Miami-Dade County , FL Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Purpose & Overview

Compiled Q&A from draft report public comments

 

  1. What is the purpose of the proposed project?

The purpose of the study is to determine the federal interest in a plan to reduce damages from coastal flooding due to storm surges, tides, and waves, with sea level rise, in the most vulnerable interior back bay areas of the San Juan Metro Area.

  1. Who is conducting the study and why?

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has conducted the study with the non-federal sponsor the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER). In response to these problems, USACE is pursuing this study to determine a recommended plan to reduce coastal flooding damages, under Section 204 of the Flood Control Act of 1970, Public Law 91-611, with funds provided under the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 Public Law 115-123.

 

  1. What is the proposed project?

Existing problems in the study area include:

  • Storm damages due to erosion, inundation and waves threaten structures and infrastructure
  • Loss of natural habitat due to beach erosion
  • Loss of recreational opportunities due to beach erosion
  • Loss of national and regional income associated with tourism due to beach erosion

Opportunities are positive conditions in the study area that may result from implementation of a federal project such as:

  • Reduce economic loss due to coastal storm damages
  • Maintain coastal habitat, the character of coastal beach communities, and other cultural resources
  • Maintain existing recreation opportunities (beach and nearshore)
  • Support the local and national tourism industry through the maintenance of stable beaches and healthy coastal ecosystems
  • Implement a regional approach to sediment management by utilizing material from nearby accretional areas as a sand source
  • Increase community understanding of coastal resilience
  • Maintain current life safety or reduce risk to life safety

The study authority for 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 , acting through the Chief of Engineers, 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. This report is an interim response to the study authority. The existing Federal Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection (BEC&HP) Project for Dade County, Florida, was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1968. 

This study was 100 percent federally funded by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA 2018), Public Law 115-123.

Plan formulation is the process of developing alternative plans that meet the project-specific objectives while avoiding constraints.  Plan formulation was conducted with a focus on achieving the federal objective of water and related land resources project planning, which is to contribute to National Economic Development (NED) consistent with protecting the nation's environment, pursuant to national environmental statutes, applicable executive orders, and other federal planning requirements.  Plan formulation also considers all effects, beneficial or adverse, to each of the four evaluation accounts identified in the 1983 Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resource Implementation Studies (Principles and Guidelines) which are National Economic Development, Environmental Quality, Regional Economic Development, and Other Social Effects.

It has been determined that there is continued federal interest in a project along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline of Miami-Dade County, Florida, based on the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) identified using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Planning Process.

The Main Segment TSP includes beach nourishment (including dune features) along 5.7 miles of shoreline along with a series of groins between R-28 and R-31.5. Sand sources to be used for beach nourishment in the Main Segment include the BHI Complex, South Beach, and offshore borrow areas. The Key Biscayne TSP includes a reinforced dune with a steel sheet pile wall along 1.2 miles shoreline. Beach nourishment (including dune features) will use sand from upland mines to keep the wall buried, and sheet pile tieback walls will be used at the north and south ends of the project. Implementation of the plan for Key Biscayne is contingent upon local efforts to address back bay flood risks.

The TSP contributes to the creation of beach and dune habitat. It is integrated with the community to allow continued public access to existing recreational opportunities that traditionally occur along the coastline. The TSP was formulated to avoid and minimize impacts to every extent possible; therefore, no mitigation is recommended as part of the project.

Structures and infrastructure along the Miami-Dade County, Florida, shoreline are vulnerable to damage from erosion, flooding and waves caused by coastal storms.  This study investigates alternatives for a plan that addresses these vulnerabilities, as well as provides incidental opportunities for maintaining recreation and habitat along the shoreline of Miami-Dade County, Florida. This study only evaluates the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. It does not evaluate the coastal storm risks of the interior back bay shorelines of the barrier islands or the Miami-Dade County mainland. The non-federal sponsor of the study is Miami-Dade County, Florida.

This single purpose Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) study focuses on the damaging forces of erosion, flooding, and wave attack during coastal storms that threaten structures and infrastructure fronting the Atlantic Ocean in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This area is highly vulnerable to sea level change (SLC) which is expected to exacerbate these damaging forces into the future.

The study team has produced a draft report, which is currently available for public review and comment on this website from Nov. 12, 2020 until Dec. 12, 2020.  The report has considered an array of alternatives and their effects, under NEPA and recommends an alternative as the tentatively selected plan (TSP). 

The risk to areas along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, the performance of existing measures to reduce risk, and the need for future measures over the next 50 years were all considerations for scoping the study. The Atlantic Ocean fronting shorelines between Baker’s Haulover Inlet and Government Cut, along with the Village of Key Biscayne, were identified as having the most immediate need for a study to assess coastal storm risks and federal participation in a CSRM project. 

The focused study area includes 9.4 miles of shoreline between Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Range or Reference (R) Monuments R-27 to R-74 (Baker’s Haulover Inlet to Government Cut, known as the “Main Segment”) and 1.2 miles between R-101 to R-108 (Village of Key Biscayne, known as the “Key Biscayne Segment”).  R-monuments refer to FDEP survey monuments used for geographic reference.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

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 towards 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.

Contact Information

The Corps is requesting that any questions or comments on the draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment report, be submitted,  to Kristen Donofrio via email at  Kristen.l.donofrio@usace.army.mil  or by mail at:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
ATTN: Kristen Donofrio
701 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida 32207-8175

Also David Ruderman via email at david.j.ruderman@usace.army.mil