Keaton Beach Canal Dredging Report 2005

Prepared by Justin Sapp, Marine & Natural Resource Extension Agent

Introduction

Prospective Project Engineers and author of 2002 preliminary Engineering report: Jones, Edmunds & Associates – Gainesville-based engineering firm that prepared the preliminary engineering report in October of 2002 for the Keaton Beach Canal Dredging Project. Primary Contact: Diane McDilda, Project Manager | (352) 377-5821 | dmcdilda@jea.net.

Updates to the conclusions and recommendations of the engineering report include

Revision/Update of Survey

The original survey, performed by Delta Land Surveyors under contract from Jones, Edmunds & Associates (http://www.delta-surveyor.com/ | 850-997-0301 or 850-584-2849 – primary contact: David L. Goodman) was "quite limited” (McDilda, June ’05). Due to this reason and the fact that 3 years have passed since the original survey, the canals should be re-surveyed to determine dredge volume. According to Dianne McDilda, the 2002 survey data can be used and additional data points can be added (as the original survey did not include many data points). I contacted David L. Goodman, professional surveyor and mapper who worked on the survey, agreed to contact both Kenneth Dudley and Diane McDilda in order to gain insight on the current situation in order to submit a proposal for an updated survey of the canal. This will determine more accurately the spoil volume and costs associated with its excavation from the canal. As of July 5, 2005, David has spoken to Kenneth Dudley and has agreed to provide an estimate for re-surveying the canals at the same points to determine any changes in the last 3 years. As of July 13, 2005, David agreed to submit a proposal to Justin Sapp by July 18. On Friday, July 15, Justin Sapp met with David Goodman and allowed him to borrow the comprehensive report compiled by Richard Bonner of the US Army Corps of Engineers of all activity in the Keaton Canal since its creation. As this report contains a great deal of technical information, its utilization by Delta Surveyors may serve to minimize both redundancy and expense.

New estimation of construction costs

Based on a simple market analysis and interviews with a few professionals, all non-construction related costs (to include consulting, engineering and mobilization) will rise with or slightly higher than inflation. So Taylor County should expect a 10-15% increase in the itemized non construction-related costs.

According to Jones, Edmunds & Associates, construction costs have recently spiked due to increased hurricane activity, the current real estate boom, and especially due to the increase in fuel prices (source: USACE, DEP, Jones Edmunds & Associates). For the Keaton Canal project, dredging is the biggest ticket item under construction. By 2003 estimates, the cost for dredging ranged from $100,000 - $440,000 depending on the dredging depth (Table 2.1 and Table 2.2 of the 2002 Engineering report) and location of spoil site (see “Update spoil site options” below).

Jones, Edmunds is working with contractors for a dredging project at Horseshoe Beach and I have asked Dianne to share information about the prices during the bidding process when that is completed so Taylor County can get a better idea of what to expect. I’ve also contacted others in the industry (read below).

Projected Cost Increase: As of July 5, 2005 (and confirmed again on July 12, 2005): A company called Subaqueous Services (SUBAQUEOUS SERVICES, INC., 4201 KEAN RD., FT LAUDERDALE, FL 33314 | (954) 581-2810), the winning subcontractor for Jones, Edmunds & Associates dredging project in Horseshoe, reported that dredging costs (which comprise the majority of construction costs in the proposed Keaton Canal dredging project, have risen 300% since 2002.

Given this estimate, the hydraulic dredging costs that were quoted at $10 per cubic yard in 2002, would raise to $30 a cubic yard. According to this conservative estimate, project costs would rise an additional $200,000 for a dredging depth of -4 ft mlw and add an additional $440,000 for a depth of -5 ft mlw, in addition to the increased costs mentioned earlier. As another means of comparison, the total cost in 2002 for hydraulic dredging to -4 ft mlw was about $424,000. Now it is $673,000. For -5 ft mlw, the current cost is now estimated at 1.1 million.

Update spoil site options

Based on conversations with numerous personnel at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the Army Corps of Engineers, spoil excavation and site selection is the most important factor of consideration when initiating a dredging project, due primarily to the associated environmental impacts. Based on these conversations, it my opinion that Taylor County not under estimate the permitting setbacks that can arise from wetland and water quality issues.

Basically, two options exist for transporting spoil (bottom material): hydraulic dredging and mechanical dredging. According to 2002 estimates, $100,000 - $200,000 (depending on the whether the canal is dredged to 4' or 5' mean low water, respectively) can be saved through hydraulic dredging, but hydraulic dredging necessitates a spoil site within 1 mile of the dredging project. Again, as construction costs have risen, these savings are now much higher so priority must be given to those potential spoil sites that are close to the canal.

In 2002, the only option for hydraulic dredging identified by Jones, Edmunds & Associates was a 17-acre piece of land owned by Travis Beach (identified on map 300 yards north of Keaton boat ramp). I've made repeated attempts to contact Travis and now consider this option unlikely at best due to recent land ownership changes and real estate price increases.

Spoil Site Option 1

Justin Sapp identified a 43.45 acre tract just north of the Keaton boat ramp that sold in November 2004 for 2.5 million to Keaton Beach Partners LLC. Further research revealed the main contact as the Gainesville-based developer Fred Shore (13410 NW 49th Lane, Gainesville | (352) 331-3066 and cell: (352) 339-1160) and the realtor contact as Dorothy Jackman (Marcus & Millichap | Office: (813) 287-9777 | Home: (813) 926-7765. I contacted both parties to gauge their interest in working with Taylor County. I contacted and discussed the matter with Dorothy and finally reached Fred Shore on July 18. July 18 Update: Fred Shore expressed open-ended interest in working with Taylor County to receive spoil (providing a spoil analysis determines it is not "bad" or excessively polluted). I will contact him later in the month. (Fred Shore background: Currently, lead developer of Woods Gulf Breeze campground in Steinhatchee (by Roy's Restaurant). See Danny Griner for details.)

Recommendation: Arrange for a spoil analysis.

Spoil Site Option 2

Finally, Chuck Olson, the realtor and personal liaison for Dr. Pruitt gave tentative approval to receive canal spoil on Dr. Pruitt’s property north and within 1-mile of the Keaton canal. Chuck is checking with his engineers to confirm the feasibility of a spoil site near the Keaton Beach side of JL Gibson Road (a little on the Bogey Bay side that was recently cleared and burned). This property is predominantly pine hammock with no wetlands or marsh nearby and would likely be an ideal spoil site (environmentally and economically). Chuck also agree to consider any other nearby site that meets the environmental requirements of the state and federal agencies in the permitting process (basically, high areas away from wetlands and the possibility of spoil leaching in the water supply and coastal wetlands). I have sent Chuck a summary of the project and expect to discuss it more in the following weeks. We have also agreed to work together on various permitting and construction projects in order to minimize negative environmental impacts and ease the permitting process for both parties.

After meeting with Chuck on the July 7 to discuss the project in detail (and also recruit his involvement in the Taylor County Artificial Reef Program), Chuck requested a spoil sample analysis, to determine the value (or lack thereof) of the soil to be excavated. Based on this analysis, Chuck and his engineers will determine where the spoil site should be located. If the spoil is “good,” there is a chance that excavation expenses may be shared with Dr. Pruitt as the spoil would serve to raise the land around the proposed marina site.

Recommendation: Immediate spoil sample analysis for Chuck Olson and Fred Shore.

Funding

Based on several candid conversations with Geof Mansfield with Florida DEP, funding for this project will be more difficult than the preliminary engineering report might suggest. There is simply very little money that is allocated from the state or federal government for maintenance dredging.

Under the October addendum to the 2002 preliminary engineering report, Jones, Edumunds & Associates identified three “recommended” funding sources.

1. The first, the US Army Corps of Engineers Section 107 funds, according to the primary contact, Richard Bonner (with whom Jones, Edmunds & Associates could not make contact), is actually not grant money, but a sort of government-subsidized study that may, in the long-term, involve improvements . Richard is checking into the possibility of USACE support of such a project, but it is unlikely that this will be a viable source of funding for Taylor County. Richard is checking into this matter further and also making inquiries into other potential funding sources. As of July 5, 2005, Richard Bonner is sending me all USACE reports on the canal (after initial construction in 1965, there are reports for removing the rocks by the marina and several other reports and studies). Basically, Congressman Allen Boyd needs to support this project and work for federal allocation of funds. According to Richard, it is almost too late for 2006 and it is not an easy process, but it would supply all the necessary funds to complete the canal dredging project (typical projects range into the millions).

2. The second recommended funding source is the Florida Boating Improvement Program. I performed no research of this program as Taylor County successfully applied through this program for the Keaton Beach boat ramp.

3. The third recommended funding source is the House Bill 851. This is now referred to as the Community Budget Issue Request. Each year, typically from mid-December to mid-January, the Florida Legislature solicits applications for “Community Budget Issue Request” projects, including water projects. This process is an opportunity to secure legislative sponsorship of project funding through the state budget. The legislature coordinates these applications with the department. Information can be found at www.dep.state.fl.us/water/waterprojectfunding/wpf_2005_final.htm and the primary contact is Geof Mansfield ( 850.245.8339 or geofrey.mansfield@dep.state.fl.us). Information on contacting Senators and Representatives is available at www.leg.state.fl.us.
According to Geof, This program is not really a DEP program, but channeled through DEP. Basically, this is how legislators bring home the money. It is kind of a member funding source through a CBIR (community budget issue request) process (otherwise known as the turkey or “pork” process). It is how legislative senators and representatives get local projects funded (Will Kendrick, Taylor County State Representative & Senator Nancy Argenziano, District 3 Republican). For water processes, these applications (very simple) go through DEP (no ranking or recommendations – DEP merely sees if project meets criterion). House and Senate go through appropriations and see what projects get money). That goes into appropriations bill and these are line-item appropriations (may give nothing, $250,000 or 2 million). Basically, these project funds are appropriated by line item and, if the Governor does not veto, then we get money. From an administrative standpoint, this is very simple. The requirements are simple (public health, environmental justification, etc.). It boils down to whether our Representative will sponsor it and push for it during the legislative session.

Brief history of this process:

  • 5 years ago, there was 110 million worth of projects (60 out of 400 were funded – receiving 100 million – odds are 1/5;
  • 4 years ago: same;
  • 3 years ago: no money appropriated with 500 million outstanding applications;
  • This year: 130 million funded … well over 130 projects funded … or about 20% of projects funded).

The lesson for this funding source: There is no consistency and this is a funding vehicle that you cannot count on.

Other funding sources:

Water Management District: They support dredging projects, but the SRWMD has less money than any other WMD. Typically, they focus on wastewater, drinking water, but it is still worth a shot. So, talk to both DEP and WMD. Sell them and tell them about all the advantages, so have them sponsor the project. It is important that the SRWMD is taken up and sponsored by WMD. Nonetheless, talk to them about it. If nothing else, you want them to sponsor, even if they don’t fund it. Inside scoop: really push the environmental impacts (muck on bottom that will be removed that affects water quality, get creative, think creatively … if you don’t, you won’t even meet the minimum of the law)

David Still, chief lobbyist for SRMWD (works directly for Jerry Scarborough) and he is most familiar with process. Contact him for insight, members, potency, and how to pitch the project. The more they support, the better. Get working on this now. Always be talking to them. Sell them on every aspect of the project.

Conversation with David Still: “I have been personally working on a dredging project in Suwannee for about 14 years that has experienced plenty of delays and “hang-ups” My agency has 15 year history on this and it is still not done; they are not easy projects to get permitted unless permit has been maintained. If the permits are maintained and kept up to date, then it is easier."

If economic development issues can be worked into this, the feds have money for local governments (Willy Taylor in Atlanta, 404-730-3032 for more information. Basic focus is physical infrastructure (wastewater, drinking water facilities) but they may get us deeper in the system. No contact has been made with Willy Taylor (out until July 16). I left Lola Smith of the Economic Development Administration a message on July 13 about "local infrastructure" and "economic development" project). Jump to more details about this funding opportunity below.

Other programs:

There are a number of other programs, at both the state and federal levels, which offer the possibility of water infrastructure funding. These include:

Florida Department of Community Affairs Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program – Funds are available annually for water and sewer projects that benefit low and moderate income persons. Projects providing new service have a higher priority than upgrades of existing facilities. Available matching funds also are considered. The maximum grant amount is $600,000 - $750,000, depending on income levels. Moneys also are available for water and sewer projects that serve a specific “job-creating entity” as long as most of the jobs created are for people with low or moderate incomes. For more information, visit www.floridacommunitydevelopment.org/cdbg/index.cfm or contact Monya Newmyer, Community Program Manager; monya.newmyer@ dca.state.fl.us | (850) 487-3644

- Taylor County CDBG Representative: Gail Stafford | (850) 487-3644: Region 3 Representative (for Taylor County): person to contact! Back in office on July 14. "if dredging to bring in new business, then 51% of the jobs that it creates must benefit low to moderate income. You must prove that you are creating these jobs and benefiting low income (Sapp: unlikely)." "Must show benefit to neighborhood. I'm not sure how you'll be able to do that." Question: If the project boosted tourism (economic development), would that qualify the project? Gail Answer: "Once funds are spent, there must be a distinct, explicit result or gain. How would we present this to HUD to prove that thee moneys were spent." Question: What if new park or facilities were built, would that make it eligible? Gail Answer: "Yes, that would benefit." (Sapp: See Fred Shore Spoil Site options above.) Taylor is eligible for $750,000. If under neighborhood revitalization, the next cycle is next year. If economic development, that money is ongoing until the funds run out (so, can apply anytime). Conclusion: Taylor may be eligible, but must meet to discuss specifics, scope of project, and have some real data on jobs created (eco development) or revitalization ... but ....

History: Taylor County Correctional Facility grant deal went sour. This may make it unlikely. Also, Taylor can not apply for any more funds unless economic development (due to current housing project).

- Ted Cort, CDBG Representative: (Region 1 Representive - not Taylor County) Overview of Program on July 13, 2005: Eligible applicants are counties with population of 200,000 or less and not receiving funding from HUD (small communities are eligible through HUD with no competition). Parks and Recreation department: likely eligible under them. Grant cycle opens for next year soon; due on April or May. Long process usually prepared by consultant for the County; minimum of 51% benefiting from activity must be low to moderate income persons. For Taylor (county-wide scope) it should be no problem!
Taylor had neighborhood grant in 1990 (no details); Melody should know more about this with her experience in Parks and such. This shows Taylor County may not qualify as the low-income needs to be at least 51% (Taylor is 41.28 %). But Gail Stafford should provide more information on how to get around this (Random sampling of homes could result in a percentage that is well above what is listed in HUD survey). Consultants can agree to perform to perform the survey for free (to receive preferential consideration in future bid process). Consultant list (statewide) (59KB pdf)

Need: discuss with County Grants Coordinator for experience in this area; meet with Gail for names of consultants working in the area and to explain scope of project (with details).

Application Guide: Download the Application Guide - all information downloaded to Taylor shared drive.

Ted sent large file that provides detailed overview of entire program with application process details. Large file transfer from DCA via their public FTP site: ftp://ftp.dca.state.fl.us/public/

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY - HURRICANE FUNDS:( from Ted) Hurricane funds may be available this year! State and FEMA do assessment (Disaster Report) and funding comes from these. Talk to HMGP (Hurricane Mitigation Grant Program) representative may be good place to start. Would re-dredging channels qualify as need under this report? Bureau of Recovery Administration (administers hurricane funds): Leroy Thomson, Bureau Chief, 850-413-9816. Also check http://www.floridadisaster.org/.

Determinations Need: Does previous storm damage qualify us? Keep this in mind for future storm damage!

Additional Insight: According to Ted, DEP disapproves of dredging in Wakulla... back to DEP and regulatory pitfalls.

Other Funding Sources Continued:

Florida Rural Water Association Loan Program - This program provides low-interest interim construction financing for communities that have received a permanent loan commitment from the Rural Development Rural Utilities Service (see below) or permanent loan commitment from a DEP SRF program. For more information, visit www.frwa.net or contact Gary Williams at 850.668.2746 or gary.williams@frwa.net.

Enterprise Florida Rural Infrastructure Fund – Enterprise Florida’s program is a resource for rural communities to facilitate the creation, capital investment, and strengthening and diversification of rural economies by promoting tourism, trade and economic development. It is intended to provide additional financial assistance to enable rural communities to better access other infrastructure funding programs. For more information, visit www.eflorida.com/financialadvantages or contact Bridget Merrill at 850.922.8655 or bmerrill@eflorida.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) Public Works and Development Facilities Program – The program provides funding to help distressed communities in economic decline revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, diversify local economies, and generate or retain long-term, private sector jobs and investment. The program focuses on redeveloping existing infrastructure. For more information, visit www.eda.gov/InvestmentsGrants/Investments.xml or contact Willie Taylor at 404.730.3032 or wtaylor5@eda.doc.gov.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Guaranteed and Direct Loans and Grants – This program provides a combination of loans and grants for water, wastewater, and solid waste projects to rural communities and small incorporated cities with populations of 10,000 or fewer. Some nonprofit entities also may be eligible. To qualify, applicants must be unable to obtain financing from other sources or through their own resources at reasonable rates and terms. Projects must benefit rural users and funding is provided in a combination designed to reduce rates to a reasonable level, as determined by the RUS. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/rus/water/ or contact Michael Langston at 352.338.3485 or michael.langston@fl.usda.gov.

Congress – State and Tribal Assistance Grant Program provides the opportunity to secure Congressional sponsorship of project funding, including water project funding, through the annual federal budget process. The program’s stated purpose is to strengthen state, local governments, and tribal abilities to address environmental and public health threats while furthering environmental compliance. See http://www.epa.gov/compliance/planning/state/grants/stag/index.html. You may want to consider contacting your Representative or Senators for assistance in pursuing funding; see http://thomas.loc.gov/home/legbranch/legbranch.html.

Other Funding Resource Directories:

The Florida Resource Directory at http://www.floridaresourcedirectory.org/, which provides a searchable directory of information about and links to many state and federal programs with resources available to help local communities. Funding for water-related projects is just one of many types of assistance identified here.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://12.46.245.173/cfda/cfda.html, which provides a database of all federal programs available to state and local governments; public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals. There are a variety of sources of niche funding that may be appropriate to your situation. There are also private funding sources (endowments, private trusts, etc.) that may, on occasion, fund water-related projects; a variety of sources to investigate these opportunities are available on the web.

RELATED CANAL ISSUE: The sign by the boat ramp needs to be moved out of the center of the canal to the corner between end of the dock and the condominiums, as an accident occurred there last week due directly attributed to the sign's current placement. Contact Bruce Cooper for more information.

Contact Justin Sapp at (850) 838-3508 or email him at JDSapp@ifas.ufl.edu