US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

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, and fieldwork was underway when Hurricane Irma formed in the Caribbean.  The contractor teams left the island, and before they could return, Hurricane María further damaged Culebra.  After obtaining concurrence from the Culebra mayor's office and the Authority for the Conservation and Development of Culebra, the Corps' contractor remobilized and resumed operations in November 2017.  The contractor brought in additional teams to expedite fieldwork to complete intrusive activities prior to spring break and Holy Week.  In March 2018, all fieldwork operations were completed.  The Corps anticipates that the final report concerning the Time Critical Removal Action will be completed in early Fiscal Year 2019.

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 fieldwork at Cayo Botella and Cayo del Agua are scheduled for completion in Fiscal Year 2019, with a final report on both projects in early Fiscal Year 2020.

 

Work Schedule

   Culebra Work on Flamenco Bay and Luis Pena Channel (February and March 2019)
(Spanish and English)

Culebra – Underwater Investigations

Durante los meses de febrero y marzo de 2019, contratistas del Cuerpo de Ingenieros de los Estados Unidos, estarán llevando a cabo estudios subacuáticos en Bahía Flamenco y el Canal Luis Peña. Esta fase conlleva el uso de buzos para examinar objetos metálicos bajo agua y determinar si estos son municiones. Usted pudiera observar botes y las brigadas trabajando durante éste periodo.  Las brigadas establecerán un perímetro de seguridad alrededor de las áreas donde estarán trabajando, por lo que es importante que el público se mantenga alejado de éstas áreas. Tambien pudieran solicitar que el público se mantenga fuera del agua completamente dependiendo de las labores en curso.

Su seguridad es nuestra prioridad. Nunca toque, mueva o altere algo que usted piense pudiera ser una munición y recuerde seguir el protocolo de las 3R’s de seguridad 
(Reconozca, Retroceda y Reporte).  Reconozca que el artefacto puede ser peligroso.  Retroceda y no lo toque o mueva.  Reporte su localización inmediatamente a las autoridades llamando al 787-527-9244. Si tiene alguna duda o  pregunta, favor comunicarse al 800-710-5184 o envíe un correo electrónico a FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil. 

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor will be conducting underwater investigations in Flamenco Bay and Luis Peña Channel in February and March 2019.  This phase involves using divers to examine metallic objects to determine if they are munitions. You may see boats or crews during this time, and they will be enforcing a safety zone while they are working.  Teams may request that you stay away from where they are working or out of the water completely, depending on what they are doing.   

Your safety is our priority. Never touch, move or disturb something you think may be a munition, and remember to follow the 3Rs (Recognize, Retreat, Report). Recognize the item may be dangerous.  Retreat and do not touch, kick or move it. Report its location immediately by calling 787-527-9244. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 800-710-5184 or email FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil.

 

Contact Information

Toll-Free 1-800-710-5184