Posted by: reefrescue | April 27, 2013

Palm Beach must build coral nurseries to offset beach renourishment damages

Town of Palm Beach must build coral nurseries and transplant 5,000 coral colonies as penalty for past reef damage.

In April 26, 2013, correspondence The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) directed the Town of Palm Beach to build artificial reefs and coral nurseries to offset reef damage caused by the 2003 and 2006 Mid-Town beach renourishment projects.

[Editors note: there have been many recent news reports of reef damage related to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock’s, 2013 Palm Beach Inlet and Delray Beach renourishment projects. This article reports on mitigation to compensate for reef burial from Palm Beach’s 2003 and 2006 projects]

As reported in our December 2009, Reef Rescue Blog, the FDEP rejected assertions from the Town of Palm Beach’s consultants (CPE) that the Mid-Town beach renourishment projects had no impact on the nearby coral habitat. Prompted by complaints from volunteer divers (sound familiar) that as much as of 26 acres of Breaker’s Shallow Reef was buried by beach renourishment sand the FDEP directed Palm Beach to reassess their findings. New consultants were hired and a new report issued – this time the consultants found buried reef.

As a condition for FDEP to allow future renourishment projects in the area, Palm Beach must build acres of mitigation reef, transplant 5,000 coral colonies and monitor the nurseries for the next 10 years. Project costs are expected to exceed many millions of dollars.

UPDATE, April 29 Palm Beach Daily News:  The reefs…have been destroyed, said Connie Gasque, a Palm Beach resident and member of Palm Beach County Reef Rescue. Gasque was one of the divers who discovered the damage and reported it to DEP.  “A DVD from 2000 shows an absolutely viable reef with coral, octocoral, sponges and fish,” Gasque said. Now there is nothing. The Town of Palm Beach killed off a viable reef at Ballentines and the Cable Crossing.”

Read more: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/dep-says-town-must-build-artificial-reef-costs-yet/nXbr8/

FDEP April 26, 2013, correspondence: http://www.scribd.com/doc/138256709/FDEP-Mid-Town-Mitigation-0164713-010-JN

Dec. 2009, Reef Rescue Blog: https://reefrescue.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/the-town-of-palm-beach-may-have-to-pay-millions-for-reef-damage/

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