USACE & FIND host the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway boat tour

Jacksonville District
Published May 14, 2024
Port of Miami

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel Florida II

USACE

Eduardo Marin, P.E., Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, provides a briefing on a required route diversion along the Intracoastal Waterway.

FIND

FIND Commissioner Spencer Crowley, points out some landmarks as the tour makes way through the Port of Miami.

Port of Miami

Briefing on the activities in the Port of Miami.

Deerfield, Coast Guard

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Commander, Colonel Jamie Booth coined several members of the U.S. Coast Guard during the Intracoastal Waterways tour.

Deerfield, FIND

Florida Inland Navigation District, Executive Director, Janet Zimmerman.

USACE

Colonel Jamie Booth, U.S. Army Corps Engineers, Jacksonville District Commander speaks to stakeholders during the Intracoastal Waterways tour.

IWW

Phil Purcell- Executive Director of the marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) speaking to the group during the Intracoastal Waterways tour.

IWW

Coast Guardsman preparing to disembark as a Coast Guard vessel pulls up to Florida II.

Port Everglades
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Stephen Meyer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Project Manager for Port Everglades, briefs on Port Everglades deepening.

Jacksonville, Fla. -- On May 1, 2024, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District, joined by partners from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), U.S. Coast Guard, and various stakeholders, embarked on the vessel named Florida II to conduct inspections along segments of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterways (IWW). While unconventional, the ship provided an invaluable setting for decision-makers to witness firsthand the environmental areas under discussion and foster relationships among stakeholders.

“The collaboration between the Florida Inland Navigation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard is amazing. You have three government agencies that are very independent and strong agencies, yet they can come together in a communicative and collaborative effort to reach and implement a plan,” said Frank Gernert, FIND Commissioner for Broward County.

FIND performs the functions of the "local sponsor" for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway project in Florida and provides all lands required for the navigation project including rights of way and lands for the management of dredged materials removed from the waterway channel during dredging activities.

With seven years of service as a FIND Commissioner, Gernert emphasized the significance of events like this, which offer a comprehensive understanding of ongoing initiatives. “From the standpoint of everybody coming together and being on a boat, you easily get in a conversation with different people. These groups of people are all here because they care about the environment and it’s interesting to get in those conversations and collaborate with others. You get a chance to share your vision and understand theirs,” said Gernert.

The journey aboard the vessel began in Miami Bay and transited to Stuart. Along the route, presenters from USACE, Miami-Dade County law enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and several county resource management agencies highlighted regional concerns and hotspots. Florida II served as a dynamic platform for subject matter experts to engage stakeholders and highlight aspects of the IWW as they navigated past them.

Katie Lebow, a biologist with the USACE Jacksonville District, addressed environmental issues, including the importance of matching sand used in beach renourishment with existing sand to foster sea turtle nesting. She also discussed potential impact dredging can have on the Smalltooth sawfish, which inhabit the ocean floor.

Subject matter experts delved into navigation challenges, safety precautions, environmental ramifications on small islands, benefits of channel realignment, and funding. Discussions that might have required multiple meetings to formulate plans were efficiently conducted with stakeholders and decision-makers, leading to resolutions and forward-looking strategies.

“It’s important to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to have a meeting with our other stakeholders along the Intracoastal Waterway; Florida Inland Navigation District, the Coast Guard, all the different counties along the way, FIND’s Commissioners. We exchange information through briefings and have a better understanding of all the different interest along the Intracoastal Waterway and how we can bring them together and find synergy and understanding of what folks need and what folks have capabilities,” said Colonel Jamie Booth, U.S. Army Corps Engineers, Jacksonville District Commander.

 

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