Jacksonville, Fla. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces that Lt. Gen Scott Spellmon signed the Pinellas County, Florida Coastal Storm Risk Management Study Chiefs Report, recommending the project to Congress for approval. The project could be included in the next Water Resources Development Act. If approved, separate appropriations legislation would have to be passed to fund the construction of the project.
The signing of this report marks a crucial milestone and progresses the proposed project to Congress for individual authorization.
The authority for the study on this project is Section 216 of the Flood Control Act of 1970, Public Law 91-611 (33 U.S.C. 549a), which authorizes the Secretary
of the Army to review the operation of projects for which construction has been completed and which were constructed in the interest of navigation, flood control, water supply, and related purposes, when found advisable due to significantly changed physical or economic conditions, and to recommend to Congress on the advisability of modifying the structures or their operation, and for improving the quality of the environment in the overall public interest.
The existing Federal Pinellas County, Florida Beach Erosion Control (BEC) project was conducted in response to resolutions adopted by the Committee on Public Works of the House of Representatives on June 19, 1963, and by the Committee on Public Works of the United States Senate on November 27, 1963, in accordance with Section 110 of the River and Harbor Act, approved October 23, 1962. This study was funded by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Public Law 115-123.
The primary objectives of the project are to reduce the risk of damages from coastal flooding and wave attack during hurricanes and storms, and increase community resilience from coastal storms.
Pinellas County Shore Protection Project totals 21.8 miles of shoreline. There are three constructed and authorized segments that are actively maintained by the federal government in cost share with Pinellas County; Sand Key at the north end (14.2miles), Treasure Island in the middle (3.5 miles) and Long Key at the south end (4.1miles). Treasure Island has undergone a total of 11 renourishments to date, and was the first segment constructed.
Long Key is the second oldest and has been renourished seven times over the course of its 37-year life, and finally Sand Key, originally constructed in 1993. It is the largest of the segments and is set to expire in 2043, undergoing three renourishments to date.
The study authority for the existing BEC project included all of Pinellas County, Florida. Following the initial study scoping, the Gulf-fronting shorelines of Treasure Island and Long Key were identified as having the most critical need for a study to identify the need for continued future Federal participation in a coastal storm risk management project. The Recommended Plan reasonably maximizes net benefits to contribute to National Economic Development (NED) Plan and is consistent with protecting the nation's environment.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received disaster funds provided in Public Law 115-123, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The act provides nearly $17.4 billion to the Corps for disaster recovery.
Jacksonville District received $3.348 billion for long-term recovery investments in its area of responsibility, which includes Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This funding will go toward 13 studies, and 22 projects that will reduce risk to communities damaged by storm events. The total Federal funding allocation for Jacksonville District recovery efforts so far exceeds $4 billion.
Additional information on the Pinellas County CSRM study is available at the study's website: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Shore-Protection/Pinellas-County/