U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to push back deadline for bids to be submitted
By Rachel Brown Hackney
Three times since June 27, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) pushed back the deadline for bids to be submitted for its proposed Lido Key Beach Renourishment Project.
The new date is July 30, 14 days later than the timeline the USACE announced in late June. Two new amendments to the solicitation package were issued on consecutive days — July 17 and July 18.
Responses to the bid package, which the federal agency published on May 16, originally were due on June 19. Notices subsequently updated the deadline to July 2, then July 16, then July 23 and then July 24 before the July 30 deadline was published in a July 18 amendment on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
As Siesta Sand was preparing to publish its August issue, no other delay had been announced.
Each of the amendments to the bid package made clear that the USACE could take up to 60 days to award the contract to a firm. The latest document also maintained wording from earlier versions in calling for the contractor to begin work within 75 calendar days of the award and to complete the project within 290 calendar days after receiving the formal Notice to Proceed.
One of the more recent amendments the USACE published for the solicitation package apparently attempted to resolve concerns that Sarasota County might not allow the USACE’s contractor to stage equipment in Ted Sperling Park on the southernmost point of Lido Key. The county owns the park.
One of the original bid documents said, “The Contractor is responsible for obtaining and coordinating staging areas … It shall be the responsibility of the Contractor to investigate and obtain any additional areas which may be necessary for his/her construction operations.”
The July 11 amendment to the bid package said, “[T]he Contractor may ‘scrape’ the existing beach” in front of the Lido Pavilion and Pool. That would be allowed, the package notes, if the contractor needs to cover the existing rock groin that extends offshore of the southern part of the renourishment area, so the contractor can transport equipment over the groin.
The amendment specified, “Scraping shall be uniform throughout the area to avoid holes, ruts, etc. and not excavated below mean high water … The temporary sand ramp shall be of the Contractor’s own design,” the amendment continues, “and shall be constructed so as to ensure the existing rock groin is not damaged from equipment traversing over it. Any damage to the existing groin that occurs due to … equipment traversing it, shall be repaired at the Contractor’s expense.”
The amendment added “The scraped area shall be filled back to its approximate pre-scraped condition within 2 calendar days from the commencement of fill operations.”
In April, the City of Sarasota completed an emergency renourishment project on Lido Beach; part of the new sand covered the area in front of the pavilion and pool.
Approximately 205,000 cubic yards of sand was removed from New Pass for the emergency initiative, which involved slightly more than 1 mile of the beach.
City Manager Tom Barwin has pointed out that city leaders hope the emergency project will keep the shoreline stable until the long-term USACE project can begin. Barwin also has talked numerous times of the expectation that the USACE renourishment effort would begin this November.
The City of Sarasota was the co-applicant for the Joint Coastal Permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for the long-term project to be overseen by the USACE.
Changes related to turtle monitoring
The July 18 amendment struck a section of the original bid package regarding turtle monitoring. The first version said that if the placement of sand on Lido Beach or the groin construction has begun by April 15, turtle monitoring and nest location would have to start on the same date “and continue currently with the performance of the work.”
However, the document continued, if the placement of sand “or groin construction has not commenced prior to April 15th, the Contractor shall commence turtle monitoring and nest location activities for … 65 days prior to performing any work (including movement of equipment) in the beach fill area or groin construction area …”
In that case, the document added, after turtle monitoring and nest location activities were pursued for 65 days, the contractor could start work in the beach fill area or groin construction area “and continue the monitoring activities concurrently with performance of the work.” In any event, it pointed out, turtle monitoring and nest location/relocation activities would be required through Oct. 31 or until completion of the work, whichever came first.
The July 18 amendment said, “The City of Sarasota will be conducting turtle monitoring and nest location/relocation activities from April 15, 2019 through October 31, 2019. If dredging and placement of material in the beach fill area continues through April 15, 2020, the Contractor shall commence turtle monitoring and nest location/relocation activities at this time. Turtle monitoring and nest location/relocation activities are required through October 31, 2020 or until completion of the work, whichever is earlier.”
The Biological Opinion the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued for the project on Dec. 29, 2016 said that because of concerns about how the construction of the two groins would affect sea turtles, the USFWS would not authorize construction “during the main part of the sea turtle nesting season (May 1 through October 31).”
However, the FDEP permit for the Lido project, issued in June 2018, says, “Sand placement activities and groin constriction may occur during the marine turtle nesting season (April 15 – October 31), except on publicly owned conservation lands such as state parks and areas where such work is prohibited by the managing agency or under applicable local land use codes …” Even then, the permit continues, the activity cannot proceed without prior “authorization of incidental take by the National Marine Fisheries with state law.
“Incidental take” refers to the killing of turtles.