Beach Blues: Village Hoping Army Corps Will Reconsider Renourishment Decision
Key Biscayne is working with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to reverse a negative decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about long-term renourishment of island beaches, officials said.
Beach renourishment, long a Village Council priority, was dealt a setback when the Corps wrote May 13 that Key Biscayne fell short of federal requirements needed for participation in the Shore Protection program, which is handled at the County level. Many Miami-Dade municipalities are part of the program, but Key Biscayne is not.
The program would transfer most beach protection costs to the federal government. The Corps wrote that Key Biscayne does not have a sufficient number of public beach access points, and that public transportation to the beach access points is not within a quarter-mile of those access points.
The Council authorized Village Manager Andrea Agha to respond to the Army Corps’ concerns at the last Council meeting. Agha wrote last week that the Village can open new public access points in the central and south areas of the Village, but will have to review historical agreements and easements to do so. As for transportation, Agha wrote that Key Biscayne is willing to expand the FreeBee ridesharing service to ensure public access.
Agha says in addition to Gimenez, the Village has gotten support from its entire U.S. Congressional delegation to add Key Biscayne to the program. The Corps has asked that the County respond by later this month, she said.
While participation in the program is the long-term goal, Agha said she believes an interim beach renourishment will be needed soon, and said there is a pending $2 million grant request to fund the work.