WEST PALM BEACH – The Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution at their Feb. 25 meeting calling for the review of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project.
The petition states:
WHEREAS in 1948, the United States Congress authorized the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project (“C&SF Project”) to provide flood control, provide water supply for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses, prevent saltwater intrusion, and protect fish and wildlife resources; and,
“WHEREAS, the C&SF Project has resulted in the construction of over 1,000 miles of canals and levees, as well as dozens of water control structures and pump stations, throughout Central and Southern Florida; and,
“WHEREAS, over the course of decades, the C&SF Project has substantially altered Florida’s natural and built environment to allow for development and agriculture and to improve Florida residents’ quality of life; and,
“WHEREAS, a restudy of the C&SF Project was conducted in the 1990s to address the project’s adverse environmental impacts considering the significant development that had taken place in Central and Southern Florida since the C&SF Project was authorized in 1948; and,
“WHEREAS, that restudy led to the creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (“CERP”), which the United States Congress approved in the year 2000; and,
“WHEREAS, despite the successes of CERP and the ongoing efforts to implement CERP, sea level rise, development, population growth, and saltwater intrusion, among other factors, have continued to change the environmental conditions under which the C&SF Project operates; and,
“WHEREAS, governmental entities and stakeholders have therefore advocated for further study of the C&SF Project, which the USACE is referring to as the C&SF Project Flood Risk Management Infrastructure Resiliency Plan Study; and,
“WHEREAS, a C&SF Flood Resiliency Study could identify improvements that need to be made to the C&SF Project and could prioritize the improvements that best meet future C&SF Project objectives, such as flood control, protection of drinking water from saltwater intrusion, and defense against sea level rise; and,
“WHEREAS, a C&SF Flood Resiliency Study could also be conducted in a manner that is complementary to CERP and incorporates nature-based and natural-infrastructure options; and,
“WHEREAS, conducting the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study in this manner could help ensure synergy and alignment with the USACE’s ongoing effort to restore the Everglades via CERP, which is a critical component of Palm Beach County’s environment, economy, and quality of life; and,
“WHEREAS, the USACE has initiated efforts to qualify for federal funding to conduct a C&SF Flood Resiliency Study; and,
“WHEREAS, in March 2020, the SFWMD agreed to participate as the local sponsor of the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study with the USACE; and,
“WHEREAS, in June 2020, the Mayors of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties urged United States Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as the members of the United States House of Representatives who represent districts within the SFWMD boundaries, to support the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study and to ensure that the study would receive federal funding; and
“WHEREAS, in October 2020, the Executive Director of the SFWMD urged United States Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to support the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study; and
“WHEREAS, in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2021 the United States Congress allowed for the USACE to begin eight new studies in the Investigations Account for the USACE Civil Works program, including three flood and storm damage reduction studies; two navigation studies; two environmental restoration studies; and one multi-purpose watershed study to address coastal resiliency; and WHEREAS, the USACE delivers an annual Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program to the United States Congress that designates eligible new start studies,
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA, that:
“Section 1. Palm Beach County urges the United States Congress to allow the USACE to begin an adequate number of new start studies in the Investigations Account for flood and storm damage reduction.
“Section 2. Palm Beach County urges the United States Congress to provide immediate funding for the USACE to conduct the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study.
“Section 3. Palm Beach County urges the USACE to select the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study as a new study and provide it with appropriate funding in an immediately upcoming Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program.
“Section 4. Palm Beach County urges the SFWMD, as the non-federal sponsor of the C&SF Project, to continue to support implementation and obtain adequate funding for the C&SF Flood Resiliency Study.
“Section 5. The County’s federal lobbyists, Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs staff shall advocate for the actions in Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.