U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Wilfredo Lee / AP

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to protect Miami-Dade County from hurricane storm surges over the next 50 years with flood gates across rivers, and a mile-long flood wall along its upscale waterfront, could cost nearly $4.6 billion.

The tentative plan, which is now open for public comment, is the latest and most fully detailed. The plan also calls for elevating about 2,300 flood-prone structures.

As hospitals were overrun by coronavirus patients in other parts of the world, the Army Corps of Engineers mobilized in the U.S., hiring private contractors to build emergency field hospitals around the country.

The endeavor cost more than $660 million, according to an NPR analysis of federal spending records.

But nearly four months into the pandemic, most of these facilities haven't treated a single patient.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Updated May 7 at 12:30 p.m.

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gathers public input on how to operate Lake Okeechobee once it finishes $1.8 billion in repairs to its aging dike, an old fight has resurfaced: how high to keep water levels.

It’s a question that has long dogged the naturally shallow lake deepened after flood control and now a source of water for South Florida.

PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

Climate change threatens to dramatically alter the coastal landscape of Miami-Dade in coming decades — one way or another.

It’s not just rising seas and the threat of stronger hurricanes that could do it. The emerging federal plan to protect communities from those climate risks could also remake entire neighborhoods — starting with running high walls, something akin to I-95 sound barriers, down miles of streets now lined with thousands of homes and businesses.

Miami Herald archives

When Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys in 2017, it sent a four- to six-foot storm surge to Biscayne Bay more than 100 miles away, flooding busy Brickell Avenue.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now has a tentative plan to fix that: massive flood gates and walls that could include a two-mile stretch in the heart of downtown Miami.


Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging plans to widen roadways in primary habitat for the endangered Florida panther, the official state animal.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

South Floridians could face water restrictions in 2020 because of a dry rainy season and low water levels in Lake Okeechobee, farmers and Everglades conservationists warned Tuesday.

If the water level drops even a few feet over the driest months, they expect a drought in the spring. During droughts, consumers must water lawns on alternate days, limit car washing and conserve water use in general.

Miami Herald Archive

A lease on sugar farms at the center of dispute that pitted Gov. Ron DeSantis against South Florida water managers was cancelled Thursday.

DeSantis announced Florida Crystals terminated the lease on land slated for a 17,000-acre reservoir - a critical piece of Everglades restoration needed to provide water to southern marshes. The sugar farmers voluntarily cancelled the lease on Monday, he said.

Carl Juste/Miami Herald

Two years ago when Jennifer Cheek and her husband bought their tidy stucco house near the Little River with a rambling backyard - grand even by Miami standards - they thought they’d left behind the threat of devastating sea rise they faced in their Miami Beach neighborhood.

In Florida, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to combat a growing environmental menace: blue-green algae. Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms and subdivisions combines with warm summer weather to create massive blooms of algae in rivers and lakes that can be toxic.

Matias J. Ocner / MIAMI HERALD

Could algae, the fish-killing bane of Lake Okeechobee and Florida’s coastal waters, actually become a valuable state product? Think orange juice, except green, slimy and terrible tasting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private partners think there is a possibility.

Kate Stein / WLRN

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is starting a three-year, $3 million study to help Miami-Dade County find ways to reduce risk from storms and sea-level rise.

On Thursday, the Corps and the county launched the effort by collecting ideas from local planners, researchers and concerned citizens. For four hours, staff members sat at tables in the Miami Rowing Club on Key Biscayne and facilitated conversations with interested members of the public.

Martin County Health Department

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency for seven counties experiencing blue-green algae blooms, including Palm Beach County.

The blooms are in large part due to water discharges from Lake Okeechobee. They can cause fish die-offs and respiratory irritation in humans. And it's not the first time the foul-smelling blooms have prompted an emergency declaration: in the summer of 2016, at the peak of the July tourist season, the blooms closed beaches and fishing businesses.

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

The last of the federal government's power restoration crews are scheduled to leave Puerto Rico when their contract expires next week, leaving the island's power utility with the task of energizing the last 1.5 percent of customers still waiting eight months after Hurricane Maria.

But on Wednesday, the island's representative in Congress asked the federal government not to send its crews home.

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