Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 033027
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File Number: 033027 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-1266-03 Control: County Commission
File Name: APPLICATION TO OBTAIN USS ORISKANY FOR ARTIFICIAL REEF Introduced: 10/31/2003
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/6/2003
Agenda Date: 11/6/2003 Agenda Item Number: 7D2A
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING A TRI-COUNTY APPLICATION TO THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO OBTAIN THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ORISKANY FOR USE AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF AND REQUESTING THAT THE STATE OF FLORIDA SELECT OUR TRI-COUNTY APPLICATION FOR SUBMITTAL TO THE UNITED STATES NAVY
Indexes: NONE
Sponsors: Bruno A. Barreiro, Prime Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Sponsor
  Jimmy L. Morales, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 11/6/2003 7D2A Adopted P
REPORT: Commissioners Morales, Martinez and Heyman asked to be listed as co-sponsors of the foregoing proposed resolution. Commissioner Barreiro noted the USS Oriskany aircraft carrier was being obtained as an artificial reef to create an ecotourism destination for fishing and diving. In response to Commissioner Seijas’ inquiry regarding the cost to bring the aircraft to the County’s shores for sinking, John Renfrow, Director, Environmental Resources Management, noted the United States Navy would completely handle the process and cost of this endeavor. Responding to Commissioner Souto’s inquiry, Mr. Renfrow noted the aircraft would be sunk offshore on the Miami-Dade/Broward County line.

County Attorney 11/4/2003 Assigned Governmental Operations and Environment Committee 11/14/2003

County Attorney 10/31/2003 Assigned Susan Torres 11/4/2003

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING A TRI-COUNTY APPLICATION TO THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO OBTAIN THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ORISKANY FOR USE AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF AND REQUESTING THAT THE STATE OF FLORIDA SELECT OUR TRI-COUNTY APPLICATION FOR SUBMITTAL TO THE UNITED STATES NAVY

BODY
WHEREAS, tourism constitutes the largest and most critical sector of Florida's economy, and
WHEREAS, in order to sustain and enhance the value of the tourism industry to Florida and to stimulate economic development, tourism-related decisions should be viewed from a statewide perspective, with the goal of maximizing the net economic gain to the State; and
WHEREAS, ecotourism associated with recreational diving and fishing continues to be a rapidly growing activity throughout many areas of the State; and
WHEREAS, creating ecotourism destinations by the establishment of unique artificial reefs can have enormous economic impacts, both at the State and local level, as evidenced by the sinking of the Spiegel Grove in Monroe County, and a recently completed socioeconomic study indicating that existing artificial reefs in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties have a $1.655 billion economic impact annually and create over 26,000 jobs for the region; and
WHEREAS, the United States Navy is initiating a pilot program of disposing of decommissioned warships by preparing them for use as artificial reefs and donating them at little or no cost to eligible coastal states; and
WHEREAS, the United States Navy is currently in the process of making the USS Oriskany, an 880-foot long decommissioned aircraft carrier available to eligible states for use as an artificial reef; and
WHEREAS, each eligible state can submit only one proposed location as part of its application to the Navy; and
WHEREAS, given the enormous potential economic impact to Florida from having the USS Oriskany as an ecotourism destination, the State's decision on where to propose locating the artificial reef should be based primarily on the potential of each location for generating beneficial economic impacts to the State; and
WHEREAS, within the next thirty days, Florida must select a proposed location within the State as part of its application to the Navy for the USS Oriskany; and
WHEREAS, for these reasons and those further reasons contained in the accompanying memorandum, a copy of which is incorporated herein by reference, this Board wishes to support the application being submitted by Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties to propose locating the USS Oriskany in the waters off South Florida and to encourage the State to submit this application to the Navy,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board supports the submittal of a tri-county application to the State of Florida to obtain the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany for use as an artificial reef and requests that the State of Florida select this application for submittal to the Navy.

HEADER
TO: Hon. Chairperson and Members DATE:
Board of County Commissioners

SUBJECT: Manager's Report on a
FROM: George M. Burgess Tri-County Application to
County Manager the State of Florida to Obtain the Aircraft Carrier USS Oriskany for Use as an Artificial Reef
______________________________________________________________________________
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This is to provide the Board background information regarding a pending joint application by Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) to obtain the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany from the United States Navy. If the application is successful, the aircraft carrier would be sunk offshore on the Miami-Dade/ Broward county line as an artificial reef to create an ecotourism destination for fishing and diving.

The potential to generate regional economic benefits by creating ecotourism destinations through the placement of unique artificial reefs is being more frequently recognized. A recently completed socioeconomic study conducted by Hazen and Sawyer in 2001 estimated that recreational use of the artificial reefs in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties had an annual impact of $1.655 billion, and created over 26,000 jobs for the region. In Miami-Dade County alone, artificial reef usage provided a net economic impact of $419 million annually.

The sinking of exceptionally large artificial reefs provides an even greater attraction for fishing and diving. In 2001, Monroe County placed the 510' long Navy ship "Speigel Grove" offshore of Key Largo specifically to create a diving destination. While the economic impact of this reef is still being quantified, preliminary indications are that the results will be significant. Similarly, other large military vessels sunk as reefs in other areas of the country have shown significant local and regional benefits.

A pilot program is currently being conducted by the United States Navy to evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of cleaning up decommissioned military vessels, and transferring them at little or no cost to coastal states for use as artificial reefs. The first vessel targeted for this program is the 888'-long aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. Under this program the vessel would be cleaned to meet EPA and Coast Guard requirements and awarded to a coastal state through an application process based on various criteria. The Navy has indicated that they will accept only one application per state, submitted through the state's respective artificial reef program.

In Florida, five counties (Escambia, Okoloosa, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade) originally expressed interest in obtaining the Oriskany. A preliminary evaluation by the state's artificial reef program, administered within the FFWCC, recommended that the aircraft carrier go to Escambia County if Florida were awarded the vessel. Since that time the board of the FFWCC has agreed to revisit that decision based on newly released evaluation criteria by the Navy. Presentations to the FFWCC Board will be made by interested counties on November 14, 2003, and a decision made immediately thereafter.

In order to put forth the strongest possible application and maximize the chances of securing the Oriskany as an artificial reef for southeast Florida, the artificial reef programs of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County have agreed to submit a joint application to the FFWCC. Under this proposal, the vessel would be sunk at an already permitted artificial reef site straddling the Miami-Dade/ Broward line. A task force to address the various aspects of this very complex project has already been established, consisting of county representatives, Visitor and Convention Bureau and Tourist Development Council members from all three counties, a private non-profit organization which has been actively involved in working to obtain the Oriskany as an artificial reef for over two years, and private individuals with relevant expertise. The task force is currently working on the presentation to the FFWCC on November 14th, 2003, If the southeast Florida application is selected by the FFWCC as the recommended destination, that application will be submitted to the United States Navy prior to their November 20, 2003 deadline, where it will be considered along with application from other coastal states including Texas and South Carolina. If Florida is selected by the Navy, the ship would be transferred to the State following clean up. At this time, clean up, transportation and sinking of the carrier would be conducted by Navy personnel at Federal cost. While these elements of the project are expected to be fully funded by the Navy, there potentially would be some non-federal costs for additional preparation for diving safety and/ or local environmental requirements. An estimate of these potential costs is currently being prepared by the task force, and would be quantified prior to award of the vessel.

The potential economic impact of creating what would be the world's largest artificial reef is enormous. A preliminary estimate prepared by the Greater Miami Visitor and Convention Bureau last month estimates a net impact of over $320 million annually. The study also estimated the reef would create an additional 4447 jobs, and generate in excess of $17.3 million in state and local sales tax revenues annually. These estimates were made for Miami-Dade County only; the anticipated regional impact including Broward and Palm Beach counties would be significantly higher.




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