Captiva Island Beach Nourishment Program
Over 50 Years of Success

The residents and businesses on Captiva Island have successfully managed their beaches for over 50 years, improving their beach nourishment program with each renourishment event. The success of the program is evident by the lack of any significant structural damage due to tidal and wave forces during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, including a hit by Hurricane Charley. The program manager, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD) has developed a comprehensive plan to protect the island’s shoreline. The program includes support from Federal, State, County and local agencies, in a project team forged by the CEPD leadership over many long years.

1961 Project

The first Captiva Island Project was built in 1961 and consisted of placing 107,000 cubic yards of sand in conjunction with construction of 134 groins. Most of the groins that were constructed have either since been removed, buried or destroyed.

1981 Project

Known as the South Seas Plantation Project, 655,000 cubic yards of sand were placed in a project area that extended from FDEP monument R 87 to monument R 93.4. The work was completed in October 1981.

1988 Project

The first island wide nourishment project began August 17, 1988 and was completed on April 22, 1989. The beaches of Captiva were restored with sand obtained from the Redfish Pass ebb shoal borrow area. The nourishment project placed approximately 1,596,000 cubic yards of fill along 4.7 miles of beach between monument R 85 and monument R 109. This project was a federally reimbursable Section 215 Project. The berm width varied from 20 feet at the north end of the island, where fill from the 1981 project still remained, to 100 feet at the south end of the island. As part of this project, dunes were constructed from monument R 96.5 to R 108.

1996 Project

On February 2, 1996, the initial renourishment of the 1988 project began. Fill was placed between monument R 84 (Redfish Pass Groin) and monument R 109 (Blind Pass Terminal Groin). The total Captiva Project volume was approximately 821,000 cubic yards. An additional 239,000 cubic yards of sand were placed on northern Sanibel as part of an inter-local agreement.

2005 Project

In September, 2005, a project to renourish Captiva Island and northern Sanibel began under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supervision. This project included compensation for 2004 hurricane losses. A series of storms impacted the project area not only before the construction but also during construction. Captiva Island received 1,116,387 cubic yards along the 4.9 miles of shoreline between Redfish Pass (R 84) and Blind Pass (R 109). Northern Sanibel Island received 244,630 cubic yards (R 110.5 to R 116) and Bowman’s Beach received 90,914 cubic yards.

2013 Project

Captiva Island ended 2013 with a wider beach beckoning residents and visitors to find more time to enjoy this beautiful island in 2014. The beach renourishment project extended the beachfront significantly further seaward with beach fill placement of 783,369 cubic yards along Captiva's shoreline from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass. As part of the Project, existing dunes were rehabilitated and native dune vegetation consisting of 318,750 plants was installed along the Captiva shoreline. The restored beach provides a buffer from storms for island property and structures while enhancing wildlife habitat and the recreational value of the shoreline. Additionally, 80,823 cubic yards of sand were pumped onto northern Sanibel as part of an interlocal agreement. Coastal Planning & Engineering provided all engineering services for the Project Sponsor, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD).

The CEPD awarded Great Lakes Dredge and Dock the $19.4 million construction contract in August following a competitive bid process. The Project commenced on Captiva Oct. 7, 2013 following the hatching of the last turtle nest. While the Captiva segment of the Project was estimated to be completed on Nov. 26, the final load of sand was placed on the island at 8am on December 16 following delays due to technical problems with the booster pump Jesse. Once work on Captiva was complete, the pipeline was moved to northern Sanibel and fill placement on that island was completed at 3:30pm, December 26. The contractor used two hopper dredges, the Padre Island and the Dodge Island to vacuum sand from a borrow area located approximately 8 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. This sand source is outstanding in its compatibility quality with the existing sand along the shoreline. The sand was then transported to the booster pump Jesse. The submerged pipeline length from the booster pump to the discharge area was two miles. The CEPD requested and was granted a permit modification to extend the area of the pipeline corridors to enable contractors to have more flexibility.

Project funding was provided by the State of Florida, Department of Environmental Protection, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, and Captiva Island property owners. Prior to the Project, Captiva voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to borrow funds for the beach nourishment Project.