Posted by: reefrescue | May 29, 2014

Broward Staghorn Coral at Risk of Burial

Army Corp Issues Beach Renourishment Plan Destined to Smother Broward Coral Reefs

Public comment period now open!

Plan will put one million cubic yards of sand on the beaches and reefs from Pompano and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to Ft. Lauderdale.

browardstaghornRemember the coral poster child for Broward County’s reefs? Well these nearshore thickets of staghorn coral could soon be buried if the Army Corp moves forward with it’s latest beach renourishment plan for South Florida.

If you are a local diver, fisherman or if you care about our coral reefs; if you just want to see your grandchildren grow up to enjoy the reefs as you have this is your chance to speak up.

We have all seen the impacts from past beach projects. But, this one may be the worst yet. At risk to be buried is the federally protected thickets of nearshore staghorn and elkhorn coral and juvenile green turtle forage habitat.

We urge everyone who cares about our reefs and fisheries including the kids (never underestimate the impact of comment from the next generation) to send comments on the proposed project to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Comment Period is only open until June 14, 2014.

Send comments now!

WHERE TO SEND COMMENTS:   (Civil Works) and (Regulatory)

We would appreciate it if you also send a copy of your comments to or call if you need more local information Dan Clark, (   954-242-0327

WHAT TO SEND: Here’s a sample letter (try to personalize).

Ask that your comments be submitted to the official record of the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI) for the Broward County Segment II Shore Protection Project (Civil Works) and SAJ-1999-05545  (Regulatory)

RE: Request for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), General Reevaluation Report (GRR) and a Public Hearing for the Broward County Shore Protection Project

This permit would allow Broward County to conduct beach renourishment projects in Segment II (Hillsboro Inlet to Port Everglades).  Place approximately 1 million cubic yards of fill (truck haul sand) on the beaches of Segment II. This is of particular concern because potions of Segment II (Ft. Lauderdale) have never had a beach project.  The reefs in Ft. Lauderdale start just off shore and have never been buried and smothered as have the reefs to the north and south.

We must learn from the impacts of past projects, one of the lessons we have learned is that when you place millions of cubic yards of sand on our beaches, you impact the reefs in front of them. It is time we stop burying the reefs that help project the beach from impacts from storms.  The Army Corps has issued a FONSI, yet the permit application anticipates acres of reef and Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) will be buried and mitigation will be required.  This should disqualify this project from being reviewed under an EA and FONSI and require a more stringent review of this project.

We must not allow the environmental review process to cut corners when it comes to protecting the last of the great nearshore reefs left in Florida.  There is no place else left in the US where can you beach dive or snorkel off the beach and enjoy such a reef.  We owe it to the next generation to enjoy it as we have.

Lauderdale holds an irreplaceable wealth of marine resources such as:

Ancient corals, many hundreds of years old

Thickets of  Endangered Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

Endangered Elkhorn Coral, Acropora palmata

Enormous Gorgonian reefs

Ledges with over 44% hard coral cover (the Florida Keys has 4% coral cover).

Endangered Pillar Coral, Dendrogyra cylindrus

Essential Juvenile Fish Habitat. These habitats are an important part of the food web and support the different life cycles of many different species of fish. Their loss will have a cascading effect across the fisheries.

Endangered green sea turtle grazing grounds. The nearshore shallow hardbottom is unique habitat where algae grows that the juvenile sea turtles relay on for food.  The burial of similar habitat up and down the coast makes this area vital to the survival to the species.

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) should undertake an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), pursuant to 40 C.F.R. 1508.11 and a GRR prior to deciding whether or not to authorize the beach project in Segment II.

An EIS would allow the public, as well as other agencies, an opportunity to comment upon and bring issues to the attention of the ACOE. Several significant issues are involved concerning the authorization in question.  Those issues include, but not limited to:

Local divers are currently reporting the burial of nearshore reefs and hardbottom in Pompano Beach. The sand is coming from the recent ACOE Civil Works Project. The ACOE had claimed that there would be no impacts to the nearshore hardbottom and reef from this project because the sand was only being placed on the dry beach. For this reason this project was allowed to go on with a lesser environmental review then was needed. (See video of reef burial provided by local divers). There are several video’s documenting this problem:,,,

This is of concern because the sand used for this recent Army Corps Civil Works project shown in the videos is the same sand source proposed for use in the much larger Broward County project under review. The ACOE Civil Works project placed approximately 110,000 cubic yards of sand on the dry upland beach.  This new Broward County permit proposes to place approximately 1 million cubic yards of sand, much of it directly in the water, leading to greater reef burial and secondary impacts from silt, sediment and turbidity.

This review process must consider the cumulative impacts such as chronic silt, sediment and turbidity causing secondary impacts along with direct burial.  Cumulative impact from not only this project but other projects in the area such as the 2005-2006 Broward County Dredge and Fill project, whose impacts have still have not been mitigated for.  These impacts need to be considered along with the (a) Hillsboro-Deerfield Dredge and Fill project that has not been mitigated for (b) the recent ACOE Civil Works project which is currently burying reef in Pompano Beach, that has not been mitigated for and (c) the proposed expansion of Port Everglades with its destruction of over 28 acres of reef and onsite dredging that may take as long as a year to complete. The Port Everglades project alone will put a large amount of silt and sediments into the system. As if this was not bad enough Broward County dumped over a million tires off shore Ft. Lauderdale in the 1970’s and those tires have now migrated from their dump site in 60 to 80 feet of water and are now bouncing around on the Ft. Lauderdale reefs causing damage during every storm event.

The Army Corps must look at the cumulative impacts from all of these projects past, present and proposed as well as water quality, diseases, rise in sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification.  All of these factors must be considered when attempting to assess the anticipated impacts from Broward County Beach Project


Additional information:

Link for Broward Environmental Assessment (EA)  

More documents, drawing and plans are available at

Also see:

Sediment from dredging severely impacts coral reefs




  1. […] Notice for Project Corp Issues Beach Renourishment Plan Destine to Smother Broward Coral […]

  2. […] for the Broward County Shore Protection Project. Click here for more info and a link to the EA: Please forward this email to anyone you think may be interested in protecting are vanishing coral […]

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