Stop Digging!

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The Town of Fort Myers Beach asks that those digging trenches to drain water standing in low spots on the beach stop digging!

In early November and again in mid-December, people were seen digging trenches in the Sandarac condo area, where water collects on low lying areas of the beach. In a January report to Town Council, Environmental Science Coordinator Chadd Chustz said, “Unknown persons trenched mid-island beach in front of the Sandarac (6660 Estero Blvd) in December, causing a public safety hazard. The trenching is in response to pooling of storm and tidal waters in the middle of the low lying, unvegetated beach. The result is a loss of sand, exacerbating the low lying condition of the beach. The trenching activity may becoming a habit. An incident occurred Fall 2018, and several attempts were made this year past.”

Chustz explained that not only does the activity lower the level of the beach further as sand is washed out of it when trenching occurs, but the resulting trench and rushing water is a health and safety issue, by creating a 20+ foot wide outfall of fast-moving water, endangering the elderly and bikers as well as swimmers in the area.

He’s sure it’s a man-made trench as witnesses have reported men digging trenches, and shovel marks are obvious. It’s not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Florida statutes provide for a fine of up to $5,000 per violation for irreparable or irreversible damage.

That area of the beach has been low for several years, enough so that in 2017 a study by Coastal Engineering Consultants, commissioned by GullWing Beach Resort concluded that renourishing the area in front of GullWing and neighboring properties would require 26,900 cubic yards of sand at a cost of approximately $1.94 million.

Anyone who witnesses trenching in progress is asked to send photos to chadd@fmbgov.com.