NORFOLK, Va. – Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, signed the Chief’s Report for the Florida Keys Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Study, recommending the study’s findings for authorization by Congress.
“This is an important milestone for USACE, Monroe County, and approximately 155,000 permanent and seasonal residents of the Florida Keys,” said Col. Brian Hallberg, Norfolk District commander. “This plan significantly adds to the County’s current efforts to promote resiliency and reduce the risks of coastal storm damage.”
The study began in October 2018 and addressed critical infrastructure, evacuation route protection, and structure damage reduction in response to coastal storm risks and considering sea level change. CSRM studies analyze and assess the economic, environmental, and social effects and formulate plans to address a local or regional issue with a goal to select, refine and present an optimal alternative that will be authorized and implemented on a cost shared basis with the non-federal sponsor.
The authority for the Florida Keys Coastal Storm Risk Management study was granted under Public Law 84-71, dated June 15, 1955, which authorizes an examination and survey of the coastal and tidal areas of the eastern and southern United States, with particular focus on areas where severe damages have occurred from hurricanes. The study funds were appropriated by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Public Law 115-123, at a federal cost of $3,000,000.
USACE’s Norfolk District, in collaboration with Jacksonville District, completed the study. Monroe County was the study’s non-federal sponsor.
The Chief’s Report will undergo further review by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and Office of Management and Budget before formal submittal to Congress. After congressional authorization, the project would be eligible for construction appropriations.
The recommended plan includes the following measures to reduce coastal storm risk and damage throughout the Florida Keys:
• Shoreline stabilization in six different locations along U.S. Route 1 (Overseas Highway) that were identified as having risk of damage due to erosion and/or wave energy during a storm event. These six rock revetment structures range in height from four to ten feet NAVD88 and were designed to reduce damage to a total of approximately 5,500 linear feet of roadway by stabilizing the shoreline and reducing the risk of washout.
• Dry floodproofing 53 critical infrastructure buildings that were identified at risk to damage from coastal storms. Dry floodproofing will reduce the damage caused by storm surge during storm events so that emergency and critical services can resume more quickly after a storm event.
• Nonstructural measures to reduce coastal storm damage by elevating 4,698 residential and dry floodproofing 1,052 nonresidential structures at risk throughout the Keys. Nonstructural measures are applied to a structure to reduce damage from storm surge flooding. Participation is voluntary for the recommended nonstructural measures (elevation and floodproofing).