JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 19, 2013) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has issued a public notice in connection with the city of St. Petersburg’s application for a Department of the Army permit to demolish the existing St. Petersburg Municipal Pier and construct a new pier in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Fla. Comments are being accepted through Friday, May 3, 2013.
The applicant is seeking authorization to demolish the existing 230,000-square-foot St. Petersburg Municipal Pier and construct a new 121,700-square-foot pier. The old pier deck would be transported to an upland landfill or to the Albert Whitted Airport to construct a shoreline stabilization revetment. The new pier and promontory would be partially covered by an aluminum-faced canopy, and the canopy support structure would include an elevator and stair enclosure to allow access to observation decks and walkways. The new pier would also include enclosed space for food service counters, marina operations, restrooms and elevators. The proposed project includes a 24 slip day-use marina for boats ranging from 25 to 40 feet long, and would provide opportunities for rental of non-motorized watercraft. A proposed habitat enhancement area would be located within the loop of the pier walkways.
The applicant states that the new pier footprint and design features will result in a net environmental benefit. The number of piles required to support the proposed new pier would be reduced by 825 from the existing pier, and the proposed new structure would reduce shading impacts by approximately 47 percent. Turbidity barriers would be deployed during demolition and construction, and construction barges would be prohibited from working or anchoring within 20 feet of the seagrass beds. Best management practices and a detailed stormwater management plan would be used during construction to minimize impacts to water quality.
The project site is located within waters possibly inhabited by the endangered West Indian (Florida) Manatee as well as sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. The Corps has determined that the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” any of these species; however, in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, the Corps will request concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Further, construction of the walkways for the new pier structure is anticipated to impact approximately 0.03 acres of seagrass habitat. The Corps’ initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on essential fish habitat. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Corps will also request concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Comments regarding the potential authorization of the proposed work should be submitted in writing by Friday, May 3, 2013 to: District Engineer, Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princes Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Fla. 33610-8302, by email to email@example.com or by fax to 813-769-7061. The public notice and supporting documents are available for review at www.saj.usace.army.mil. Once on the website, click on Missions, then Regulatory, then Items of Interest. A copy of the public notice may also be obtained by request to the above mail or email addresses.
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit will be based on the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands and on the information received through this public notice. The Corps’ decision is pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which authorized the Corps to regulate dredge and fill activities in waters of the United States, including some wetlands and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which authorized the Corps to protect and maintain the nation’s navigable waterways.
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