A plan to blast and dredge a deeper entrance channel by Port Everglades is stirring up an environmental fight. The channel would be used to accommodate the super freighters that are now frequenting the world’s trade routes, and would be an increase of 8 feet.
However, some state and federal environmental agencies are saying that this plan could possibly have a huge impact on coral reefs, sea grass and endangered marine species, as well as natural resources. The National Marine Fisheries Service is even threatening to take this issue to the White House if these concerns are not properly addressed.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has called for a further study that will measure the impact of blasting during turtle nesting season. The destruction of sea grass will also harm and affect the manatees in the area greatly, according to Sun-Sentinel.
Port Everglades looking southeast towards entrance channel
Any future work to deepen the port is still years away and The Army Corps of Engineers is set to release a draft impact statement to the public early next year. If there are no environmental challenges that will cause delay in the schedule and the project is to be done, it will be sent to Congress for authorization in 2013. Port director Allen said, realistically, Port Everglades will be ready for the big ships by 2017. Meanwhile, Port Everglades faces competition from ports along the east coast of the United States, which are racing to dredge deeper accommodations in anticipation of the widening of the Panama Canal.