The Port of Palm Beach has announced its support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) decision to withdraw Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Permit for Lake Worth Inlet Dredging project.
Due to a rapidly-approaching deadline and additional funding needed for further research, the USACE decided to withdraw its permit application with the FDEP as it relates to the LW Inlet Project.
The FDEP required the Corps to further detail its plans for mitigating the environmental impacts that the project would have on hard bottom and sea grasses. The deadline for the FDEP to issue a Notice of Intent to approve the permit is July 2, 2014.
The USACE will await appropriations as assigned to the project in the Water Resource Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) to move forward with the research needed to meet the needs of the FEDP for the permitting of the Preconstruction, Engineering, and Design (PED) phase of the Lake Worth Inlet dredging project. WRRDA appropriations may be decided as early as this fall.
“This is not a setback for the Port of Palm Beach and its need to move forward with a dredging project to enhance the safety and maneuverability of the ships calling on the Port as well as safety of the recreational boaters around the inlet,” said Manuel Almira, Executive Director of the Port of Palm Beach. “This will give the Corps more time to further answer the environmental concerns that have been raised by the FDEP and those in opposition to the project.”
“This additional time and funding will make the Corps’ Study even stronger in the face of the scrutiny that the project has incurred,” Almira added.
The Lake Worth Inlet has been a Federal Channel since 1935. The USACE dredging project would increase the outer channel from 400 to 450 feet. The inner channel would increase from 300 to 450 feet. The channel depth would increase from 33 feet to 39 feet, while also placing approximately 425,000 cubic yards of beachgrade sand on the beaches of the Town of Palm Beach – at the Port’s expense.
Press Release, June 19, 2014