The Port of Palm Beach and Army Corps of Engineers are trying to industrialize our marine park, recreation area, and environmental habitat – Peanut Island, Lake Worth Lagoon and Inlet – by deepening and widening the inlet and Intracoastal - so bigger ships, and more of them, can go in and out of the port.
The expansion is expected to have a big negative impact on the environment and the local tourism industry. Imagine trying to navigate your boat, kayak, standup board (SUP) or swim/dive, as 750 ft. ships are steaming nearby. It's a waterway accident getting ready to happen. In addition, storm surge during major storms and hurricanes is expected to increase flooding on properties around the Intracoastal.
Join the Lake Worth Lagoon coalition partners and the Civic Association to stop this expansion.
The Army Corps Plan
Final Recommended Port & Inlet Plan by USACE. The PBCA is against this plan. [Click picture to see larger image]
- Proposed Modifications Allowing 750 ft. Ships Access to Port:
- Entrance Channel depth from 35 to 41 feet, widening from 400’ to 440’-460’
- Inner Channel depth from 33’ to 39’, width from 300’ to 450’ minimum
- Notch Removal adjacent to Peanut Island
- Main Turning Basin depth from 33’ to 39 feet and expansion by 150’
Negative Impacts from the Project
Project will cause a host of direct, indirect and cumulative impacts to the human environment
- Safety & impacts to recreation & tourism business
- Impacts to manatees
- Impacts to sea grass
- Impacts to coral reef, nearshore hardbottom habitat
- Impacts to storm surge and coastal flooding
Currently 650’ ships crowd the inlet. Proposal would increase to 750’. Safety is major concern. Boaters are already at risk.
Manatees at Port of Palm Beach
- Primary warm water sanctuary
- 25% of east coast population uses this immediate area
- Affected by construction & operation
- Vessel Strikes
- Construction will disrupt feeding / movement
- Potential thermal changes of deepening channel & basin
Safety & Recreation
- This is predominately a residential and recreation area. Boaters will have to compete for space with large ships.
- Army Corps proposal ignores impacts to residents, private property, and recreation users, including boaters, fisherman, snorkelers, kayakers, divers, surfers, and others.
- Channel will be moved significantly closer to major recreation resources.
- Construction vibration will damage nearby homes.
- Peanut Island – swimming areas
- Lake Worth Inlet – fishing, diving
- Public safety – Increased draft, suction, erosion were not analyzed in Corps study
- Potential maritime accidents with larger vessels in and out of confined port and passageways
Seagrass and Hardbottom Habitat
Significant unmitigated loss of important seagrass and hardbottom habitat. Valuable food, shelter and nursery functions to commercial and recreational fisheries. Natural infrastructure cannot be replaced via mitigation.
Snook & Fish Breeding & Feeding Habitat
Corps acknowledges 4” increase in storm surge as a result of project but dismisses as insignificant.
No explanation of impact in terms of surrounding area, even after request by EPA for further analysis.
When combined with sea level rise that has already occurred and that expected in the future, a 4” rise could be significant in terms of infrastructure, homes, and businesses affected.
Category 1 hurricanes recently caused flooding on Lake Trail all the way into Lake Way and other properties 1 block east of the Intracoastal. Higher categories will cause more flooding deeper inland with more water from project.
Lack of Need
Claimed basis for the project – existing port conditions are resulting in transportation costs, safety issues and inadequate service- is unsupported.
Annual tonnage and vessel calls have steadily declined over the past several years due to market conditions.
Its unlikely many of the Port’s commodities and fleets will increase significantly in the future.
Failure to Rigorously Explore and Objectively Evaluate a Range of Reasonable Alternatives
Army Corps proposal only looks at the impacts of the proposed project vs. no action.
Fails to closely examine non-structural improvements or structural measures that call for less widening.
Failed to include a range of options, including options that have far fewer environmental and economic impacts than the proposed project.
Failed to consider that Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and other ports, that are already expanding, will be the best option for economic growth without the environmental, economic, and safety impacts.