US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District Website

San Juan Metro (Back Bay) Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Collapse All Expand All

This study was first scoped to look at the San Juan coastline, and did not include a coastal flooding focus.  However, as a result of the community feedback during the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) Scoping meeting which took place in San Juan on November 8, 2018 the scope of this project has been revised to address coastal flooding in the San Juan Metro area.  The San Juan coastline will now be addressed in the Puerto Rico Coastal Study, which is a separate study and on a similar timeline to this study.  The Puerto Rico Department of Natural Environmental Resources (DNER) is the non-Federal sponsor for both studies.

The purpose of this study is to determine Federal interest in a recommended plan to reduce damages to infrastructure as a result of coastal flooding as a result of storm surge, tide and waves from coastal storms and hurricanes along the back bay areas in the municipality of San Juan and adjacent municipalities   The study team has produced a draft report, which is currently available for public review and comment on this website from July 28, 2020 until August 26, 2020.  The report has considered an array of alternatives and their effects, under NEPA and recommends an alternative as the tentatively selected plan (TSP). 

During coastal storms, physical conditions such as storm surge, tide, and waves cause extreme flooding from lagoons and back bay areas.  This results in damages to critical infrastructure, residential and commercial structures; negative environmental and social effects; losses to the regional and national economy; and lack of resilience for affected communities.

The study area has approximately 20,000 structures and vehicles, with a combined estimated value of approximately $3.4 billion. Coastal flooding from storm surge, tide and wave contributions cause major damages to these structures and vehicles, and will continue to do so with increased risk from sea level change.

Authority for the San Juan Metro coastal storm risk management (CSRM) study is granted under Section 204 of the Flood Control Act of 1970, Public Law 91-611.  Study funds were appropriated under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Public Law 115-123. Corps feasibility studies under this authorization are by law required to be completed in 3 years and with $3 million or less, unless waivers are requested and approved. The study schedule and milestones are shown below.  The study has examined alternative solutions, and has recommended 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 authorization.  The plan will then need to receive congressional authorization and appropriations for construction.

This study analyzed 32 measures, resulting in a focused array of 23 alternatives which were then evaluated and compared according to USACE planning principles.  The TSP reasonably maximizes net benefits to contribute to national economic development (NED) and is consistent with protecting the nation's environment, pursuant to national environmental statutes, applicable executive orders, and other Federal planning requirements. 

The TSP consists of a collection of key structural and natural and nature-based features in strategic locations designed to appropriate elevations which work together to reduce the risk of damages as a result of coastal flooding from storm surge, tide and waves during coastal storms and hurricanes along with the effect of sea level change in the San Juan Metro Area.

Colorful blocks with estimated study schedule

  • December 13, 2018 - Alternatives milestone
  • December 2018 to June 2020 - Plan formulation, engineering and economic modeling
  • June 16, 2020 - Tentatively selected plan milestone
  • July 28 ,2020 - Draft report and NEPA - public technical and policy review
  • October 2020 - Agency decision milestone
  • June 2021 - Final report - State and agency overview
  • September 2021 - Chief of Engineers report
  • 2022/2029 - Project engineering and design, construction*

*Contingent on authorization and appropriations 

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, August 26, 2020, to SJMBackBay@usace.army.mil or by mail at:

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

Documents

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