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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Gary and Beth Nichols
146 Venetian Drive
Islamorada, FL 33036
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Florida Bay. The project site is located within an existing commercial marina within Florida Bay at 5-15 Seaview Avenue; legally described as Lot 14 of Conch Key, PV2-130, Parcel ID# 00386100-000000 and Lot 51 of Conch Key PB 2-130 Parcel ID# 00386110-000000; in Section 14, Township 65 South, Range 34 East; Marathon, Monroe County, Florida 33050 (MM±63).
Directions to the site are as follows: From Miami, drive south on U.S. 1 Overseas Highway toward Marathon. On approximately mile marker (MM) 63 turn right onto North Conch Avenue and then right into Seaview Avenue. The project site would be at the end of the road on a commercial marina. At 15 Seaview Avenue.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 24.790861° North
Longitude: -80.889311° West
Basic: The basic project purpose is to expand the existing commercial fishing marina to create additional slips to improve the docking facility.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to expand the existing commercial fishing marina to create additional slips to improve the docking facility and facilitate the repeat transportation and mooring of vessels in Conch Key, Monroe County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed project is located at an existing commercial fishing marina immediately adjacent to Florida Bay in Marathon. Currently the marina supports multiple finger piers and marginal docks to accommodate 12 wet slips.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a 1,665-square foot (ft²) timber docking structure expansion, as depicted on the enclosed plans (5 pages). The proposed work would result on the addition of 10 new wet slips for a total of 22 wet slips within this commercial marina. Temporary turbidity curtains will be deployed for the duration of all construction activities, in/over waters of the United States. Work is in U.S. navigable waters in accordance with the enclosed site plans
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: Temporary turbidity curtains will be deployed for the duration of all construction activities, in/over waters of the United States.
Additionally, the applicant proposes to avoid and preserve in perpetuity 8,770 ft² of mangrove wetland areas along the shoreline.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation will be required. The applicant has indicated that the mitigation proposal will be based on the Keys Restoration Fund (KRF). Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). Since the proposal by the applicant is for in-water construction, potential impacts to the endangered West Indian manatee were evaluated using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 (Key). Use of the Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > H > I > J >L >M >O > P (2), “MANLAA”. This determination is partially based on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work, 2011. By letter dated April 25, 2013, the Corps received concurrence from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding MANLAA determinations for the West Indian manatee in accordance with 50 CFR 402.14(b)1 and pursuant to the Key. No further coordination with the FWS is required.
The project site is not within the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) critical habitat; however, it is within the species consultation area. By letter dated October 28, 2014, the FWS issued programmatic concurrence for projects in the Keys south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and State Road 905 in Key Largo. The letter states that projects located in this range are unlikely to adversely affect the American crocodile if it meets one or more of the listed criteria. By using the programmatic letter, paragraph 2, the proposed project does not contain suitable nesting habitat that is accessible to the crocodile. Therefore, given that the proposed impact area meets these criteria as set by the FWS, the Corps has made a “MANLAA” determination in regard to the American crocodile. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation with the Service is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and their designated critical habitat, hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), kemps ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) species. A no effect determination was reached on smalltooth sawfish critical habitat, Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), Acorpora sp. and its designated critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, Mycetophyllia ferox). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with these determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 impact approximately 1,665 square feet of submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marine species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida, 33176, within 21 days from the date of this notice (i.e. on or before March 14, 2017).
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, Gletys Guardia-Montoya at the letterhead address, by electronic mail at Gletys.Guardia-Montoya@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at 305-526-2515.
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.