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Culebra

Between 1901 and 1975, the U.S. military used Culebra and adjacent islands and cays. Initially, it was used as a coaling station and a radio transmitter facility. Eventually the U.S. Navy established areas for naval gun firing and aerial bombing. The U.S. Marines held advanced base defense exercises on the island that included land maneuvers, artillery and small arms firing, and amphibious training. The military stopped firing on Culebra in 1975, but munitions may still on the island and in the water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) on behalf of the Department of Defense. All of the island of Culebra, Culebrita, Cayo Luis Peña, Cayo Norte, other nearby cays and the surrounding waters are within the Formerly Used Defense Site. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers divided the site into 15 project areas. One of those is an area where metallic debris may have been discarded. In the other 14 areas, known as Munitions Response Sites (MRS), the Corps is concerned that there may be military munitions present.

 The entire Northwest Peninsula of Culebra was used for naval shore and aerial bombardment. The land, including Flamenco Beach, was transferred by deed to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which is responsible for restoration, including removing munitions. In response to a congressional request, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studied the part of the Northwest Peninsula the Commonwealth owns to determine the type and amount of munitions remaining. The Secretary of the Army received authorization from Congress to remove unexploded ordnance certain public use areas within the Northwest Peninsula under Section 317 of Public Law 113-291 in December 2014. These areas include portions of Carlos Rosario Beach, Flamenco Beach, Tamarindo Beach, the Flamenco campground, and Carlos Rosario Trail. The remaining acreage not covered by these areas remains the responsibility of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to restrict access and/or provide remediation. 

In May 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received authorization to conduct a Time Critical Removal Action at the Congressionally Authorized Areas within the Northwest Peninsula. The contract for the Time Critical Removal Action was awarded in June 2016. The Time Critical Removal Action must be initiated within six months (November 2016) of the approval of the Action Memorandum. The Time Critical Removal Action fieldwork is scheduled to be completed in Fiscal Year 2017 with a final report in Fiscal Year 2018. 

In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received authorization to conduct Time Critical Removal Actions at Cayo del Agua and Cayo Botella in June 2016. The Time Critical Removal Actions fieldwork is scheduled to be completed in Fiscal Year 2017 with a final report in Fiscal Year 2018. 

Acronyms: TCRA (Time Critical Removal Action); RI/FS (Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study); MRS (Munitions Response Site); AR (Administrative Record)

Work Schedule

 Trabajo en áreas de la Península del Noroeste el 16 de febrero:

El jueves 16 de febrero de 2017, el contratista del Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército de los Estados Unidos estará destruyendo municiones encontradas durante los trabajos de Acción de Remoción de Tiempo Crítico. Todas las operaciones se llevarán a cabo en tierra. Estas actividades han sido estrechamente coordinadas con el Municipio de Culebra, la Autoridad de Conservación y Desarrollo de Culebra y las agencias ambientales. El 16 de febrero se establecerá un perímetro de seguridad, pero el mismo no afectará el área de estacionamiento, los quioscos u otras áreas en el área de acampar. La vereda Carlos Rosario continuara cerrada durante la operación y trabajos de campo. Si las condiciones del tiempo o alguna otra situación retrasan o no permiten al equipo realizar o completar los trabajos el 16 de febrero, las actividades se llevarán a cabo el 17 de febrero. De tener alguna pregunta, favor de comunicarse con nosotros a FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil o llame al 866-279-4880.

 

Work within the Northwest Peninsula Feb. 16:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor will destroy munitions located during the Time Critical Removal Action on Thursday, Feb.16, 2017. Items will be destroyed on Carlos Rosario Trail and in the northern part of the Flamenco campground (Area E). All work will be conducted on land. These activities have been closely coordinated with the Municipality of Culebra, the Culebra Conservation and Development Authority and the resource agencies. A safety buffer will be enforced, but it will not impact the parking lot, kiosks or other areas of the campground. The Carlos Rosario Trail will remain closed throughout the operation and fieldwork. If weather or other delays prevent the team from completing the planned demolition activities on Feb. 16, they will be conducted on Feb. 17. If you have any questions, please email FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil or call 866-279-4880.

 

 

Trabajo en Culebra hasta el 21 de febrero:

Las brigadas de trabajo continuarán con la detección digital de metales en el área de acampar y en Playa Flamenco. Las brigadas de trabajo continuarán con la excavaciones de objetos metálicos para determinar si son posibles municiones en la parte más al norte del área de acampar y a lo largo de las playas Tamarindo y Carlos Rosario. Las personas tendrán que permanecer alejadas de las brigadas mientras se estén realizando las excavaciones. Por lo tanto, el acceso a algunas partes del área de acampar y las playas Tamarindo y Carlos Rosario pudiera ser limitado durante este periodo. La vereda Carlo Rosario continuará cerrada durante los trabajos de campo.

 

Work in Culebra through Feb. 21:

Crews will continue metal detection surveys along Flamenco Beach and in the campground, and they will continue digging up metallic objects to search for potential munitions in the northern portion of the campground and along Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario Beaches. People will need to stay away from crews while they are digging, so access to some portions of campground and Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario Beaches may be limited during this time. The Carlos Rosario Trail will remain closed throughout the fieldwork.

 

Contact Information

Toll-Free 1-866-279-4880

Community Meeting Nov. 3

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing the environmental investigations and restoration activities in Culebra. 

Thank you to everyone who attended our community meeting on Nov. 3, 2016, at the Multipurpose Center in Culebra.

Click to read the notice in English and Spanish.