Beach erosion is a frequent concern, and Collier County has combated it in Naples for years. The newest way uses sand, brought in by the truckload from Immokalee’s quarries. The process raises questions about safety, but the disappearance of Naples’ beaches is unthinkable.
Collier is working to ship thousands of tons of sand to eroding beaches, with the help of Lee County and the village of Estero, according to the Naples Daily News. The sand deposits will keep the beaches and the tourism industry they power strong, and the extra safety measures Collier is now taking to get it there definitely make it worthwhile.
Anti-Erosion Measures Are Important
Coastal erosion means beaches wear away over time. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration blames things like storms, flooding, rising sea levels, and human activity for the situation. Naples’ beaches face all of these dangers given its location and tourism industry.
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The NOAA promotes several methods to stop erosion, like offshore dredging or onshore dumping, plus protections like dune stabilization and habitat restoration.
Collier is targeting several Naples beaches for sand dumping. The Daily News said the county plans to move 135,000 tons of sand to tidy up around town.
Stopping erosion is critical for saving land and property, according to the NOAA. Much of Naples appeal lies on the beach, and both residents and tourism could suffer if Collier doesn’t periodically restore the sand.
What Collier is Doing
Collier used to dredge offshore, but transporting the sand is cheaper, even if the process is more involved, and possibly more dangerous.
But the county isn’t taking any chances. They’ll be taking a back road between Immokalee and Estero to I-75. The trip will be longer, but won’t go through residential areas. The route also avoids much of Alligator Alley and the state forests and preserves to the south.
The sand is destined for Vanderbilt Beach, Pelican Bay, Park Shore, Sugden Regional Park and South Marco Island Beach.
NBC 2’s coverage heard from residents. One mentioned Horizon Way Beach is closed as an access point for the trucks, who loudly announce their arrival early every morning. Another worried the beaches are receding closer to buildings, but was relieved Collier was improving the situation.
The county is pulling out all stops to guarantee the sand makes it to the beach, while trying to keep residents safe.
But Danger Persists
The county’s future depends on the inland sand. Collier is taking many steps to keep Naples strong, and no accidents have been reported yet, but even the best plans don’t account for everything. The area near several of the beaches is residential, and the streets likely aren’t meant for frequent dump truck travel which could lead to accidents.