TRP’s Davenport Credited with Key Role in Beach Restoration Project

A recent article for The Islander News cites Thorn Run Partners’ Jim Davenport for his role in securing Congressional support in adding the Village of Key Biscayne to Miami-Dade County’s federal beach restoration project. Village Council Member Gary Gross credited Davenport’s role in securing the a letter signed by members of the Miami-Dade Country Congressional Delegation — including Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) — to the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing their support for the beach restoration efforts. “We support of the Village’s and County’s efforts to have the Key Biscayne shoreline included in the Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project,” the letter states. “We also support the Village’s request to participate in Section 111 of the Continuing Authorities Program, which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to initiate investigations and studies in the interest of mitigation of shore damage attributable to Federal Navigation work.”

The article in its entirety can be read below:  

A show of support: Entire Dade Congressional Delegation backs Key’s beach restoration efforts

Kelly Josephsen, The Islander News

Jul 20, 2018

All four members of Miami-Dade County’s Congressional Delegation have signed onto a letter supporting adding Key Biscayne to the County’s federal beach restoration project.

Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congressmen Mario Diaz Balart and Carlos Curbelo all signed a letter to R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Village Council member Gary Gross, who has been spearheading the effort from the Council level, shared the good news: “This was the first step needed for us to be considered for inclusion by the Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.

“This is a huge achievement. We are clearly making progress in getting a long-term solution to our beach erosion problem.”

The letter states, “We support of the Village’s and County’s efforts to have the Key Biscayne shoreline included in the Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project. We also support the Village’s request to participate in Section 111 of the Continuing Authorities Program, which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to initiate investigations and studies in the interest of mitigation of shore damage attributable to Federal Navigation work.”

On the first request, the ACOE and Miami-Dade County are working on a feasibility study for reauthorization when the federal project expires in 2025. The letter states adding the Village would achieve a comprehensive approach to regional beach management by including all coastal beach areas that provide erosion control to upland infrastructure and public beach access.

The second request goes to the Village’s position that Key Biscayne’s beach erosion has been heightened by the coastal inlet at Government Cut that the ACOE constructed in 1904. The letter notes, “The inlet acts as a barrier to littoral drift, thereby impacting downdrift beaches to the south including Fisher Island, Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. This influence is documented in several studies that have been completed since the 1960s.”

Gross credited the Village’s beach restoration consultants, including Colleen Castille, Spencer Crowley and Jim Davenport for their efforts in obtaining the letter.

Meanwhile, beach restoration was also a big topic of discussion during a Capital Improvements Plan workshop July 17. During public comment, former Vice Mayor Mike Davey, a candidate for Mayor, talked about how important it is to plan a large-scale project – especially since there is talk of re-dredging Government Cut to accommodate new larger vessels.

“We’re essentially shoveling against the tide, almost literally,” Davey said.

Meanwhile, the proposed CIP for Fiscal Year 2019, which runs October 1-September 30, 2019, includes $250,000 for beach restoration and $25,000 for dune restoration.

Building, Zoning and Planning Director Sergio Ascunce said the funding is for an interim small beach restoration project that could start in November after sea turtle nesting season ends. The project, which would involve trucking in sand from Central Florida, would serve as a “band-aid” until a larger project could be done.

Ascunce added the dune work is also essential, as the dunes protect against more erosion.

Meanwhile, also on the 17th, Village Manager John Gilbert said state inspectors are visiting the Key in July to review possible reimbursement for the last “band-aid” project. Gilbert will report back when the Council resumes meeting in August.

Finally, the Council also approved a resolution confirming the Village’s ability to fund and support the permitting, design, construction and monitoring of its beach restoration project. The action is a formality that is required by regulatory agencies.