Emergency dredging project approved for Clam Pass

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NAPLES, Fla.- Collier County commissioners declared it an emergency Tuesday morning to get Clam Pass dredged immediately.

Three years ago, the county spent $250,000 to partially dredge the pass. Since then, it’s filled up with 19,000 cubic yards of sand, equal to filling up about 900 dump trucks with sand.

“It’s been giving us problems for the past few years,” said Donna Fiala, Collier County commissioner. “It needed to be done the right way, which it hasn’t been until now. So now we’ve got to clean up the mess and get it going in the right direction.”

Commissioner Georgia Hiller, who has been working on the project exclusively, said the pass constantly battles unpredictable weather, such as this winter’s storms and high winds.

“They’re taking all that extra sand, by the way which makes me so happy, that they’re going to be dredging out of there and going to put it out on the beach, the public beach which is badly eroded and that’s probably in the middle of Clam Pass,” Fiala said.

The county recently received a 10-year permit that will allow them to perform maintenance to preserve the area. Commissioner Hiller said they had to declare the dredging an emergency because it took so long to get the permit.

The purpose of the dredging is to flush the area for the mangroves, county officials said. Commissioners say this time, they’d like to see more sand pulled out to keep the pass from filling in again so quickly.

“You better get it right this time, it’s costing these people a lot of money,” said one beachgoer.

“Absolutely it is needed,” said Mary Albers, “it’s closing one of the beautiful beaches, water, and access to the Gulf.”

The county is working on getting bids for the job which they hope will be complete in time for turtle nesting season beginning on May 1.

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