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:
APPLICANT: Riverside Heights Holdings II & III, LLC
701 S. Howard Avenue, Suite 106 – 322
Tampa, Florida 33606
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Hillsborough River. The project site is located at 1910 N. Ola Street, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. The site is located in Section 13, Township 29 South, and Range 18 East.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Tampa, follow Interstate-4 to Exit 1, 22nd Street Exit toward Cruise Ships/21st Street. Stay straight to go onto FL-585. Take the first left onto N 21st St./FL-585. Turn right onto E. Palm Avenue. Turn left onto N. Highland Avenue. Take the first right onto W. Oak Avenue. Turn left onto N. Ola Avenue. The project site is located on the right at 1910 N. Ola Avenue.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Seawall replacement and boat slip construction
Overall: Replacement of existing seawall and construction of boat slips at Tampa Heights, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of approximately 1.2 acres in the Hillsborough River along the north bank of the river. The aquatic resource system consists of the Hillsborough River, which eventually connects with Tampa Bay. Vegetation that is present on site consists of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and lead tree (Leucaena leucocephala). There are no seagrasses or mangroves present within the project area. The project site contains the remnants of an upland-excavated finger canal approximately 300 feet long and 90 feet wide that was previously used as a cargo transfer area associated with the industrial uses of the property. This abandoned finger canal limits the amount of tidal exchange, resulting in water stagnation and increased pollutant concentrations in the area. The area surrounding the project site consists of existing residential, commercial, and industrial development. The adjacent uplands are vacant except for the presence of the existing Armature Works Building, which is proposed for preservation. This upland area is a designated Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) with a statutory finding of blight and is subject to an adopted CRA Plan.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct an extension of the Tampa Riverwalk from Waterworks Park to the N. Boulevard bridge, repair and replace approximately 1,300 linear feet of existing seawall, construct 19 transient boat slips and 1 water taxi slip, remove an existing abandoned inclined marine railway and place fill in the area to accommodate extension of the public Tampa Riverwalk, place fill in the Hillsborough River to allow the northward extension of the Tampa Riverwalk and the westward extension of 7th Avenue, and maintenance dredge an area of the Hillsborough River at the project site.
The project would replace approximately 1,324 linear feet of existing vertical seawall, including returns. The replacement seawall would be 4-feet wide and constructed of precast concrete sheet pile. The replacement seawall would be jetted in place using a water pump. Approximately 181 cubic yards of riprap would be placed in a 3,270 square-foot area along 186 linear feet of the Hillsborough River at the eastern end of the proposed replacement seawall. The project would remove the existing abandoned marine inclined railway and place approximately 5,050 cubic yards of fill in the 0.46-acre area. To allow the northward extension of the Tampa Riverwalk and the westward extension of 7th Avenue, approximately 3,000 cubic yards of fill would be placed in 0.16 acres below the Mean High Water Line (MHWL) of the Hillsborough River.
Maintenance dredging would remove approximately 964 cubic yards of dredge material from 15,200 square feet immediately waterward of the proposed replacement seawall. This area would be dredged to -6.0 North American Vertical Datum (NAVD).
Approximately 360 cubic yards of riprap would be placed below the MHWL in a 4,827 square foot area under the N. Boulevard Bridge to assure protection of the existing vertical seawall from erosion due to marine traffic and wave action. The project proposes construction of 7,184 square feet of floating docks to accommodate 19 transient boat slips. The docks would have no provision for overnight accommodations. The docks would be constructed with 55 14” X 14” precast concrete pilings. The project would also construct a 7,547-square foot fixed viewing platform with an 888-square foot floating dock to accommodate utilization as a water taxi stop. This area would be constructed with 94 12” X 12” precast concrete pilings. All fill material would be clean sand or gravel obtained from an upland source. All dredged material would be disposed of in an approved upland location. All construction would be conducted during daylight hours. The project would be constructed using a jet pump mounted on a small barge which drafts less than 2 feet. The entire project area has sufficient water depth to prevent prop or wheel scarring.
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:
The alignment of the seawall and Riverwalk were designed to avoid and minimize adverse impacts. Formerly a bulkheaded industrial site, the project area contains no aquatic fauna. The design accomplishes Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant alignment and continuity with the existing Riverwalk at the connection with Water Works Park. The design also accomplishes Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) compliant right-of-way width/separation at the west end where the road and Riverwalk must pass under the existing bridge. The demolition of the inclined marine railway, removal of the concrete floor, rail tracks and silt from years of industrial operations would benefit water quality. Removal of this industrial marine structure would also eliminate a path for untreated surface water to drain untreated in to the river.
The existing Riverwalk and 7th Avenue alignments are established and the facilities are in service. The proposed design and alignment minimize the amount of fill waterward of the MHWL to only that necessary to align with the existing Riverwalk and extend 7th Avenue from its existing location. The applicant has reduced the number of proposed slips from 25 to 20 to reduce potential adverse impacts. The creation of urban density mixed-use villages supports mass transit, reduces traffic through trip capture, and promotes the sharing of public infrastructure, all of which lead to a reduction of greenhouse gases. In order to limit and minimize impacts to the Florida manatee to the greatest extent possible, the applicant is proposing onsite signage, educational materials for residents and dock users, and marking of the navigation channels to provide increased awareness. The applicant feels that these measures, and the existing speed zones within the Hillsborough River, provide reasonable assurance that impacts to the manatee would be minimized to the greatest possible extent and that protection for the animal would be greatly increased over current conditions.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The project would not result in direct or indirect loss of aquatic resource function or value. The removal of the concrete floored, steel sided inclined marine railway would have a positive effect on water quality. The new stormwater system would capture and pre-treat surface water that currently drains directly into the river. Many invasive/exotic plants have been removed from the project site and the balance would be removed as part of this proposed project. The project area would be marked so boaters can safely negotiate in and out of the docking facility. The applicant feels that the project is consistent with the adjacent property uses and that with the habitat protection measures outlined above, would not result in direct or indirect loss of aquatic resource function or value.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected. 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.
The project site is located within waters inhabited by the endangered West Indian (Florida) Manatee (Trichechus manatus). The applicant agrees to adhere to the “Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work -2011”. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) completed an evaluation of the impacts the work may have on the manatee or its designated critical habitat and determined that the project “may affect” the manatee or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) via separate letter.
The project site is located in waters that are possibly utilized by the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and several species of swimming sea turtles, including the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempit). The Corps completed an evaluation of the impacts the work may have on the smalltooth sawfish and swimming sea turtles. The applicant agrees to adhere to the "Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions". The Corps determined that the proposed project "may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect" the smalltooth sawfish and swimming sea turtles or their designated critical habitat. The Corps requested concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Protected Resources Division (PRD) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended, via email dated 19 December 2016, under the Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion agreement dated 4 December 2015. Per this agreement, if no comments are received from the NMFS PRD within 10 calendar days, concurrence is presumed. No comments were received from NMFS PRD and the Corps has determined that it has fulfilled its responsibilities pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA.
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 proposal would not impact any habitat utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, red drum, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory and pelagic fish, snapper and grouper complex, and calico scallop. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Hillsborough River. Our 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.
NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. This information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps personnel.
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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302 within 15 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, Ms. Darlene Dannels, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7068.
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.