Big Fishweir Creek project receives funds to move into design phase

Next step to negotiate partnership agreement with the city

By Steve DiMattia
Resident Community News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed Big Fishweir Creek Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project recently received $100,000 in Design and Implementation funds to begin design, draft and negotiation of the Project Partnership Agreement with the City of Jacksonville.
“The next step will be to execute the PPA, which is contingent on Corps’ headquarters approval to execute and the city being prepared to provide their cost share,” said Amanda Ellison, local public affairs specialist for the Corps.

Ellison said that the funding source is a Congressional appropriation, not COJ funds. The PPA is only a small part of the $100,000 with the majority being used to begin design of the project.

A PPA is a legally binding agreement between the government and a non-federal sponsor (in this case, COJ) for construction of a water resources project. It describes the project and the responsibilities of the government and the non-federal sponsor in the cost sharing and execution of work, according to the USACE website.
Ellison said the execution date of the PPA is to be determined. The Corps drafts the PPA and then negotiates with the city.
The Big Fishweir Creek Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project’s goal is to restore a healthy aquatic habitat in the Big Fishweir Creek ecosystem. USACE wants to dredge the creek, reusing 32,000 cubic yards of sediment for the restoration and recreation of a 2.3-acre manmade marsh island that defined the area decades ago. Dredging will also create two converging channels and deepen the creek.

Total estimated project cost is $4.8 million ($3 million federal share, $1.8 non-federal).
The Corps held a well-attended community meeting about the project in March 2012, but there has been limited information to report as it has moved through the local and federal process, until now.

“This is good news for residents. This means we can begin design of the project, which will hopefully allow the project to move to construction sooner,” Ellison said.

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