by Naoko Asno, Anna Curtis-Heald, Jenjira Holmes, Phia Sennett (all MLA '19)
On March 5, 2019, Captiva Island held a referendum on beach renourishment. 123 ‘yes' votes catalyzed 30 million dollars in spending. 17 voted no.
In contrast to the erosive forces that actually grow coasts, beach renourishment is an erosion prevention technique used by Captiva Island for the past 50 years. In a predominantly sandy biome, what does erosion prevention mean?
Captivans are presented with a binary decision, YES OR NO, for or against. But as designers we like to imagine alternatives. In a context where the beach is invented and dredge is designed, why not imagine another placement strategy that works WITH the movement of the barrier, rather than against it?
We offer strategies for land building on the bay-side of Captiva, by using sand to support the natural landward movement of the barrier formation.
We imagine a political process that transcends the binary. Does sand belong on the gulf-side only? Is the only way to enjoy Captiva through a static 5 mile long beach? Why not distribute the 900,000 cubic yards of sand on the bay-side in order to jump start the land building that has been arrested by such erosion preventions measures?
Can sand act as a catalyst for mangrove growth, support dune habitat, and facilitate breach dynamics, supporting ecological richness and transformation? Can plants be allowed to act as space makers?
Our project illustrates this through nourishing in three areas: a sandbar, a golf course, and the narrowest and most vulnerable stretch of the island.