There have been several developments regarding  these issues during the summer months.  Attached please find a summary for those who have not followed the press and other sources on these subjects.  As summer ends and some of our seasonal residents return,  the HBCA  wants to remind everyone of the importance of continuing  to replenish our beaches for safety and conservation purposes.  Your comments will be appreciated.Thank you.

Frank De Risi , VP HBCA.


On July 23, 2013, The U.S. Army Core of Engineers presented to the community, in a public meeting, a feasibility study for the proposed deepening of Port Everglades from 42 to 48 feet. The Federal Government would provide for two thirds of the costs. The rest would come from state funds and fees paid by ships using the port.  The total cost of the project is $313 million. According to the study, for every $1 spent, $1.60 will be given back to the nation.

In order to keep Port Everglades competitive with other eastern U.S. ports, the deepening of the channel is critical in order to accommodate larger vessels that will be traveling through a deepened Panama Canal.  The existing 42 deep channel at Port Everglades will not provide adequate and safe transit for the larger ships.   The study indicated that every effort was made to minimize environmental impacts but some would be unavoidable.   Public comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was due in August. It is expected that various environmental groups and the divers association will submit comments and/or objections to the project.

Lorie Mertens –Black , director of Parking and Intergovernmental Affairs  provided  HBCA with a summary of a letter sent by the City of Hollywood  to the U.S. Army Core of Engineers regarding the EIS ( the full summary is attached below).  The city points out that the environmental study fails to recognize that the historic and chronic erosion of the beaches south is directly attributable to the effects of the inlet. The environmental study briefly references the sand by-pass project attributing it to the County rather than citing it as a possible mitigation project for the deepening. Furthermore, there is no consideration of the possible negative environmental  impact the deepening will have on thebeaches and infrastructure to the south. City staff will continue to monitor the progress of the project and the county’s efforts on sand by-passing. We thank Lorie for this key information.

On August 16, The Sun Sentinel reported that the National Fisheries Service indicated that the study “ significantly understates the project’s impact to sea grass, coral reef and mangrove habitat and underestimates the amount of work that would be needed to mitigate the damage”.  The article further indicates that “fisheries would escalate this matter to higher authorities if its concerns are not resolved, steps that could delay a project in the works for 17 years”.  The article also points out that the Environmental Protection Agency filed a letter seconding many of the fisheries findings.   The full articles online access can be found below.

On August 20, 2013, The HBCA asked Eric Myers, Natural Resources Administrator, Broward County, the following questions in view of the reaction to the study.   Mr. Myers indicated that it is impossible to predict future events but the responses represent what he expects to see.  We thank Mr. Myers for these opportune comments.

HBCA:   Will the reaction from the environmentalists to the Port Everglades Project ignite additional concerns from these groups to the sand by-pass?


Mr. Myers:   I don’t think the environmentalists will have additional concerns. The environmental community has long supported this project.  I don’t have any reason to think that would change as a result of Port Everglades’ project.


HBCA:  Do you expect a less positive reaction to the by-pass by the neighbors who lately seemed somewhat at peace with the new shallower by-pass proposal?


Mr. Myers:  There might be some linkage to another large project in the area; I would hope that the neighbors will continue to appreciate our efforts to work with them.


HBCA :  Will your work-study be delayed because of  the changes that are likely to occur to the deepening of channel  proposed project ?


Mr. Myers:  I don’t think so; the changes should not have a significant effect on any modeling or performance evaluation.



The HBCA welcomes any progress that can be made on both the deepening of Port Everglades and the Sand bypass and thanks all those involved for their work.  We are also aware that any direct  benefits to our beaches will not be experienced for years, even if actual work was currently underway. The safety, in case of storms, and the conservation of our beaches can not wait.  Therefore, we continue to  urge our elected officials to prepare an alternate plan of action,  in case the chronic delays in these projects continue to hinder any real progress . 

The HBCA is ready to help in any way it can.


                                                       End of summary 




The city of Hollywood submitted formal comments to the US Army Corps for port EIS.  The  general summary of the comments below was provided by Lorie Mertens- Black


1. While the study does concede that Port Everglades is a complete barrier to littoral transport, both studies fail to recognize this condition as an environmental impact.  Neither study specifically assesses this impact nor proposes any minimization or mitigation.  The historic and chronic erosion of the beaches to the south (beaches along John U. Lloyd State Park, Hollywood, Dania Beach and Hallandale Beach)  is directly attributable to impacts from the inlet.  The studies fail to acknowledge this fact, do not adequately quantify the extent and magnitude of down drift potential impacts both in terms of existing conditions and proposed alternatives.  The studies also fail to provide an appropriate mitigative response.  This point is of particular concern regarding the EIS as a failure to identify a major environmental impact which affects both designated critical habitat and listed species, and is contrary to EIS development guidelines.

2. Both studies fail to acknowledge the historic lack of effective sand bypassing or propose future alternatives to mitigate impacts to the down drift shoreline.  Both studies reference bypassing planning efforts by Broward County which have not been implemented and are beyond the jurisdiction or direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

3. The study does not specifically address the potential for beneficial use of beach compatible dredge spoil to mitigate down drift impacts.  In total the preferred alternative prescribes the excavation of more than 5 million cubic yards of material, none of which was seriously considered for beneficial use to mitigate the well-documented impact of the inlet on the down drift beaches.  The supporting geotechnical investigations are lacking in sufficient design detail to assess the potential for beneficial use of beach compatible portions of the proposed dredge spoil.  Further, both studies assume that all maintenance of dredged material will not be considered for beneficial use but will be deposited offshore within the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) facility.

4. The social and economic impacts of the inlet deepening as they relate to the adjacent beaches are not addressed in either the EIS or the Feasibility Study.  The beaches of South Florida are an important economic engine and as the inlet is acknowledged to be a barrier to sediment transport in the region, changes to the inlet system will have potential adverse environmental and economic impact s to down drift communities.  Beaches are buffers from storm protection and serve as the basis of tourism revenues for beachfront communities south of the inlet.  The costs for maintaining a healthy beach system and the burdens of those costs on the down drift communities must be evaluated as part of the process.  Alternatives to offshore disposal, such as beneficial use of dredged material as beach fill, are acknowledged but are inappropriately ruled out because of cost reasons.  These should be reconsidered in light of socio-economic impacts of maintaining a healthy beach system.