We appreciate all of the efforts of the Army Corp and SLC Erosion District to bring this meeting to the Council members, during this challenging time. Trisston Brown, USACE Jacksonville District, moderated the discussion. Additional USACE representatives attended, along with SLC Erosion District staff members.
The information discussed has been placed on the PC website and is available for viewing (slide reference # provided in the summary).
USACE Presentation – Trisston Brown Moderator
The USACE project study was explained to understand the background, criteria for the project selection (slide #4-7, 9, 10), schedule and plans for the “initial start” project, interval schedule for “periodic” re-nourishment projects, project costs and the funding cost share allocations.
The project area is the same 3.3+/- miles included in the 2013 nourishment project and will be part of the 50-year federal funded program. Presently the timeline calls for the “initial start” construction to begin November 2021 and completion by May 2022, which determines the start of the 50-years. The cost of the project is $20.3+/-MM and federal cost share of 35%. The “periodic project” interval is every 18 years with a 27% federal share. Surveys are done every year to determine how the fill is performing and based on those results, the interval may be adjusted. (Slide #7, 8, 11,12, 22)
Authorized 50-year federal projects are eligible to apply for FCCE (Flood Control & Coastal Emergencies) funds, if significant damage is caused by a federally declared emergency storm event. This is similar to an insurance policy and if certain threshold of losses is met, it may be 100% federally funded. Construction of the “initial start” project must be underway to be eligible for these funds. If damage occurs before November 2021, it is not eligible for the federal project funds but, FEMA funds may be available. (slide #8)
Increasing public beach accesses can increase federal cost share for the initial start from 35% up to potentially 65%, if an additional 3 strategically located qualifying public access points are acquired. The “periodic project” federal cost share would similarly be increased from 27% up to 50% with the additional access points. These are critical to reducing the “local cost” throughout the life of the project. Documentation for these accesses will be needed no later than June/July 2021 to receive the increase in federal funding. (slide #19, 20).
Martin County and SLC projects cannot be compared due to their significant differences in design. SLC is to receive an updated “full dune template”, which is expected to protect the infrastructure longer than the Martin County dune. Martin is on a 13/14-year nourishment cycle. (Slide #21)
“Perpetual Construction Easement” (PCE) Preview – Joshua Revord (SLC)
Joshua previewed the “Perpetual Construction Easements”, which are needed to allow sand to be placed on the beach. These easements are similar to the 2013 temporary project agreements but, extended for the life of this project. The Construction Easements, including acquisition, recording with the court and reporting to the Corp by SLC, need to be in place prior to the Corp finalizing the “specs” for construction bids, by June 2021. Beachfront without construction easements will be
eliminated from the project. The County plans to send out the draft package to impacted associations and other beachfront property owners and will follow up with onsite meetings to discuss. The draft package provided on the PC website is very representative of any final Construction Easement Agreement. (Slide #17).
Important Next Milestone
Signing the pending Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) or “contract” with the Army Corp. is the next important USACE milestone. Discussion made clear that prior to its signing, that SLC staff and/or Commissioners seek a more definitive plan, about sources for the “unfunded local share” of $8.3+/-MM. The “local share” may be paid by SLC and/or the local property owners. The new So. HI MSTU allocates any levy (based on assessed taxable value) and it may be over a number of years. Though made much more challenging due to COVID-19 and its potential adverse effect on county revenues, the staff will be working throughout the summer to prepare the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning October 1st, 2020. Accordingly, the clarity sought might be as early as July and at the latest September for signing the PPA.
Trisston Brown plans to send out the project schedule timeline (including PPA, construction easements, acquisition of additional beach access points, design completion, etc.) and SLC will work with the Corp to finalize.
Harvey Alligood closed out the meeting by thanking the Corp and asked that any follow up questions regarding the project be forwarded to Joshua Revord for response. Contact information is: Joshua Revord, SLC Senior Coastal Engineer (Ph 772-462-1269), email (RevordJ@stlucieco.org). Please share your question and the reply with us at PCOFHI@gmail.com Thank you.
Resources available on the PC website (pcofhi.com)
USACE Presentation Package (28 slides).
SLC Preview Presentation Package -"Construction Easements".
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