River dredging next needs county pact for land parcel
start dredging the Miami River by mid-2001, says Jerry Scarborough,
project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers, a sponsorship
agreement with Miami-Dade County must be in place by August.
that the Miami River Commission has won local funding from the state,
county and City of Miami for the project, officials are focusing on
the next hurdle facing the $80 million job. Before design work and
permit applications can proceed, Army Corps officials say, the county
as project sponsor must make available at least 10 acres
within one mile of the river.
land is used to dry dredged material before it is trucked to landfills.
"Without the lands we can't move forward," Mr. Scarborough
Hernstadt, capital improvements coordinator for Miami-Dade County,
said two county real estate departments are looking at available properties
in the heavily developed areas surrounding the Miami River. He said
he is optimistic about the prospect of using land purchased by the
Florida Department of Transportation for an intermodal transportation
center. However, he said, state officials are concerned that the dredging
not interfere with construction plans.
looking at all available options to try to resolve this as quickly
as possible," Mr. Hernstadt said. "It's a priority for us.
Once it became known that the river was likely to be dredged, things
there in terms of development and speculation have picked up interest.
It's not easy to find a 10-acre parcel that fits our needs."
Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires the land as
a condition to issue a dredging permit, said David Miller, executive
director of the Miami River Commission.
securing the 10 acres, the Army Corps will ask the state for water
quality certification, a permit required by the Clean Water Act, said
environmental attorney Scott Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell said the dredging
creates few environmental issues. Due to past alterations, the river
is little more than a canal, he said.
regulators will be concerned about the river's effect on the Biscayne
Bay aquatic preserve. To get a dredging permit, the Army Corps must
convince regulators that dredging will clean up the river.
not making it worse," Mr. Mitchell said. "Certification
should not be a bar."
a sponsorship agreement is final, Mr. Scarborough said the Army Corps
will request contract proposals. He said he hopes to advertise the
project by February 2001, with dredging to begin by mid-year.
dredging could interrupt river traffic, Mr. Scarborough said the Army
Corps will work with the Coast Guard and the shipping community to
coordinate bridge closings. He said bridges would not be closed for
more than a few hours, probably during late night hours.
the Miami River Commission is focusing on lobbying for a $5.7 million
federal appropriation included in a water-and-energy bill that is
part of a 2001 budget now being assembled by Congress. The appropriation,
which must be approved by the president, would become available after
Miller said the government already has appropriated $5 million for
dredging in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
federal government last year committed to pay 80% of costs for the
five-year project. Mr. Miller said Miami River Commission members
have visited Washington to met with local senators and representatives
to secure project support.
at the point where we really need to determine the piece of property
that will be utilized for the dredging operation," Mr. Miller
said. "Everything else the funding, the political support
everything is ready to go once we determine the location."