The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $4.6 billion investment to address storm surge risk in our region. This proposal, called the "Back Bay Study," proposes a range of "grey" infrastructure options like seawalls and flood gates, but largely leaves out nature-based solutions like mangrove and restoration and living shorelines. You can read the full proposal HERE.
Community partners recently submitted a letter to the Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioners supporting alternative uses for the federal funds associated with the Back Bay study.
Map illustrating the structural measures (storm surge barriers, pump stations, and seawalls), focus areas, and risk management areas that the USACE Back Bay Study will be taking into account to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding. (Source: USACE; Miami Herald).
The USACE’s Back Bay Study falls short in a number of ways. To begin, it does not prioritize community equity across Miami-Dade County, particularly as under-resourced communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Additionally, the Plan does not consider nature-based solutions (NNBFs) and rather favors ‘grey-infrastructure’ as a preliminary solution to increased flooding and storm surge. In sum, in its current form, the project creates equity problems, exposes areas to increased flooding, and does not address chronic flooding.
Miami Waterkeeper, The CLEO Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, Catalyst Miami and several other community-wide organizations* are recommending a revision to the project’s proposal in the form of a "locally preferred plan" that puts the community and ecosystem first. A letter was sent to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on July 23, 2020.
*The following organizations signed the letter to the BOCC:
- Miami Waterkeeper
- The CLEO Institute
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Catalyst Miami
- The Miami Foundation
- Tropical Audubon Society
- Miami Climate Alliance
- Resilience Force
- Underwater HOA
- Engage Miami
- Ocean Conservancy
- The New Florida Majority
- Climate Power 2020
- Dade Heritage Trust, Inc
- National Parks Conservation Association
- South Florida Wildlands Association
- Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
Read the full letter to the BOCC HERE.
Miami Waterkeeper and partner groups will also be sending the USACE a technical comment letter reviewing the proposal and providing recommendations. We hope that our collective voices can incite a shift in the Corps’ strategy.
Interested in sharing your concerns on the Back Bay Study to the Corps? Read more HERE on how to submit written comments by August 19, 2020.