EAS Engineering, Inc.
Atlantic Civil, Inc. (ACI)
Atlantic Civil, Inc. (formerly Florida Rock & Sand Company) purchased approximately 3,000 acres of land in south Miami-Dade County. Virtually all of the property was freshwater wetlands, most of which was either previously farmed and later abandoned, or currently farmed. EAS Engineering generated a development plan that included a 250 acre lime rock quarry and 990 acres of wetland fill. The rest of the property will be cleared of exotic vegetation as mitigation for the development.
Wetland jurisdiction was a critical issue on this project. Since farm roads isolated much of the wetlands, the Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction came into question soon after a Supreme Court ruling invalidated the Corps’ claim to jurisdiction over isolated wetlands based on usage by migratory birds. FDEP jurisdiction was limited by a jurisdictional determination that was made before the Statewide Wetland Delineation Rules came into effect in 1994. Miami-Dade County DERM’s jurisdiction was based on the farming activity that occurred in the past. EAS Engineering resolved all of these jurisdictional issues using intensive GIS analysis of farming history and surface water connections, based on historic aerial photographs and field surveys.
Another issue that had to be resolved was a history of wetland violations by farmers plowing up wetland properties without obtaining permits (before Atlantic Civil purchased the property). EAS summarized the history of these violations from old Corps documents, again using GIS, and included mitigation for the violations in its mitigation proposal.
EAS Engineering used GIS and extensive field surveys, both on the ground and in helicopters, to map the vegetation on the property and to conduct a WRAP (Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure) analysis of existing wetland function. The WRAP assessment was used to calculate the mitigation requirements. All of the required permits were obtained.
More recently, the property owner has decided to expand the existing quarries on this property and EAS is processing permits for a 494 acre quarry expansion. Among the supporting documentation required by the Corps of Engineers was a cumulative impact analysis and a hydrologic model showing what effect, if any, the project might have on the location of the salt front and the hydroperiods of adjacent wetlands.
Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Hospital was looking for land on which to construct a corporate campus to provide management and corporate support services and an emergency operations center to serve Baptist Hospital’s health system. The site that was finally chosen was a tree farm near the Florida Turnpike. EAS Engineering was asked to examine the site and determine whether the site was a wetland. The outcome was that the site was declared not to be a wetland by Miami-Dade County DERM and the South Florida Water Management District, but the Army Corps of Engineers claimed wetland jurisdiction because they found a “significant nexus” with Goulds Canal, the nearest navigable waterway. EAS is working with the Corps to process the required permit for this project. The potential loss of Wood Stork foraging habitat is the Corps’ primary concern. Baptist Hospital will have to provide significant mitigation for this work to proceed.
Sunny Isles Beach Bridge
The City of Sunny Isles Beach wants to construct a bridge across an unnamed canal on Biscayne Bay. The bridge is needed to provide an alternative route for emergency vehicles when traffic on A-1-A is blocked. A-1-A is presently the only north-south route that is available for traffic in this part of the city. The proposed bridge would relieve this situation.
EAS Engineering is working with the city to obtain the permits necessary for this work. A number of issues have been identified, including navigational access to the interior of the canal, riparian ownership and ownership of the submerged lands. The city has not been able to contact the owner of the submerged lands to obtain project approval. Minimization of project impacts is also an issue because the bridge is designed as a 2-lane structure, but it connects to a 1-lane road.
Homestead Motorsports Complex
The City of Homestead began construction of its NASCAR Motorsports Complex before realizing that wetland permits were required for the project. The property had been approved for development earlier as a DRI (Development of Regional Impact), but the dredge-and-fill permits had expired. With construction halted, EAS Engineering was retained by the City to procure permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District and Miami-Dade County DERM on a fast track schedule. This was a very large project involving 320 acres of development, 160 acres of wetland mitigation and 320 acres of wetland preserve, and timing was critical because the City was under strict contractual deadlines for the Miami Grand Prix. Applications were submitted in September 1993 and all of the permits were in hand only six months later.
More recently, EAS Engineering has been working with the Speedway to get the county to approve an expansion of the race track. This required that the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) be moved to accommodate this site plan modification. The revision of the UDB has been approved.
EAS Engineering, Inc.
55 Almeria Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134