- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is floating a $4.6 billion plan to protect the most vulnerable areas in Miami-Dade County, Florida, from future coastal flooding and storm surge damage. The plan is part of the $3 million, three-year Miami-Dade Back Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study, which is examining current and future storm management strategies.
- The proposed plan focuses on seven geographic areas and would include the construction of storm surge barriers with floodwalls and pump stations, as well as nonstructural measures like home elevations and flood-proofing. The plan also includes the flood-proofing of infrastructure outside of the seven areas but still within the county and one nature-based feature at a site in Cutler Bay, about 17 miles south along the coast from the city of Miami.
- The study is set to end in September 2021, and, If the plan receives congressional approval, the project should enter the preliminary engineering and design phase in 2022 at the earliest. The non-federal sponsor, Miami-Dade County, would take on 35% of the project costs. The Army Corps is taking public comments on the plan until July 20.
In a Center for Climate Integrity study published last year, the center determined that the U.S. will likely have to spend $400 billion during the next 20 years in order to protect the country's coastal areas from sea-level rise. This will necessitate the construction of 50,000 miles of coastal barriers in 22 states. Such an initiative would cost 130 counties at least $1 billion and 14 states, including Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland at least $10 billion by 2040.
Another coastal protection program being implemented by the Army Corps is the $3.9 billion Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management project. In February, the Army Corps awarded Galveston Coastal Services Joint Venture, comprised of Stantec and Jacobs, a $1.9 billion piece of the project — a 26.7-mile-long levee and floodwall system along the coast near Galveston, Texas.
The eight-year project will include:
- 15.6 miles of new levees.
- 10.7 miles of new concrete floodwalls and gates.
- Seven new pump stations.
- 453 acres of restored marsh.
- 560 acres of preserved, forested wetlands.
The Sabine Pass project will also cover similar flood-control work in the Texas counties of Brazoria and Jefferson.
The Sabine Pass initiative was one of four potential projects for an Army Corps public-private partnership (P3) pilot program but is no longer under consideration.
In 2018, Texas received $5 billion in post-Hurricane Harvey federal funding so that it could mitigate the risk of future storms. The money covers the Sabine Pass project, several other coastal protection projects and the $1.9 billion Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study, which is evaluating the "Coastal Spine" proposal that would add surge gates to the Galveston sea wall and extend it to the entire Houston-Galveston region during hurricanes. The cost is estimated to be between $4 billion and $6 billion.