By Pam Nicholls GSAC Board Member
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Collier County’s FEMA-funded project to restore the beach and dunes lost to Hurricane Ian is forecast to be completed a couple of months later than originally projected.

The first phase, the County’s emergency beach berm re-nourishment program, which saw 300,000 cubic yards of sand added to Naples area beaches (from Barefoot to Marco Island) concluded last summer.  However, Phase 2, revegetating the constructed dunes, is mired in the County’s “internal review” system and has yet to be put out to bid.

Nevertheless, Project Manager Larry Humphries, who updated GSAC members at their February meeting, remains optimistic. “I’m hopeful that we can get something into the ground by August/September.”

That’s two months later than the projected May/June timeframe.

“It has always been an aggressive and hopeful time schedule,” Humphries admitted.

“But like all good things, we are bound by processes and procedures. Most of the growers and installers I have talked to have been growing plants to build inventory to have on hand. We really won’t know what they will have or if they will need more growing time until the bids come back.”

The project will see native plants (there is a technical requirement for all seeds and plants to be sourced from SW Florida, as well as minimum heights, ages, etc.) installed in two zones stretching approximately 50ft seaward from any existing dune vegetation. Humphries says the distances might vary depending on conditions.

“It depends on if someone has already planted and we just need to fill in or it is completely bare, and we need to plant it all.”