Resident question on funding for beach project

March 1, 2016

A long term resident sent me the following question. "If Martin County is Federal and south St Lucie is State and County and self Pay and by self pay am I to assume we the residents will still have to continue to pay With assessments ... Wouldn't it be for the benefit of s st lucie and the residents to try to be not self pay and to be more federal or state or county ??? " Below is a copy of my answer.

 

The 3.4 mile area is presently in the Federal Feasibility Study.  This must be completed prior to officially being federally qualified.  Many of the same studies completed during the state / county / local project, were conducted using the federally required protocols to avoid duplicity. 

 

Every federal project has a local cost share but the majority of funding comes from the federal & state governments.  At this time, we are doing everything possible to maximize those two government levels of cost share.  

 

Both have certain public access requirements & related parking.  There are several areas in the 3.4 mile area where we need to fulfill those requirements, or pay a higher cost share.  

 

Defining Federal Project Boundaries: Island Dunes five buildings gave me authorization to represent them in the existing CBRA boundary to be certain Island Dunes Associations would not be excluded from the Federal cost share or project.  Success was achieved & Island Dunes' Associations  are officially within the federal beach project boundaries.

 

To answer your question regarding the 2 counties & St Lucie having to pay, here goes:

1.  Martin completed the Fed Feas Study and had already completed their first Fed Project when SLC was just starting the state required Recon Study.  We are not a federally funded project - YET.

2.  After the 2004 storms, Council Members requested an interim shore protection project, since the Fed Process can literally take decades.

3.  All Federal & State test protocols were followed to avoid duplicitous costs & save time (federally) as the "interim" project was being designed.

4.  We managed the first interim project, fulfilling all state requirements & also parallel the federal mandates.

5.  The Federal Government is now waking up & realizing that off shore sand resources must be used / managed using the smartest engineering designs / environmental plans possible to achieve the most resilient, sustainable, & regionalized shore protection projects possible.

 

This is where we get creative.  The SAND Study was a five county study of off shore sand supplies and each county's 50 year projected beach maintenance project needs.  

 

The five counties in the study are St Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, &  Dade.  Martin & St Lucie Counties have an abundance of off shore sand in federal waters.  Miami Beach Federal Project Managers (USACE) want the sand for Miami Beach.  

 

As you may know, Dade is out of sand & their 50 year renourishment project is coming to an end.  Due to the Continental Shelf running close to shore along the southern coastline,  sand that is off shore in the Dade / Broward area is too deep for accessing.  Miami would like to obtain Bahamian sand, but due to a federal mandate that requires "all domestic sand sources must be exhausted prior to considering use of any international sand sources" the Sand War began.

 

Since sand moves from north to south, it doesn't make sense to take from the northern most counties to use in the most southern location.  There would be NO benefit to any of the 5 counties other than Dade.

 

This is where "out of the box" creativity is required to find the balance / the win win.  My vision will balance the needs of the environment, protect property, infrastructure (A1A, FPL Nuclear Plant, etc) & regionalize the 5 counties' shore protection.

 

The first step would be a federal Pilot Project which is a HUGE undertaking, requiring interagency agreements, cooperation from county officials & everyone working together.  There is grant funding available and several oversight agencies I have spoken with in DC are already on board.

 

Bottom line - this type / size project cuts costs, extends maintenance intervals, ultimately causing less stress on the environment. 

 

Funding of Federal Projects is not "one size fits all."  Federal cost share is usually the largest percentage, followed by a large percentage from the state, then the remaining percentage balance is split between the county & stakeholders.

 

I know this is a tremendously long email but going into this creative Pilot Project, I will most likely have a Beach Blog where everyone's questions & related answers are posted. 

 

The beach process is a very complex process & always in the state of flux.

 

Sincerely,

Pat

 

 

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