Puerto Rico Coastal Study

The Puerto Rico CSRM Study was initiated in October 2018 and was scheduled to conclude in October 2021, however a schedule extension was requested to re-evaluate the storm damage modeling and also to conduct environmental resource surveys. The extension was approved in October 2021 and the study’s new completion date is May 2024. The study team will produce a revised draft report which is currently scheduled to be available for public review in January 2023. 

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The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is 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 the Condado, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Rincon coastlines. Following the study schedule extension, the study team will produce a revised draft report, which will be available for public review.  The report will consider an array of storm damage reduction 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.  Study scoping resulted in the following areas showing potential for Federal interest: the San Juan (Condado, Ocean Park and Isla Verde) and Rincón coastlines.

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.

The TSP is being reevaluated and will be released in the revised Draft report. 

  • December 2018 - Alternative milestone

  • November 2022 - Tentatively selected plan milestone

  • January 2023 - Draft report and NEPA - public technical and policy review

  • May 2023 - Agency decision milestone

  • February 2024 - Final report - State and agency review

  • May 2024 - Chief of Engineers report

  • 2024 - Initiate Pre-construction engineering and design (Tentative)

  • 2026 – Initiate construction (Tentative)

 

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

Please contact the study team at: PuertoRicoCoastalStudy@usace.army.mil 

 

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