County begins removal of sea life deposits on Captiva's bayside
August 8, 2018


Lee County has initiated a plan to clean up dead sea life collecting on the bayside of Captiva.

On Aug. 7, county contractor CrowderGulf deployed several flatboats to the island's back bayside to begin removing deposits of fish and other marine organisms that are the result of the algae blooms. The Captiva Erosion Prevention District reached out to the county for aid after residents voiced concerns.

Administrator Damon Grant explained that the CEPD began cleanup efforts on the Gulfside beaches last week, including raking, bagging dead sea life and setting up a dumpster for the public to use.

"We've had really good winds that are pushing to west, pushing the fish off the beach and back out to shore," he said. "But on the other side of the island, it's pushing the fish up against the bayside."

"They're lining up in the mangroves," Grant added.

The CEPD received calls from several individuals who expressed concern about the number of dead fish they were seeing on the bayside, with some of the callers also pointing out the smell and odor.

"We weren't sure to the extent of how much fish we had on the back bay," he said.

So Grant reached out to the county for assistance in accessing the situation.

"CrowderGulf has resources like flatboats that can kind of get into the mangrove areas," he said, adding that they surveyed the areas. "They saw way more than we thought were back there."

The county came up with a multi-phase approach for the cleanup using boat crews.

"The effort will start at the north end and process to the south (Blind Pass)," Grant said of the bayside. "Really at the north and mid-island is where we're seeing most of the dead fish for some reason."

The first two phases - or priority zones - are planned out.

"They'll go as quickly as they can removing the fish," he said of the crews. "I don't know how fast that effort will progress. We don't have any idea how long it's going to take to even finish priority one."

Once the first two zones are completed, officials will regroup to determine the next phase.

"We're going to re-evaluate then and identify priority three," Grant said. "We'll need to come up with another priority from mid-island down to Blind Pass."

To report a large fish kill, call the CEPD at 239-472-2472 and provide a name and address.

"So we can make sure as part of this effort that we can go out and remove those for them," he said.

As for North Captiva, cleanup efforts on the northern island are also continuing.

On Aug. 7, the Upper Captiva Civic Association reported that the county donated three dumpsters to assist the island in collecting and removing the dead sea life that are the result of the red tide. The dumpsters are located on the south fenceline of Team Davenport's barge lot, close to Barnacle Phil's.

"The dumpsters are for dead fish and other marine life only," officials said.

The public was advised not to deposit household trash, yard waste and such in them.

"To do so will jeopardize our arrangement with the county and will only serve to make our current problem worse," officials said.

The UCCA also reported that Lee County contracted with CrowderGulf to assist with the cleanup and the contractor is set to take care of Safety Harbor and the canal by the North Captiva Island Club.

"This will continue to be an ongoing project until after the red tide has left our area, and there is no way to predict when that will happen," officials said.

Those interested in helping out with the cleanup efforts can contact Duncan Rosen, of Tortuga Properties, at 305-336-4925. Rosen organized a cleanup of the island's Gulfside beaches last week.

The public is asked to double bag any dead sea life picked up.

The UCCA added that Rosen has additional bags for those who need them.

"If you are going out on the beach, please wear boots or thick soled shoes. Catfish barbs are very painful," officials said. "Also, strongly consider a breathing mask to protect you from the stench and the toxins."


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