The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee consists of residents appointed by City councilmen. Presently serving on the Beach Advisory Committee are Chairman Kevin Donlan, Vice Chairman Ken Kubat, Bernardo Bezos, Mary Ann Kline, Dennis McCann, Pattie Miller, and Susan Purvis. Staff liaison is Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island.
The Beach Advisory Committee (BAC) meets the third Thursday of each month at 9 AM in the first floor conference of City Hall. The BAC is “charged with identifying short and long term issues that impact the beach environment, evaluating potential solutions and recommending policy and practices to City staff for administrative or Council action.” All public is welcome to attend. Meeting agendas and minutes are posted on the City’s website, www.cityofmarcoisland.com.
Currently, the committee is creating the new goals for 2011. As a committee, the BAC feels it is important to raise public awareness of beach issues, rules and projects and is actively working to fulfill past goals and move forward with new goals. A volunteer patrol may be the solution for regular monitoring and educational outreach.
Past issues that do need ongoing attentions include beach erosion in the South Beach area, water quality, ordinance compliance, beach maintenance, and beach debris. We continue to address the necessity of having more trash receptacles along our beachfront and for regular beach clean up campaigns. Chairman Kevin Donlan has organized once a month beach clean-ups sponsored by Publix and volunteer local businesses to combat the debris issue. On the third Sunday of each month, the participating businesses with BAC volunteers, walk the beach from South Beach to Tigertail, picking up trash and debris. To date, there have been a dozen successful clean ups with over a hundred bags of trash removed. All public is welcome to join in!
Beach maintenance is a vital part of Marco Island. Without the regular raking and tilling, free-standing water presents a problem, particularly on the north part of the beach. Sands build up as small dunes, or birms, stranding high tidal waters further in toward the buildings and vegetation begins to grow. One remedy that was tested was moving increments of sand from this birm above high tide line landward to lower areas of the beach. Due to sea turtle nesting season, this activity can only occur between November and April of each year. The BAC strongly recommends laser grading of the beach to improve the gradient and slope of the beach to help with better percolation and less standing water areas.
Water quality is monitored for bacteria and nutrients within the island waterways. This monitoring and reports are compiled and reviewed by the BAC. Collier County Parks and Recreation Rangers do a twice daily “beach condition” report. More information on water quality can be found at www.mote.org/beaches.
There are seasonal issues to be dealt with when shorebird and sea turtle nesting seasons begin and areas of our beach are posted. Last season, there was a successful turn out of volunteers for Collier County’s Shorebird Steward Program. This program is designed to educate beachgoers to share the beach with our nesting shorebirds.
Starting in mid April, the BAC distributes educational materials to beachfront condominiums and hotels regarding the Loggerhead Sea Turtle nesting and hatching and asks all residents to respect the “lights out or shaded by 9 pm”, per the City Sea Turtle Protection ordinance.
For more information on the Beach Advisory Committee, agendas, minutes and links to beach related topics, please go to www.cityofmarcoisland.com.