We can stop this project if enough people get involved keep the pressure on the ACE don't stop
Cut and paste this to every elected offical you know...
Mike, the following is a list of the minimum information that needs to be acquired prior to commencement of middle reach beach 'restoration', although I would point out that the beaches are fine and don't need to be restored or renourished:
1) High-resolution maps of all Phragmatopoma reefs in the impact area. It would be advisable to map neighboring reefs that, although not in the project footprint, may be affected by the project. It would also be necessary to assess the density of live worms on the reef. This information will be essential to determining project impacts and the extent of worm rock reef restoration (if any) that is needed. I would also suggest that the associated community be quantified-it appears this has been done to some extent, but apparently not specifically with respect to the worm rock reefs.
2) A time frame of natural reef rebuilding. How long is long enough for the reefs to be given a chance to rebuild naturally before a restoration effort is initiated? These worms are short-lived animals so this time frame should not be more than three years. Quantitative targets should be established with respect to both the volume of living reef and the density of animals on those reefs.
3) At least one annual, seasonally based, survey of Phragmatopoma larval abundance, including an assessment of the relative contribution of allocthonous vs autocthonous larvae. This larval supply analysis should provide, as an outcome, an understanding of the larval sources (self-seeding vs inputs from other, potentially distant, worm rock populations) that maintain the population. Note that the contribution of locally generated larvae should be expected to go way down once the local populations are killed, so it is necessary to make sure that larvae are entering the area from other local populations and to understand the frequency of those inputs. Without those external contributions, there is little chance that the reefs will rebuild without human intervention in the form of aquaculture-based restoration.
4) A genetic study of worm rock reefs from throughout the metapopulation. These data will be used to ensure that the genetic integrity of the local population is maintaine or restored. This population needs to be placed within the context of the genetic character of the entire metapopulation, and any unique genetic characteristics identified and understood to as great a degree as possible.
This link provides a summary of the project including environmental impact assessment:
One of many things that bother me about this report is the discussion of hard bottom. The report states that there is (roughly) 31 acres of hard bottom and only perhaps 3 acres will be impacted. But that hard bottom is the coquina rock, not the worm rock. I did not find treatment of the potential impacts of the project on the living worm rock, but that is the key to the project. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council deems worm rock to be essential fish habitat. The live rock is the key to that habitat, much more so than the coquina itself. On page 228 they discuss that deployed substrate supported substantial Phragmatopoma recruitment in 15 ft or so of water. However, that recruitment occurs within the context of healthy and abundant local larval sources. After the Phragmatopoma populations are killed, and they may suffer 100% mortality, there will no longer be any local larval sources and there is no information available regarding allocthonous larval supply. This is a serious shortcoming.
I appreciate that a lot of work has gone into designing this project and assessing its consequences, and I have no doubt that there are thousands of printed pages available. I have not read all of that and I am coming in late on this. But, as private citizens, we do need to know that environmental impacts have been adequately assessed, all viable alternatives considered and vetted in public hearings, and ameliorative strategies devised and included. Based on the report referenced above and on the peer-review report (not attached), I don't see that all concerns have been addressed nor do I find evidence of viable response criteria with respect to "unintended consequences". Although the likelihood of this would be difficult to determine, there is a likelihood that the worm rock reefs within the middle reach will be destroyed and will not come back, at least on their own. Such an outcome will permanently alter the character of the beaches between Patrick Air Force Base (really, up to first light where there at least used to be a small patch of worm rock) and Indialantic, with concomitant permanent alteration to the ecology, physical dynamics, hydrodynamics (e.g., waves), and recreational opportunities that those beaches provide.
I'll do my best to learn more about the project and its possible consequences. If I was one of the thousands of residents who don't live in one of the potentially impacted beachfront condos but whose beaches will be substantially altered by this project, I would be concerned.