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CORPS COMMITS FUNDING TO PORT EVERGLADES PROJECT

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Report was recently signed for the Port of Everglades project in Broward County, Florida. In early July, it received its first round of funding from the Corps for the design phase.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Report was recently signed for the Port of Everglades project in Broward County, Florida. In early July, it received its first round of funding from the Corps for the design phase.

On July 7, local elected official gathered at Port Everglades in Broward Country, Florida to announce a $1.2 million funding measure from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to proceed with the pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) phase.

Corps spokesperson Susan Jackson said the project is authorized for design but not construction. General investigation funding may be used for the PED phase, as the Corps continues to seek further authorization for construction.

On June 26, Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick signed the Chief’s Report for the Port Everglades project.

The Chief’s Report certifies that the project is environmentally sound and economically beneficial. The Corps’ Civil Works review board approved the plan on February 27. For more on the Port of Everglades study and project plan, see the July/August 2015 issue, page 36.

Local elected officials, port executive and local businesses gathered on July 7 at the port, in celebration of the project moving forward.

“Our modifications to the draft mitigation plan reflect a strong cooperative effort with NOAA National Marine Fisheries and state agencies to select a sound plan for unavoidable impacts to hardbottom and reef habitats,” said Corps Project Manager Cynthia Perez. Integrated in the plan are lessons learned from the Miami Harbor project; the Corps anticipates learning more in the future as monitoring and assessment continues. (For more on the Miami harbor deepening project, see the January/February 2015 issue, page 16.)

The environmental mitigation plan includes creating five acres of artificial reef, relocating roughly 11,500 corals, out-planting 103,000 nursery raised corals to existing reef enh ancement areas, and other mitigation and monitoring features. Plans include upfront mitigation for indirect effects from sedimentation and turbidity, as well as mitigation for impacts associated with the potential movement of rubble below dredge depth, Corps Biologist Terri Jordan-Sellers said.

The Corps anticipates completing the PED phase in two to three years. Construction of the project is subject to authorization and appropriations, and would likely take five years to complete, the Corps said.

To celebrate the initial funding step forward, members of Congress joined Port Everglades’s Chief Executive Steven Cernak and other local business leaders at the port on July 7. Members of Congress who spoke at the event included Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D–FL), Frederica Wilson (D–FL), and Lois Frankel (D–FL).

The Corps funding will allow the design phase to begin this fall and be ready for construction before receiving Congressional authorization.

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