Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dredge & Fill Projects Like Reach 8 Don’t Work

Reach 8 would be a waste of taxpayer dollars in the millions because these projects don’t work and require frequent maintenance. Poor quality fill easily washes away. Tropical Storms & Northeasters recently illustrated how the use of poor quality dredged material is ill-advised.

Two examples are:

(1) The recently washed-away 2006 dredge and fill project by the Town of Palm Beach at Reach 7 (Phipps Park to the Par Three Golf Course);
(2) The recently washed away 2006 dune restoration project by the Town (within Reach 8), which was constructed of 6,000 truckloads of the same poor quality dredged material and caused increased unmitigated impacts to nearshore hardbottom in Reach 8.

Surfrider Foundation would posit that a false sense of security is being given to coastal residents who allow poor material to “protect” their property.

The Town of Palm Beach’s Project is also currently before the Army Corp, whom has not yet approved this project permit.

Surfrider Offers Settlement to Town of Palm Beach

Town of Palm Beach Snubs “Reach 8” Olive Branch

PALM BEACH August 27th- Rumors that the Surfrider Foundation, Snook Foundation and three individuals challenging the Reach 8 dredge-and-fill project had “initiated” the settlement are untrue. Surfrider et al. had simply returned to the table Friday afternoon with a written compromise, similar to those offered at various intervals in this fight, after the Town attorneys’ last-ditch request for a settlement option. A press conference will be held today to discuss the case and the proposed settlement terms.

12:10pm, Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Palm Beach Town Hall Steps, 360 South County Road, Palm Beach, FL

In the interest of keeping engineers and lawyers from fleecing Palm Beach taxpayers of upwards $20 million, the Town still refused the settlement offer. Surfrider et al. have rock-solid evidence proving that the project designed by Coastal Planning& Engineering (CPE) is fatally flawed. “The only possible result of this project is the destruction of the beach/reef ecosystems, displacement of surfing/fishing/diving communities, and a colossal waste of Town and State tax dollars” said plaintiff Captain Danny Barrow.

The Chapter had also offered the Town possibly the best collection of coastal science minds in the Country, to explore the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to manage and balance the Town’s coastal resources.

The administrative court process is not the only or last place the project is likely to be challenged. “The federal (Army Corps) permit still has not been issued, and the petitioners will challenge its issuance if necessary” said Petitioners’ attorney Jane West. Win, lose or draw, these decisions will likely face appeals by either losing both party. This is a process that could have been avoided by the Town. However, now the end is nowhere in sight.

The trial will carry on at the Town of Palm Beach, Emergency Operations Center, 355 South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida. The trial will continue through 29, September 2 through 6, and Sept 8 to 12, 2008.

Surfrider Trial Hearing Kicks off Monday August 25

PALM BEACH August 25th- After three years of strenuous work to protect the historic surfing, diving and fishing areas near the Lake Worth Pier, the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation goes to court over the Department of Environmental Protection’s and Town of Palm Beach’s planned $15 million dredge-and-fill project. The trial starts Monday at 9am at the Town of Palm Beach, Emergency Operations Center, 355 South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida. The trial will go from August 25 through 29, September 2 through 6, and Sept 8 to 12, 2008.

This is the first time in US history that a beach fill project will be challenged in court. The Chapter is joined by the Snook Foundation and 3 individual local plaintiffs. The Snook Foundation is dedicated to protecting Florida’s Essential Fish Habitat. Tom Warnke, Terry Gibson and Danny Barrow are local watermen who grew up fishing, surfing and diving in this area. Mr. Warnke is the District Director of the Eastern Surfing Association’s Palm Beach County District, Mr. Gibson is Fishing Editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, & Capt. Barrow is a longstanding fishing charter operator. In addition, the Eastern Surfing Association and the adjacent City of Lake Worth have joined as interveners in the case to support protecting these priceless environmental and recreational assets.

The intent of the Surfrider and Snook Foundation suit is to stop a project permit which threatens to destroy valuable and irreplaceable near-shore ecosystem and is not in the public’s interest. The project is expected to surround the Pier area with poor-quality, silty dredged material. Lake Worth's pier fishing, along with its world-renowned diving reefs in the northernmost area of the Caribbean's coral reef ecosystem, would be severely harmed, and at least six surfing peaks would be damaged.

The Chapter had offered the Town possibly the best collection of minds in the Country in coastal science, to explore the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to manage the region’s coastal resources with no avail. These experts will now be defending the Chapter and include the following:
Dr. Charles Peterson, Duke University
Dr. Hal Wanless, University of Miami
Dr. Orrin Pilkey, Duke University
Dr. Mike Salmon, Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Kenyon Lindeman, Florida Institute of Technology
Dr. Robert Young, Western Carolina University
Dr. Randy Parkinson, RWP Consultants, Inc.
Dr. Richard Weisskoff

A visit to Phipps Ocean Park just north of the project area shows the outcome of where $8 million was spent “nourishing” a stretch of beach. Within two years the reef rock, fine sands and silt the consultants guaranteed as “beach compatible” is mostly gone. This outcome also includes nearshore reefs that are near dead, turbidity remains a chronic issue for corals and the fishing/surfing resources and the revenue at the Lake Worth beach/pier are negatively affected. The Reach 8 project promises more of the same short comings.