Puerto Rico Coastal Study

Puerto Rico CSRM Feasibility Study Webinar

There will be two webinars, one at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Puerto Rico time) and a second one at 3:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. Puerto Rico time) on Dec. 10. Instructions for participation are below.

Participant Information:
The conference begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Puerto Rico) on December 10, 2020; you may join the conference 10 minutes prior.
Step 1: Dial into the conference.
Dial-in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694
Access Code: 3335421#
Need an international dial-in number?

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/835070
When you access the entry link above, you will be provided a choice - to install the WebEx plug-in for your preferred browser or to join the web conference using a temporary path. Either option is acceptable.
Need technical assistance?
Audio Connection: 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015
Web Connection: 1-888-793-6118

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The conference begins at 3:00 PM Eastern Time (4:00 p.m. Puerto Rico time)  on December 10, 2020; you may join the conference 10 minutes prior.

Step 1: Dial into the conference.
Dial-in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694
Access Code: 8693967#
Need an international dial-in number?

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/835072
When you access the entry link above, you will be provided a choice - to install the WebEx plug-in for your preferred browser or to join the web conference using a temporary path. Either option is acceptable.
Need technical assistance?
Audio Connection: 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015
Web Connection: 1-888-793-6118

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The single purpose of this study is to determine where there is economic justification and Federal interest in a plan to reduce damages to property and infrastructure as a result of erosion, wave attack, and flooding from coastal storms and hurricanes along specific areas of the Puerto Rico coastline. The study team will produce both a draft and final report, which will be available for public review.  The report will consider an array of engineering alternatives and their effects under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

This study will assess the shoreline problems and provide possible Coastal Storm Risk Management alternatives to reduce risk to infrastructure located along specific areas of Puerto Rico. The study originally considered 13 locations identified by Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) to have potential for a feasibility study. These areas are located in San Juan, Carolina, Vega Baja, Arecibo, Aguadilla, Aguada, Rincón, Anasco, Mayaguez, Cabo Rojo, Loiza, Luquillo, and Humacao.

Narrowing of the study areas began with assessing areas of high density of infrastructure at risk from coastal storms which would be an indicator of high potential benefits under a Federal project.  The initial scoping resulted in the following areas showing potential for Federal interest: the San Juan (Condado, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Carolina) and Rincón coastlines; and a segment of the major hurricane/tsunami evacuation routes in Mayaguez (PR-102) and Humacao (PR-3). Further screening of the study areas eliminated the segments in Mayaguez (PR-102) and Humacao (PR-3) based on lack of potential for economic jurisdiction. 

Further investigations during the forecasting of existing and future without project conditions, led to the screening out of the Carolina and Isla Verde focus areas due to the lack of potential for economic justification; therefore, the only remaining focus areas are Condado, Ocean Park and Rincon. These focus areas are divided into planning into planning reaches to align with the headland and pocket beach features, where the Tentatively Selected Plan is proposed: Condado Pocket Beach, Punta Piedrita Headland, Ocean Park Pocket Beach, Punta Las Marias Headland and Rincon B. (See Figure in the Tentatively Selected Plan Section).

 

 

This study considers the main problem within the San Juan and Rincon focus areas to be coastal storms causing damage to structures and infrastructure due to wave attack, flooding and erosion.

Hurricane and coastal storms are responsible for significant damages to structures and infrastructure due to wave attack, flooding and erosion for the entire island of Puerto Rico. These storm events threaten public and private properties, critical infrastructure as well as recreational and beach areas. Many structures are located along the majority of the study area, including commercial businesses, hotels, condominiums, single family homes,  in addition to roads, public parkland, and public beach access points. Loss of protective beaches and dunes, due to shoreline recession, threatens properties and infrastructure. Sea level rise and coastal storms will continue to exacerbate erosion in the study area, damaging structures and infrastructures and threatening recreational resources. Homeowners and businesses seeking to protect their property have constructed some shore protection measures, such as seawalls, large stone revetments and gabions. Some of the structures and materials used are inadequate to provide significant storm damage protection and are often constructed in an uncoordinated fashion without regard to system-wide coastal processes, exacerbating erosion on adjacent shorelines

Section 204 of the Flood Control Act of 1970, Public Law 91-611 granted authority for the Puerto Rico Coastal Study. Study funds are appropriated under Title IV, Subdivision B of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018, P.L. 115-123. The study will examine alternative solutions, and will recommend one plan that meets Corps criteria to be the Tentatively Selected Plan.  If the alternative is supported by Corps decisions makers, it will receive an approved Chief’s Report recommending it for construction.  The plan will then need to receive appropriations for construction.

This study considered structural management measures including revetments, seawalls, beach nourishment and breakwaters. Nonstructural management measures were also considered, including no-action, coastal construction control line, moratorium on construction, establishment of a no-growth program, relocation of structures, flood proofing of structures, improvement of evacuation plans, condemnation of structures and land acquisition. Several alternatives have resulted from combinations of management measures applied among the planning reaches in each focus area. These alternatives were evaluated and compared according to USACE planning principles.

The planning strategy is to identify the National Economic Development (NED) plan for each planning reach (Condado Pocket Beach, Punta Piedrita Headland, Ocean Park Pocket Beach, west side of Punta Las Marias, and Rincon B), and recommend and overarching Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) comprised of each reach's TSP. The TSP reasonably maximizes net benefits to contribute to national economic development and is consistent with protecting the nation's environment, pursuant to national environmental statutes, applicable executive orders, and other Federal planning requirements. At this point of the study, NED identification is still ongoing, so the team designated a TSP based on the potential for economic justification of the alternatives, as well as engineering feasibility and environmental acceptability.

The TSP consists of a combination of structural features in specific locations designed to reduce the risk of damages as a result of wave attack, coastal flooding, and erosion in the Condado Pocket Beach, Punta Piedrita Headland, Ocean Park Pocket Beach, west side of Punta Las Marias, and Rincon B planning reaches as shown in the Figure below. At this point in the study, the TSP will include the following features. These may be adjusted as public comments are considered and finaly analysis are complete:

  • Beach renourishment (1.910 ft.) along Condado Pocket Beach shoreline;
  • Stone revetment on Punta Piedrita headland (2,450 ft.);
  • A breakwater field in combination with beach nourishment protecting 6,810 ft. along the Ocean Park Pocket Beach shoreline;
  • Stone revetment on west side of Punta Las Marias headland (1,400 ft.); and
  • Stone revetment (5,650 ft.) along the Rincon shoreline

Although, this is not part of the Federal project recommendation, this study recognizes that Puerto Rico island wide will benefit from the non-Federal sponsor, the Commonwealth and local communities pursuing nonstructural measures, such as implementation of a Coastal Construction Control Line, and improved evacuation plans and notification systems.

  • December 2018 - Alternative milestone
  • July 2020 - Tentatively selected plan milestone
  • November 2020 - Draft report and NEPA - public technical and policy review
  • January 2021 - Agency decision milestone
  • May 2021 - Final report - State and agency overview
  • October 2021 - Chief of Engineers report
  • 2021/2024 - Project engineering and design, construction

Community Meetings

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District hosted an open house meeting for the Puerto Rico Coastal Study on June 18, 2019, at the Ventana Al Mar Convention Center in Rincon, Puerto Rico. The purpose of this meeting was to provide updates referent to the initial scoping process. The public was informed about the criteria used in narrowing of the study areas in order to select focus areas with possible Federal interest. As a result of this preliminary screening, the Puerto Rico Coastal study will focus on parts of the San Juan and Rincon coastlines. The San Juan coastline encompasses approximately 8 miles of shoreline from El Boqueron to Boca de Cangrejos and the Rincon coastline includes approximately 2.5 miles from Punta Ensenada to south of Stella, including Corcega. In addition, the team is considering if there is possible federal interest to protect a segment of the major hurricane/tsunami evacuation routes in Mayaguez (PR-102) and Humacao (Hwy 3). Approximately 100 people attended the open house, with good participation during the public comments hour.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District hosted a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping meeting for the Puerto Rico Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Study Nov. 6, 218 at the El Teatro Manuel Mendez Ballester in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the scoping meeting was to present and discuss the production of a NEPA document for the feasibility study, and to assess the effects of potential alternatives to reduce coastal storm damages to infrastructure along the coast of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The scoping meeting aides in determining the scope of the NEPA analysis and any potentially significant issues. The Corps of Engineers welcomes views, questions, comments, concerns and suggestions. The Corps believes this study will benefit significantly from public involvement and encourages participation in the NEPA scoping process.

Contact Information

The Corps is requesting that any questions or comments on the draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment report, be submitted by Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, to PuertoRicoCoastalStudy@usace.army.mil 

or by mail at:

 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District

ATTN: Angela Dunn

701 San Marco Blvd.

Jacksonville, Florida 32207-8175

 

2018 Bipartisan Budget Act

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 can be found here