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DERP-FUDS Culebra Island Puerto Rico

 

March 2018

FACT SHEET

DERP-FUDS Culebra Island Puerto Rico

Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP)

Congressional District: Puerto Rico

 

1. DESCRIPTION

Program and projects are appropriated under Environmental Restoration – Formerly Used Defense Sites (ER-FUDS). The Culebra property was approved for inclusion in the Defense Environmental Restoration Program by an Inventory Project Report (INPR) and Findings and Determination of Eligibility (FDE) dated May 1991. In July 2005, the INPR was revised to clarify further the military’s use of Culebra and divided it into 14 separate project sites: one (1) Installation Restoration Program (IRP) site and 13 sites were approved under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). Culebra is located about 17 miles east of the main island of Puerto Rico. The Culebra property, consisting of Culebra Island and surrounding cayos, was acquired via land transfers, purchases, donations and leases, and was utilized as a coaling and communications station, for aerial bombing, maneuvers, naval gun and artillery firing, and amphibious training by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy during various periods between 1903 and 1975. All lands were transferred from Navy control prior to 1986 except for 63.82 acres near Flamenco Point. Based on historical research and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Site Inspection, the Culebra property has been prioritized for Remedial Investigation for munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and munitions debris (MD), with the exception of the area on Culebra Island designated as the Northwest Peninsula (NWP). Per Public Law (PL) 93-166, the NWP cannot be remediated using federal funding; however, that was modified by Fiscal Year (FY) 15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) language (PL 113-291). Section 317 of PL 113-291 states the Secretary of the Army may expend funds to decontaminate certain public use areas within the NWP of unexploded ordnance (UXO). The specific areas authorized within the NWP are portions of Carlos Rosario Beach, Flamenco Beach, Tamarindo Beach, the campground, and Carlos Rosario Trail, and a MMRP project was approved in June 2016 to include these areas. The intent is to ensure UXO are removed from these areas, thereby allowing their safe use for their current recreational purposes. This authorization does not allow cleanup of other environmental contaminants, including munitions constituents. The remaining acreage of that portion of the NWP controlled by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico remains the responsibility of the Commonwealth to restrict access and/or provide remediation. The Culebra property also has one area that is being investigated for possible hazardous materials under the IRP.

 

2. FUNDING

Estimated Total Cost $128,867,000
Estimated Total Cost to Complete $79,483,000
Allocation thru FY17 $46,773,000
Allocation for FY18 $2,610,900

 

3. STATUS

a. The MMRP Site Inspection was completed in 2007 on areas not within the NWP footprint. The MMRP Site Inspection recommended twelve of thirteen munitions response sites (MRSs) to proceed to the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) phase; 10 sites are on land with 4 having a water component, and 2 sites are totally within the water.  The RIs’ fieldwork efforts at the ten land sites are complete. The Corps’ contractors are drafting the RI/FS reports and expected to be completed in FY19. Contracts have been awarded for RI/FSs in the water areas and USACE is currently working with Commonwealth and Federal regulatory and resource agencies to implement these actions. Each underwater remedial investigation is being conducted in three phases. The first phase, which has been completed for each underwater MRS, is an Environmental Baseline Survey to identify the bathymetric, plant (i.e. seagrass) and coral features of each area to be investigated. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying Endangered Species Act-listed species and their supporting habitats.  The second phase is an electro-magnetic (geophysical) survey to identify possible munitions items or debris that might be present.  The third phase is the intrusive investigation of items identified during the second phase and it consists of excavating and/or disposing of any munitions items, subject to listed species considerations. Due to impacts from hurricanes Irma and María, the water area RIs’ fieldwork efforts were delayed and are scheduled for completion in FY19. A new RI/FS contract for the IRP site will be awarded in FYI8 and should be completed within three years. Current status for the various projects are shown in the table below.

 

 

FUDS Site

Area/Acreage

Type

RI Fieldwork Effort Completion Schedule (Land/Water)

RI/FS Reports, and Decision Document Schedule

00 - Navy HQ Area

Land (0.92 ac)

IRP

FY19

FY21

01 - Not Used

 

 

 

 

02 - Cerro Balcon and Cayos

Land/Water (114.8 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17/FY19

FY19/FY20

02 – Cayo del Agua (TCRA)

Land 5.34

MMRP

FY19

FY20

03 - Flamenco Bay

Water (195 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY18

FY20

04 - Flamenco Maneuver Area

Land (550 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

05 - Mortar and Combat Range

Land (2,812)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

06 - Artillery Firing Area

Land (826 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

07 - Culebrita

Land/Water (375 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17/FY19

FY20/FY20

07 – Cayo Botella (TCRA)

Land 3.93

MMRP

FY18

FY20

08 - Cayo Norte Impact Area

Land (306 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

09 - Soldado Point Mortar and Bombing Area

Land/Water (328 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17/FY15 (completed)

FY17/FY20

10 - Defensive Firing Area 1

Land (547 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

11 - Defensive Firing Area 2

Land (719 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17

FY20

12 - Luis Peña Channel

Water (835 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY18

FY20

13 - Cayo Luis Peña Impact Areas

Land/Water (864 ac)

MMRP MRS

FY17/FY15 (completed)

FY20/FY20

14 - Airport

Land (416 ac)

No DOD Action Indicated

NA

NA

16 – Congressionally Authorized Areas within the Northwest Peninsula

Land (31.83 ac)

MMRP MRS

– FY18

FY19

 

b.  A Congressionally-mandated study specified by Public Law 111-383, Section 2815, was completed in April 2012 relating to that portion of the former bombardment area on the Culebra NWP that was transferred to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by quitclaim deed.  This portion, consisting of some 408 acres, is part of the area for which expenditure of federal funds for ordnance remediation is prohibited by Public Law 93-166. The study findings included an estimate of some $49M for removal of ordnance from the 408-acre tract, in addition to addressing the potential impacts to the public and the environment.  This estimate to remediate the entire Commonwealth of Puerto Rico portion of the NWP is not included in the estimated total Cost-to-Complete number in funding section above, since it is not authorized.  

c. An Abbreviated Preliminary Assessment/Inventory Project Report (APA/INPR) to delineate and determine site boundaries of the NWP areas authorized by Section 317 of PL 113-291 was completed in June 2016.  As a result, MMRP Project 16 was created to address the UXO hazards remaining in the authorized NWP areas.

d. In June 2016, USACE awarded contracts to conduct Time Critical Removal Actions (TCRAs) at NWP areas authorized by Section 317 of PL 113-291 discussed in Description section above, as well as Cayo Botella and Cayo del Agua. The fieldwork activities at the NWP areas were initiated in November 2016 and anticipated to be completed in FY18 with a final report in FY19. Upon completion of the NWP TCRA, USACE will resume the remedial response process to determine if additional work is required before closing out the NWP areas. The fieldwork at Cayo Botella is anticipated to be complete in late FY18; the fieldwork at Cayo del Agua is anticipated to be complete in early FY19; final report on both in early FY20.


DERP FUDS Culebra Island Puerto Rico Map      DERP FUDS Culebra Puerto Rico Map of Southern portion of Northwest Peninsula Public Access Map