JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a public meeting on the Lake Worth Inlet Feasibility Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Thursday, May 9th at the Port of Palm Beach, Executive Boardroom, One East 11th St., Suite 600, Riviera Beach, Fla. 33404. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with an open house session. A presentation on the draft report and official comment period will follow.
The purpose of the meeting is to provide interested stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss the DEIS and to address any concerns or comments. The DEIS was recently published in the Federal Register, beginning a 45-day public review and comment period. The official comment period will end on June 3rd.
Lake Worth Inlet, serving as an entrance channel to the port, is inadequate both in width and depth, negatively impacting future port potential and creating economic inefficiencies with the current fleet of vessels. Based on modern vessel sizes, the port is operating with insufficient channel width and depth. These deficiencies cause the local harbor pilots and the U.S Coast Guard to place restrictions on vessel transit to ensure safety. In turn, these restrictions lead to light loading, tidal delays, and maneuvering difficulties – resulting in economic inefficiencies that translate into costs to the national economy.
The tentatively selected plan proposes the following: deepen the entrance channel from 35 to 41-feet and widen from 400 to 440-460 feet, plus a southern approach flare; deepen the inner channel from 33 to 39-feet and widen from 300 to 450-feet; deepen the main turning basin from 33 feet to 39 feet and extend the southern boundary of the turning basin an additional 150-feet.
Suitable material would be placed in the nearshore, adjacent to the beach, or beneficially used for proposed mitigation; unsuitable material would be taken to the Palm Beach Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site. Approximately 4.5 acres of seagrass habitat and 4.9 acres of hardbottom habitat would be affected through implementation of the tentatively selected plan. However, 8.25 to 11.25 acres of seagrass mitigation and 4.9 to 9.8 acres of hardbottom mitigation are under negotiation.
In addition, immediately south of the main turning basin, a warm water outfall from the Florida Power and Light Riviera Plant creates a warm water refugium for manatees during cold periods.
A copy of the DEIS can be viewed at the following link: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/Planning/EnvironmentalBranch/EnvironmentalDocs/LWI_01_Draft%20_Feasibility_EIS_April_2013.pdf
For more information, please contact Amanda Ellison at 904-232-1576 or Amanda.D.Ellison@usace.army.mil.
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