Members of the Florida congressional delegation–including the state’s two U.S. senators–wrote U.S. Asst. Sec. of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James on Tuesday, urging him to restudy the aging flood control system created as a result of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project. Following passage and signing into law of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019, Congress has now provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with $35 million in investigation funding and $740 million in construction funding for flood and storm damage reduction projects in states and territories impacted by 2018 hurricanes and typhoons, including Florida.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., led the letter which also included U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Assistant Secretary James:
Following passage and signing into law of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019, Congress has now provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with $35 million in investigation funding and $740 million in construction funding for flood and storm damage reduction projects in states and territories impacted by hurricanes and typhoons in 2018, including Florida. As your office begins work with all three levels of the USACE to identify, evaluate, and take action on studies and projects eligible for this new supplemental disaster funding, I urge you to strongly consider funding a restudy of the aging flood control system created as a result of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project.
The C&SF Project was authorized by Congress in 1948 and has served as an invaluable contributor to the development and economic success of South Florida. The most recently completed restudy in 1999 served as a template for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), with the goal of restoring the region’s hydrological connectivity and ensuring the sustainability of South Florida’s water resources for people and the environment. A new restudy of the C&SF Project is overdue to ensure the cost-effectiveness and resilience of the region’s flood control system.
Specifically, a new C&SF Project Flood Control Restudy would assess the full extent of South Florida’s aging water management infrastructure. Building off the USACE’s concurrent efforts in the region through CERP and the South Atlantic Coastal Study, the restudy should also integrate the potential impacts of sea level rise and generally higher water tables into the engineering and design of improved flood control features. Importantly, the restudy should focus on maintaining current levels of flood control service throughout the region, including by proposing new projects as necessary, such as a South Dade Flood Protection Project to ensure comprehensive seepage management west of Krome Avenue in Miami-Dade County.
Facing dynamic new pressures on the existing flood control system, the USACE, working in concert with the South Florida Water Management District, now has a critical opportunity to improve the resilience of South Florida communities for decades to come. In accordance with all applicable rules and regulations, we encourage you to seize this opportunity to dedicate supplemental disaster funding to restudy the C&SF Project flood control system.