Posted on September 20, 2023
A Miami-Dade County committee is seeking a report from the mayor on dredging at PortMiami before it meets again next month in the wake of new reports of massive damage to coral reefs incurred in dredging there in 2014 and 2015.
The call for more information by Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, who chairs the commission’s Port, Mobility and Sustainability Committee, came in a non-agenda request for information that she made at the end of last week’s committee meeting.
The county has long been awaiting a US Army Corps of Engineers study to evaluate dredging to widen and deepen the harbor of PortMiami as cruise ships have become larger and larger, as have ocean freighters.
Miami Today was told last year that the study then was due in June 2026. Results were initially expected last fall, but after the team behind the analysis ran out of time and funds, it requested an added $4.48 million and 57 months to carry the study forward.
The specialized segment of the Corps of Engineers called the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center received approval from headquarters in Washington, DC, for the exception.
Once study results become available, it will be known if more dredging is necessary to complete navigation improvements to accommodate larger vessels entering PortMiami.
Costs of the study are to be split equally between the Army Corps and PortMiami, David Ruderman, Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville spokesperson, told Miami Today last year.
Dredging at the seaport almost a decade ago damaged 278 acres of sensitive coral reefs as the channel to enter the harbor was deepened to 55 feet.