St. John CZM Committee members, right to left, Edmund Roberts, Gerald Hills, Andrew Penn and Madeline Sewer with CZM staff, approved a sediment detention basin in Coral Bay last week.
The St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee unanimously approved a sediment detention basin in Coral Bay during a decision meeting at The Marketplace on Tuesday afternoon, March 15, which drew no residents.
After sailing through a public hearing last month with no opposition, the committee adopted Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ staff recommendations and approved the V.I. Resource Conservation and Development Council’s major CZM permit.
The project aims to remove sediment from water flowing through the main Carolina Valley gut across a five-acre parcel of government-owned land in Coral Bay.
A rock weir will allow water to flow through the existing gut on the property but reduce the amount of sediment by slowing down the speed of the water.
VIRCD won a $2.7 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for coastal and marine habitat restoration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year. VIRCD is overseeing a project on East End, St. Croix, and partnered with Estate Fish Bay Home Owners Association and the Coral Bay Community Council for grant-funded projects on St. John.
The Fish Bay project has wrapped up with roadways in the neighborhood paved and new swales installed reducing the amount of storm water runoff and sediment flowing into the sensitive bay.
In Coral Bay, CBCC has gotten some work started on all of its planned 18 projects, which will cost a total of a little over $1 million. The sediment detention basin was the sole project requiring a major CZM permit, and the project is now available for bids.
The basin covers a roughly .42-acre area on the five-acre Parcel No. 6-4 Estate Carolina located along Centerline Road heading into Coral Bay. A gut already cuts through that portion of the land, but is filled with sediment and rocks, which the CBCC contractor will remove.
The project also includes installing a rock weir to slow down the water flow once the gut is restored. Department of Public Works officials are expected to help CBCC maintain the gut, as routine maintenance will be required, explained CBCC president Sharon Coldren.
“The basin is not designed to hold water,” said Coldren. “The weir will slow the water down and allow sediment to settle in the basin and the water will flow through and remain in the gut. We’re trying very hard to get this done before the rains start.”
Once started, the project is expected to take two weeks to complete, Coldren added.
CBCC officials must still obtain a permit from the Amy Corps of Engineers and find a contractor with $1 million in liability insurance before breaking ground on the project, according to the CBCC president.
“The project is out to bid now,” she said. “We have $63,500 budgeted for the project and we still have to get our Army Corps of Engineers permit too.”
The community group is under the gun to get all 18 projects covered by the VIRCD NOAA grant wrapped up by June, as required, Coldren added.
“We’re working away on our 18 projects which need to get done by the end of June,” she said. “We’re underway on all projects at this point, but we had to cancel two projects which were planned. We’re working very hard to get things done because if we don’t spend the money by June, we’ll lose it.”
“A planned sediment detention basin behind the Moravian Church Cemetery and one next to Sputnik’s were both canceled because we had difficulty reaching agreements with the landowners,” said the CBCC president.
CBCC has been working closely with Department of Public Works officials on many of its sediment reducing projects, Coldren added.
CZM Committee chair Madeline Sewer and members Gerald Hills, Edmund Roberts and Andrew Penn were present and all voted to grant the permit.
The committee added seven special conditions to the approval which require the contractor to notify the group before it commences work on the project, obtain all permits, cease work if historic features are found and comply with approved soil maintenance plans. Work on the project will be allowed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. only.
To bid on the project contact Greg Miller of BGM Engineers and Surveyors at 776-6770 or stop by his office in The Marketplace.