U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District mitigates storm risk along Florida’s coastline

The St. Johns County Coastal Storm Risk Management Project included both dune and beach berm construction along approximately 2.6 miles of the St. Johns County coastline from Vilano Beach to South Ponte Vedra Beach. Construction included placement of approximately 1.3 million cubic yards of sand dredged from shoals located within St. Augustine Inlet. Future periodic nourishment events are planned at multi-year intervals.

Posted on February 25, 2021

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.

Initially, BBA funding went towards Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria including 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.

The Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies (FCCE) program is directly funded through emergency supplemental appropriations. FCCE funds are used to inspect locally constructed levee systems that are complaint within the PL 84-99 program.

Jason Harrah, is a USACE program manager specializing in coastal risk management.

“Funds are [designated] for more than just levees they also provide funds to survey our damaged federal beach projects to determine if emergency renourishments are needed”, said Harrah.

Harrah says,  if additional FCCE funds are needed once authorized it is appropriated by congress as emergency response funding through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

To date, the following projects have been completed:

FCCE projects

  • Lee County Gasparilla
  • Brevard County South Reach
  • Palm Beach County Jupiter Carlin
  • Palm Beach County – Delray Beach
  • Palm Beach County – North Boca
  • Palm Beach County – Ocean Ridge

To date, projects that remain include:

  • Broward County Segment II – Awarded, scheduled completion April 2022
  • Broward County Segment III – Scheduled for award in Feb 2021

Construction Long-Term

  • Dade County Contract A
  • Dade County Contract B
  • St. Johns County (Vilano) – Construction completion scheduled April 2021
  • Dade Sunny Isles – Construction completion scheduled Jan 2022
  • Dade Bal Harbor – Award anticipated May 2021
  • Dade Main Segment – Award anticipated June 2021
  • Flagler County – Award anticipated July 2021
  • St. Lucie County South – Award anticipated Sep 2021

In fiscal year 2020, USACE allocated more than $471 million for coastal risk management operations and maintenance priority repairs.

The Jacksonville District received $31.6 million to immediately address short-term repairs to seven authorized projects.

Today, the Flood Risk Management program is funded at an estimated $1.2 billion.

Currently, there are five supplemental coastal feasible studies remaining including: Dade County, Pinellas County, Miami-Dade Back Bay, Florida Keys Monroe and Collier County. Of which four will be complete with signing of the Chief’s Reports in September 2021 and the last will complete in October 2022.

As a result, these studies are important because they ensure recommendations for beach nourishment, storm surge barriers, protection of homes and critical building infrastructure like hospitals.

“The BBA 2018 funds received have allowed for the district to strengthen and reduce storm damage risks along Florida’s coastline,” said Harrah.

He says, some projects were reconstructed after previous storm damage, others are new with initial construction of beach and dune systems; several studies will ultimately lead to additional protection from the coastline and back bays.

“The beaches we construct serve as the first line of defense from approaching hurricanes. It’s true they are huge economic engines for the state and federal government with tourism, etc. but we construct these beaches to sacrifice themselves and avoid damage to homes, roads, utilities, and save lives,” Harrah said.

“It’s vital that we continue to restore our beaches not only for recreation but storm protection,” he said.

Flood Risk Management Construction ($3.3 billion)

Florida ($802.4 million)

Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation – $514.2 million

Coastal flood risk management:

Dade County – $158 million

Flagler County – $17.5 million

Manatee County – $14.3 million

Palm Beach County – $25 million

St. John’s County – $36.8 million

St Lucie County – $20.3 million

Enhanced resiliency in federal beach projects such as dunes; natural or hardened structures:

Brevard County – $2 million

Broward County – $2 million

Duval County – $2 million

Lee County – $2 million

Nassau County – $2 million

Sarasota County – $2 million

Studies or Investigations ($23 million)

South Atlantic Coastal Study – $18.4 million

Florida ($ 13 million)

Dade County GRR – $2 million

Collier County Beach Erosion Control – $3 million

Miami Back Bay CSRM – $3 million

Monroe County CSRM – $3 million

Pinellas County Feasibility – $2 million

Source

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