District 4 Update – Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project Causes Confusion for Resident

Attention District 4 Residents:

The City of Deerfield Beach and Commissioner Bill Ganz would like to update residents on an incident that occurred this past Labor Day weekend along the Hillsboro Canal.  Unbeknownst to city officials and staff the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) began the process of removing trees along the Hillsboro Canal as part of the Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project.  After word from residents that SFWMD contractors had begun to remove trees the City immediately shut the project down because the organization failed to contact the city staff to schedule a pre-construction conference prior to mobilizing on-site.

While the city understands the need for this project, the actions taken by SFWMD were incredibly disappointing to City Officials, staff and residents, who as far back as 18 months ago, sat through numerous meetings, conference calls and public meetings regarding this very project.  In those meetings there was great discussion over the need for transparency on all levels and at all phases of the project. It was the City’s desire to be given ample time to notify residents of the work that would be coming their way.  On Wednesday, September 3rd a preconstruction conference was held with city staff.  The contractor and SFWMD were strongly advised that it would be in their best interests to wait until Monday, September 8, 2014, to recommence construction in order for the city to properly notify residents.  For the purposes of safety, the City is allowing the contractors to stockpile existing downed trees throughout the weekend and construction will recommence on September 8th.

The City of Deerfield Beach will continue to try to work with SFWMD officials in order to get answers to the many questions residents have regarding the project; answers that were promised to residents in previous public meetings.

If you have any comments or concerns you are urged to contact SFWMD at the contact information below. The following is additional information that SFWMD has provided for residents about the Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project.

Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project Updates

The South Florida Water Management District is responsible for operating and maintaining the regional water management system that provides flood control and protects water supplies for South Florida’s 7.9 million residents. Flowing along the county line between Palm Beach and Broward counties, the Hillsboro (G-08) Canal is a major component of the regional system. The District has begun a multiyear effort to ensure a 10.5-mile section of the canal can effectively move water as designed for another 50 years.

Repairs Needed to Ensure Flood Protection

The SFWMD’s Operations, Maintenance and Construction Division conducts regular inspections of the regional water management system — which includes nearly 2,000 miles of canals — to prioritize projects necessary for the system’s continued operation.

Through the inspection program, the District identified the need to repair and protect the banks of the Hillsboro Canal. Over decades of service, extended sections of the canal banks have eroded or detached from the bank slope and fallen into the canal. These bank failures limit the flow of water in the canal, creating the potential for flooding impacts in Palm Beach and Broward counties during a major storm or hurricane.

Bank erosion is also known to contribute to the buildup of sediment around coastal structures, such as the G-56 on the eastern end of the Hillsboro Canal. Accumulated sediment needs to be removed to ensure that these structures can provide adequate flood control protection.

The Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project will address these issues through canal bank repairs and dredging that will improve the stability of the canal banks and restore the canal to its intended capacity. The District is designing a cost effective solution that will also maximize flood protection for surrounding areas.

Need to Clear Portions of the Right-of-Way

The Hillsboro Canal’s right-of-way extends 40 feet or more landward from the top of the canal bank. The placement of encroachments such as trees, docks and fences within the District right-of-way requires a Right-of-Way Occupancy Permit, which is a revocable license (Chapter 40E-6, Florida Administrative Code). Some residents who live along the Hillsboro Canal have planted vegetation or added structures such as boat docks within the District’s right-of-way along the canal. Residents are being notified that existing encroachments (e.g., docks, irrigation facilities, including pipes and sprinklers) that are within the District’s canal right of way property need to be removed for the canal banks to be stabilized; such encroachments will not be salvageable. Residents may remove/salvage their encroachments within the District’s right of way before the project starts. In addition, it is the resident’s responsibility to disconnect any pump facilities or associated facilities and/or provide for alternate irrigation needs. Upon completion of the project, residents can reconnect their irrigation lines, using the pipe sleeves that the District will provide free of charge; residents can also apply for a permit and reinstall docks or other facilities if permitted.

A Right-of-Way Occupancy Permit:

  • Conveys no property rights to the permittee but acknowledges that the requested use is consistent with the applicable rules and District missions
  • Is required prior to connecting with, placing structures in or across, discharging into or making use of the canal and levee system or “Works of the District” and certain other canals and works
  • Can be revoked if the permitted use interferes or will interfere with the construction, alteration, operation or maintenance of present or proposed works or lands of the District
  • Applies to rights-of-way acquired for the canal and levee system that makes up the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Central and Southern Florida Project and other canals and works

For More Information…

More information on the Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project is available at www.sfwmd.gov/pbco or call (561) 686-8800.

Broward County residents with questions may contact Lorraine Mayers, SFWMD Outreach Representative, atlmayers@sfwmd.gov or (954) 452-4814, ext. 4989.

Approximate Timeframe for Project Implementation

  • Design – January 2012 through June 2014
  • Construction – June 2014 – October 2015
  • Section from west of Military Trail to US441/SR7

Thank you,

Bill Ganz
District 4 Commissioner