costs,” according to Lee County Marine Services Operations Manager Steve Boutelle.
The original due date for all bids to be turned in was Aug. 16, but that, too, has been extended, to Wednesday, Sept. 4.
The Gasparilla Island portion of the renourishment project will be staged from the northernmost area of Rangelight Park. During the project, a few of the parking spaces at Rangelight Park will be blocked, and equipment will be travelling to the beach from that area.
The renourishment will be a round-the-clock, seven-day-a-week operation.
So far, the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Conservancy, which has been contracted to transfer the eggs of endangered sea turtles from the work area, has only had to move one nest from the area that will be renourished.
“We’re still getting new nests, but so far all but one have been north of the area where they will be working,” said Grace Harvey, the state permit holder for Gasparilla Island and president of the conservancy.
The conservancy is always looking for new volunteers. They have a new website: bocagrandeseaturtles.org. They are also on Facebook.
The renourishment is expected to leave the beaches between 17th Street and the south end of the island with anywhere from 75 to 230 feet of sand.
The last time the island’s beaches were renourished was in 2007.
That project stopped before the Lighthouse Park, which was also critically eroded. Storms in the last few years have redeposited enough sand from the Gulf beaches onto the southern end of Gasparilla Island that both of the rock groins placed by FP&L to retain sand are buried.
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