Army Corps of Engineers working on plan to stop storm surge in Collier County

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez

Sea levels in Florida continue to rise and as they do, plans are being made to keep Collier County from that and heavy storm surges.

On Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers presented its latest ideas to county commissioners, a multi-billion dollar project in the works for years.

“This is an opportunity to go back and evaluate coastal storms within Collier County. So, we’re anxious to get started. We were approved for $2.97 million of federal funding, and three additional years,” said Michelle Hamor, the chief of planning and policy branch for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Tamor said the study began in 2018 in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“We’ll reevaluate coastal storms within Collier County and look to evaluate measures that would reduce that risk in the future,” Hamor said, adding that “the plan is to recommend a plan that we could lean towards designing construction in the future.”

Hamor said they’re not able to move forward without country support but Collier County Commissioner Rick LoCastro is all for it.

Michelle Hamor is the chief of planning and policy branch for the Army Corps of Engineers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“I can’t stress this enough: Their expertise for us in so invaluable,” LoCastro said. “We should never, sort of, stiff-arm them, or, you know, we critiqued a few things and I really like the improvements that we see in here.”

The plan is to move forward with the study but even once it’s finished, it’s a long path forward.

“We have to submit a budget request, which is a budget comes out every two years, we’d submit a request and wait for Congress to approve that request to move forward,” Hamor said.

That won’t happen until the study is complete in Aug. 2025.

The Army Corps of Engineers said they want to get people from the community involved in the study too.

The hope is by April there will be a meeting where the public will be able to comment.

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