USACE Finalizes Environmental Assessment on Sand Sources

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, has concluded that the proposed use of alternative sand sources throughout the remaining period of federal participation in the Dade County, Florida Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project will cause no significant impacts to the environment.

A recently finalized Environmental Assessment (EA) contains the finding.

The assessment analyzed new information about the environmental impacts of using a combination of domestic sand sources to renourish parts of Miami-Dade County beaches.

The sand sources include two borrow areas in federal waters offshore of southeast Florida, two sites in near shore waters off of Miami-Dade County (Baker’s Haulover Inlet ebb shoal and Lummus Park in Miami Beach) and three upland sand mines.

The Corps made the draft document available for public review from July 31 to Oct. 2, 2015, and held public meetings during that period in Miami-Dade, Martin County and St. Lucie counties.

“This approval clears the way for the project to use sand from these potential sources, subject to state permitting,” said project manager Jason Harrah.

“We are currently scheduled to award a contract to place approximately 200,000 cubic yards of sand on two hotspots in Miami Beach in June. We’ll be using trucks to haul material from an upland sand mine for this part of the project.”

The Corps prepared a Limited Re-evaluation Report, which includes an economic analysis of the project. This report, combined with the environmental assessment, lays out a sand source plan for future renourishment.

Within the southeast Florida region (St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties), the existing sediment resources exceed the sediment needs for all federal and non-federal projects through 2062 by more than 100 million cubic yards.

To use sand from the two sites located in federal waters offshore of southeast Florida, the Corps and the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which is responsible for managing the extraction of offshore minerals from America’s outer continental shelf.

BOEM has partnered with coastal communities, states and other federal agencies to build coastal resilience for more than 20 years through its Marine Minerals Program.

As stewards of these resources, BOEM ensures that the extraction of offshore minerals is conducted in a safe and environmentally sound manner, and that any potentially adverse impacts on the marine, coastal, or human environments are avoided or minimized.

The Corps will also obtain all necessary state permits to place material on the beach.