The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has designated much of Estero Island as critically eroding beach. The Town is in the planning and permitting stages of a renourishment project to address the erosion, which is about 5.8 miles of shoreline.
This designation means that the erosion is threatening development, infrastructure, wildlife habitats and recreational interests. Shoreline that is technically not eroding, but is between two segments that are, can also be designated as critically eroding.
The Town is partnering with FDEP and the Lee County Tourist Development Council (TDC) for project funding. Field work on this project is anticipated to start in late summer of 2023. Sand placement is expected to take eight months. Long-term maintenance and nourishment will also be provided.
Recently, some property owners on the south end of Estero Island requested changes to this project. Specifically, some do not want the project to include their section of the beach as critically eroding. They do not want the protective dunes that would be created. Others want their section of the beach to be declared as critically eroding because a pond has developed that they want removed.
To address the homeowner’s wishes, the Town requested that FDEP review these areas and provide guidance. FDEP has done so and decided not to change its original designations of Estero Island’s critically eroding areas.
The Town’s original request to FDEP included the shoreline area between 6230 and 7150 Estero Boulevard to be designated as critically eroded. Recently, FDEP denied this request. As a result, the ponding segment along this shoreline will not be eligible for state or TDC funding. (Funding from the state and the TDC is expected to cover about 85 percent of the eligible cost of the renourishment project.)
The balance of the renourishment project’s scope remains unchanged after FDEP’s recent review.