News Release

Dry Tortugas National Park seeks public input on repairs to counterscarp and moat at Fort Jefferson

A fort surrounded by water with a broken section of the moat wall.
The breach in the Fort Jefferson counterscarp (moat wall) at Dry Tortugas was caused by hurricanes.

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News Release Date: March 8, 2023

Contact: Media contact: Allyson Gantt, 786-610-8023

Contact: Project contact: Daniel Noon, 305-242-7717

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The National Park Service (NPS) announced the release of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for repairs to the Fort Jefferson counterscarp and dredging of the moat at Dry Tortugas National Park. The counterscarp is the moat wall surrounding Fort Jefferson. The EA is available for review and comment from Mar. 8 to April 10 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment site (

The purpose of this project is to repair the sections of the Fort Jefferson counterscarp damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Ian in 2022 and remove sand deposits that accumulated from these hurricanes within the moat and around the finger piers. The proposed repairs and dredging are supported by construction funds allocated through Public Law 115-123 for national park units impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The EA evaluates a no-action alternative and one action alternative, describes the environment that would be affected by the alternatives, and assesses the environmental consequences of implementing the alternatives. Under the no-action alternative, the NPS would maintain the existing conditions at Fort Jefferson.

Under the preferred alternative, impacts from the hurricanes would be addressed by:
  • identifying, removing, and relocating endangered corals and other significant benthic organisms prior to the commencement of repairs,
  • repairing, strengthening, and protecting the compromised sections of the Fort Jefferson counterscarp,
  • removing sand and silt material at two locations in the moat surrounding the fort and the finger slips at the Garden Key Waterfront, and
  • placing the sand and silt material in appropriate locations within and adjacent to the fort.
The proposed action incorporates input received last winter as part of civic engagement and early coordination with Tribes, other federal and state agencies, and local governments.

The public may comment on the Repairs to the Fort Jefferson Counterscarp and Dredging of Selected Areas EA during the review period, which ends April 10. The preferred method of providing comments is through the project website under the “Open for Comment” tab.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to:  
Dry Tortugas National Park
Attn: Superintendent, Fort Jefferson Counterscarp EA
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034

Mailed comments should be postmarked no later than April 10.

Last updated: March 8, 2023

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Mailing Address:

40001 SR-9336
Homestead, FL 33034


305 242-7700

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