San Juan, Puerto Rico. (July 26, 2022) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District hosted a Ceremonial Signing for the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to start construction of the Caño Martín Peña Ecosystem Restoration Project today at the Area Recreativa Jose Pepe Diaz (Pepe Díaz Trail Park), San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“We are happy to be here to celebrate the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to start construction of the Caño Martín Peña Ecosystem Restoration Project,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville Commander Col. James Booth. “The Cano Martin Pena (CMP) project is an integral part of the San Juan Bay Estuary watershed, which includes over 35 percent of the mangrove forest on the island.”
Attending the ceremony: Jacksonville District Commanding Officer, Col. James Booth, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor, Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Interim Secretary for DNER Anaís Rodríguez Vega, Executive Director for ENLACE Mario Núñez Mercado, Natalia Gandia representing Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez, and Lucy Cruz, president of the group 8 of Caño Martín Peña.
“It is an absolute honor to be here and I am thrilled for this project to get underway,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor. I am here with these local celebrities, the people who have worked so hard to be here to do this signing and be here with all of you today.”
The Caño Martin Peña Project was authorized by Section 5127 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 (P.L. 110-114), as amended by Section 402(e) of WRDA of 2020, (P.L. 116-260).
The implementation of the project includes dredging approximately 2.2 miles of the Caño Martin Peña (CMP) canal; shoreline stabilization and erosion control features; and planting of approximately 35 acres of mangroves. Restoration of the CMP will re-establish the tidal connection between the San Jose Lagoon and the San Juan Bay, which will improve dissolved oxygen levels and salinity stratification, increase biodiversity by restoring fish habitat and benthic conditions, and improve the functional value of mangrove habitat within the San Juan Bay Estuary.
Puerto Rico Governor, Pedro Pierluisi, , welcomed and thanked the citizens of Puerto Rico, the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Resources (DNER).
“Thank you for your contributions to make this project reality,” said Pierluisi. “We all have to be proud of the San Juan Bay Estuary, communities and restoration. It is a jewel. It's the only tropical estuary in the entire estuarine system that is recognized by the United States government, so part of what we're doing here today is restoring not just the caño, but the San Juan Bay Estuary. And that is going to help improve the socioeconomic conditions of all the communities in this area,” said Pierluisi.
This project is cost shared 65% Federal and 35% Non-Federal in partnership with the Non-Federal Sponsors, Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. The Total Appropriated Federal Funds are $167.9M where $163.3M were under Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) 2022.
“This project is yet another example of partnership that are going to make the difference in everyday people,” said Connor.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District on the district’s website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.