Public Notice Notifications

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SAJ-2009-03448 (MOD-LCK)

Published Jan. 3, 2017
Expiration date: 1/20/2017
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

St. Lucie County Erosion District
c/o Mr. Richard Bouchard
2300 Virginia Ave
Ft. Pierce, FL 34982

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The beach and dune restoration site is located in St. Lucie County, and extends from Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reference monument R-98 to the St. Lucie/ Martin County Line at R- 115+1000, Sections 27, 34, 35, Township 36 and 37 South, Range 41 East, Atlantic Ocean. The offshore borrow area is located on the southern portion of St. Lucie Shoal, 3 to 4 miles offshore of R-98 through R-115. Three upland mines (Ranch Road Lake Sand Mine, the Henry A. Fischer & Sons, Inc. 86th Street Mine and Stewart Mine) are also approved sources of fill for this project. Two mitigation reefs are included in the project and are in the Atlantic Ocean off of St. Lucie County identified below.

Directions to the site are as follows: From US-1/SR-5 in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, find SR A1A. The project is located between the Martin County/St. Lucie County Line and FDEP Range Monument R-98.


Beach Fill area:
Northern Limit: Latitude 27.308014°
Longitude -80.220807°

Southern limit: Latitude 27.262971°
Longitude -80.200014°

Approximate center for borrow area:
Latitude: 27.276°
Longitude: -80.160°


Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline stabilization.

Overall: The overall project purpose is shoreline stabilization and storm protection along South Hutchinson Island, St. Lucie County between FDEP monuments R-98 to R- 115+1000.

HISTORY: The Corps completed an Environmental Impact Statement for the original project and issued a record of decision and permit authorization on June 6, 2012, which expires on June 6, 2017. To compensate for the direct impact of 1.34 acres of nearshore hardbottom from fill activities and the direct impact to 0.02 acres of nearshore hardbottom by the pipeline placement, resulted in the compensatory mitigation of the construction of 1.89 acres of mitigation reefs. Two mitigation reef sites were selected, the northern one was constructed east of FDEP Monuments 75 and 76, and the southern reef was constructed east of FDEP Monument R-91 in the nearshore waters in water depths less than 4 meters. The mitigation has been completed and has been determined to be in compliance.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed sand borrow area is located in tidal waters from 3.0 to 6.0 miles offshore of FDEP monuments R-88 to R-115, and is labeled Area 5. The proposed borrow area contains approximately 1.3 million cubic yards of beach compatible material. The borrow site is located in water depths of approximately -36.0 feet to -43.0 feet NGVD. The sediment analysis provided by the applicant for Area 5 is characterized as moderately sorted, medium-grained sand with <1.0% gravel (shell) and 1.6% fines. The material contains an average of 78.4% carbonate and 2.0% organics. The composite grain-size for Area 5 of the borrow area is 0.43 millimeters (mm). The native beach has a composite mean grain size of 0.49 mm.

The proposed beach and dune fill project consists of habitats ranging from beach dune, dry beach, inter-tidal beach, and sub-tidal beach. The existing dune vegetation consists of beach morning glory (Ipomoea imperati), railroad vine (Ipomoea pescapre), sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera), sea oats (Uniola paniculata), sea purslane (Sesuvium spp.), and beach elder (Iva imbricata). The beach area supports a variety of shore and wading birds as well as ghost crabs and small mammals. The beach has historically provided suitable habitat for nesting sea turtles. The sub- and inter-tidal areas support various infaunal invertebrates, shorebirds, and fish. Directly adjacent to the beach is an intermittent strip of hard bottom/worm rock reef. The hard bottom worm reef community is characterized by large colonial conglomerates of rigid Sabellariid worm tubes of the species Phragmatopoma lapidosa, as well as sponges, and other sessile benthic organisms. The land uses surrounding the project site consists of residential and public beaches with public facilities.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks to extend the authorization of an existing authorized beach template for an additional 10 years. The existing authorization is to stabilize and restore approximately 3.4 miles of beach and dune along the South Beach shoreline of St. Lucie County, using approximately 485,900 cubic yards of fill dredged from an offshore borrow area or from upland sources from FDEP monument R-98 to R-115. The berm elevation will be +5.35 feet NAVD, and will extend seaward approximately 60 feet, which includes 25 feet of advanced fill, at a 100:1 (horizontal: vertical) slope, and will tie into the existing grade with a 10:1 (horizontal: vertical) slope on the seaward face. The restored dune will have a crest width of between 9-67 feet (with a 38 feet average), at an elevation of +12.5 feet NAVD, and will have a seaward slope of 3:1 (horizontal: vertical), connecting to the beach berm at +5.35 feet NAVD. Dune vegetation will be planted to stabilize the partially restored dune. The approximate 134 acre offshore borrow area shall not be dredged deeper than -49 feet NAVD. Three upland mines (Ranch Road Lake Sand Mine, the Henry A. Fischer & Sons, Inc. 86th Street Mine and Stewart Mine) are also approved sources of fill for this project.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION – The applicant has provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment: No additional impacts to submerged aquatic resources beyond what was originally mitigated for are proposed or anticipated. The project is a re-authorization of an existing fill template where impacts to hardbottom resources have already been mitigated. Construction is expected to occur outside sea turtle nesting season, as well as outside the peak breeding season for listed shore and sea birds. Water quality will be maintained by using best management practices including sediment and erosion control devices.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: No additional impacts to submerged aquatic resources beyond what was originally mitigated for are proposed or anticipated, therefore no additional mitigation is proposed.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely” the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). The Corps has also determined the proposed project “may affect” nesting sea turtles [loggerhead (Caretta caretta), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)].

By letter dated December 14, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously stated for the existing authorization that it was appropriate to apply to the Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion (SPBO) dated April 19, 2011.
The Corps will request initiation of informal consultation for the piping plover, manatee and Florida scrub jay and formal consultation for nesting sea turtles with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

The Corps has determined that the proposed project will have no effect on, Acropora spp. and the following listed coral species: Dendrogyra cylindris, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox, and any designated critical habitat.

Section 7 consultation was completed for the swimming sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish for the existing authorization which were covered under the South Atlantic Regional Biological Opinion for Hopper Dredging (SARBO) dated October 29, 1997. The Corps has completed an evaluation of the impacts the proposed re-authorization may have on the above listed species and have determined that the SARBO is still appropriate to apply to the project.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The project is anticipated to impact approximately 1.26 acres of nearshore hardbottom by burial; however, these impacts fall within the acreage that was previously impacted and successfully mitigated. This hardbottom is utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Dredging offshore shoal areas consisting of sand and shell may also affect managed species. Previously constructed artificial reefs have provided similar ecological functions and mitigate the proposed buried hardbottom. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. The Corps final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.

COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Palm Beach Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, or by electronic mail at or by telephone at (561) 472-3527 within 21 days from the date of this notice.

The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicant's avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.

QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Linda C. Knoeck, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at, or, by telephone at (561)472-3527.

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Services, and other Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and concerned citizens generally yields pertinent environmental information that is instrumental in determining the impact the proposed action will have on the natural resources of the area.

EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including cumulative impacts thereof; among these are conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other Interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this determination, comments are used to assess impacts to endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan. In Puerto Rico, a Coastal Zone Management Consistency Concurrence is required from the Puerto Rico Planning Board. In the Virgin Islands, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources permit constitutes compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Plan.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.