The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is backing a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rework its plan to build a wall through Biscayne Bay after Miami-Dade County rejected the original proposal.
The Back Bay Study would have utilized various construction projects in the bay, such as flood gates, mangroves, building infrastructure upgrades and the wall. But Miami-Dade County rejected the $4.6 billion project Monday, forcing the Army Corps to go back to the drawing board.
Environmental advocates, such as EDF members, have pushed for investment in projects more directed at improving the local ecosystem and helping ameliorate the effects of climate change. Several local officials have also urged the Army Corps to adopt that approach, and they may now get their wish as the Corps reevaluates its plan.
“Healthy coral reefs and mangroves are great for Florida’s environment and economy. Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizes that these are also vital tools to build long-term climate resilience,” said EDF Florida Director Dawn Shirreffs.
“EDF has advocated that the Corps include nature-based solutions in Miami’s Back Bay study, and we are encouraged to see the Corps respond to feedback from EDF and others. We applaud the Corps for embracing equitable, nature-based solutions to build climate resilience in Miami, and we encourage agency leaders to prioritize similar solutions across our state.”
The reevaluation process will likely bleed into 2022. According to a Miami Herald report, Niklas Hallberg of the Army Corps said once a new proposal is submitted, it can take six to eight months to garner federal approval on top of time spent developing a new plan. Hallberg is an engineer who worked on the Back Bay Study.
Local officials haven’t opposed some sort of wall construction in Biscayne Bay. But they argued the Corps’ balance between concrete construction and more environmentally friendly options was off. The Corps will now work with county officials to determine whether an agreement can be made.