Marco Island’s Tigertail Beach dredging plan is underway without Audubon’s support


An ongoing debate revolves around a piece of paradise on Marco Island’s Tigertail Beach – to dredge or not to dredge.

Tigertail Lagoon and the adjoining Sand Dollar Island are home to seabirds, seashells and strolling tourists.

Friends of Tigertail Beach is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the area and its president, Linda Colombo, is concerned about the amount of sand spilling out into the lagoon, threatening marine life, vegetation and navigation.

“If that happens, then the water quality in the lagoon area will deteriorate,” explains Colombo. “We don’t know what bacteria are causing the poor water quality. That still needs to be fitted but we want to have our lagoon open to fresh seawater, to have good tidal currents.”

The Hideaway Marine Tax District is promoting a dredging project at the northern tip, where sand accumulation could block the lagoon.

Linda Ryan, a tax district board member, said the project, which is subject to state and federal permits and biological monitoring, would also establish a flow channel in the middle of Sand Dollar Island. . “So in this case we are trying to protect the coastal lagoon that was damaged in Hurricane Irma and if we do nothing we will lose this coastal lagoon and we don’t want to see it happen.

Those interested in the project are worried about the part of Sand Dollar Island that some coastal birds call home.blank

Brad Cornell, policy officer for Audubon Western Everglades and Audubon Florida, said the proposal that appeared in the books was unacceptable to Audubon, adding, “We see this as environmental destruction. the life of the swift.”

Cornell says hundreds of threatened birds nest here during the summer. “Black storks, Wilson’s birds of prey, terns at least, and these birds really depend on the protection that Sand Dollar provides.”

Because the area is part of a coastal barrier island, he said, it changes constantly.

Cornell added: “The fronts that have just brought all these tornadoes have blown away a new path, a new opening to the Gulf in Tigertail Lagoon, which will greatly benefit water quality, and it raises some questions about the necessity of this dredging project. .

But backers of the project don’t believe the new opening will last long.

“If that can stay open, that would be great,” Ryan said, “but in the past, there have been some breaks here on Sand Dollar Island. Hurricane Irma alone has had three, and in the past, all have closed; some quick, some a little longer”.

Project participants hope that once they receive their state and federal permits, they can start working in November.blank

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