The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners directed staff to sign the required letter of support and financial certification and to accept the feasibility study developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for reducing coastal storm risk vulnerability for the Florida Keys. The plan is subject to further congressional authorization and funding availability.
The plan was developed under a 3-year Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study with the USACE and includes nonstructural and structural measures that will reduce the risk to the Florida Keys from coastal storms, including storm surge, sea-level rise, and other changing conditions which pose potential coastal storm risks. In late April 2021, the final feasibility report will be released for public review and the 3-year study will be completed in September 2021, at which time a Chief of Engineer’s Report will be signed by the USACE so the recommended plan can be potentially authorized into law by Congress.
The letter of support demonstrates the County’s willingness to participate in the implementation of the first portion of the plan but is not a contractual agreement. It only shows the County supports the plan and intends to participate in the potential future implementation of the project as a cost-sharing partner with the federal government. Monroe County is not required to contribute funding for the project until Congress has appropriated funding for implementation and a formal agreement is executed between USACE and the County.
The first portion of the proposed plan to move forward includes six revetment areas along U.S. 1 that have been identified as vulnerable to erosion and wave energy. In addition, voluntary residential elevations and floodproofing of commercial and critical infrastructure vulnerable to storm surge damage throughout the Florida Keys are included (see graph 1). USACE removed all acquisitions from the plan after additional analysis determined it was less cost-effective compared to the elevation of homes.
The project total is estimated at $2.6 billion, to be split 65 percent federal ($1.7 billion) and 35 percent non-federal ($893 million). Non-federal funds can come from state, county, municipalities, and other non-federal entities.
“We are already committed to making Monroe County as resilient as possible against the effects of future storms and sea-level rise,” said Roman Gastesi, Monroe County Administrator. “A partnership with USACE will allow us to tap into federal money to help offset resiliency costs to Florida Keys residents.”