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: TRG North Flagler Venture, Ltd.
Attn: Arturo Pena
315 S. Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33131
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project is located on a 2.96 acre parcel adjacent to the Lake Worth Lagoon within the Intracoastal Waterway at 4400 North Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach (Section 27 Township 43 and South, Range 43 East), Palm Beach County Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take the 45th Street exit east in West Palm
Beach and continue east until you reach Dixie Highway. Turn right onto Dixie Highway and the property is approximately 0.12 miles on the right side of the road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline stabilization for a future multi-family residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is shoreline stabilization for a future multi-family residential development in West Palm Beach.
HISTORY: The Corps issued a permit on August 15, 2007 for the repair and replacement of an existing seawall and docks located on the proposed property site under the same ownership. The proposed project is located on the southern portion of the property outside of the footprint of the existing authorization.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The vegetation along the lagoon shoreline in the project area is dominated by herbaceous vines (sea purslane and railroad vine) and exotic inkberry (Scaevola frutescens). There is a single red mangrove tree approximately 5-feet in height that will be relocated onsite. A seagrass survey conducted in July and August of 2016, identified two distinct seagrass beds. A total of 7,908 sq. ft (735 sq. m) of seagrass was delineated within the survey area. The total survey area was 70,047 sq. ft. (6,508 sq. m); seagrass cover accounted for 11% of the total area. Two distinct seagrass beds occur within the study area for the project: (1) low-density mixed bed of Halophila johnsonii and Halodule wrightii along the shoreline and (2) low-density mixed bed of H. johnsonii, H. decipiens, and H. wrightii in the southeastern extent of the survey area. The mixed H. johnsonii/H. wrightii bed is the dominant seagrass habitat and occurs in intertidal, shallow (≤ 3 ft.) water depths along the shoreline while the mixed Halophila spp./H. wrightii bed is located further offshore in deeper water (≤ 5 ft). The area between the beds is unvegetated silty sand and muck with a surface layer of mat cyanobacteria. The existing material along the shoreline consists of rock, concrete and similar material that is mixed in with acceptable beach sand.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to excavate approximately 7,700 square feet (1,200 cy) of upland material to no more than +2-feet NGVD, and place 7,770 square feet (130 cubic yards) of clean beach fill above the MHWL, at an elevation of 1V:4H to match the existing bulkhead groin structure crest elevation, which will equilibrate approximately 24 feet waterward of the MWHL.
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 contractor will install and maintain turbidity curtains surrounding the proposed excavation and filling operation. The Contractor is expected to remove the existing non-beach compatible material using a backhoe or other standard mechanical earth moving equipment. The design of the construction template involved predicting the post fill placement equilibrated profile to ensure that no impacts occurred to the adjacent seagrass bed. Beach fill was eliminated along the northern third of the bulkhead to avoid potential impacts from beach fill equilibration. The closest distance from the equilibrium toe of fill to adjacent seagrass beds is 3 ft., and the furthest distance is approximately 58 ft.
There is a single red mangrove that will be relocated onsite, outside of the project area in order to avoid adverse impacts to this resource. This mangrove will be assessed for survival at 6 months post-transplantation and 1 year post-transplantation. All water bodies, including any adjacent submerged aquatic vegetation are located outside the specific limits of construction, therefore no adverse impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation is anticipated and compensatory mitigation is not required.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: No additional impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation are proposed or anticipated therefore no compensatory mitigation is required. Furthermore, the relocated single red mangrove will be monitored for survival as a minimization measure.
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)]. The Corps has determined that the project is appropriate to apply the Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion (SPBO) dated February 2015 and Piping Plover Programmatic Biological Opinion (P3BO) dated May 2013. The Corps will request concurrence with these determination 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 because there is no in-water work and all fill material will be placed above the mean high water line, that the proposed project will have no effect on the following listed species under the National Marine Fisheries Service Protect Resource Division purview: Acropora spp. the listed coral species: Dendrogyra cylindris, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox, as well as the swimming sea turtles; loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) , the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii), and would not adversely modify any of the above listed species designated critical habitat.
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 2,790 square feet of unvegetated benthic habitat 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 Linda.C.Knoeck@usace.army.mil or by telephone at (561) 472-3530 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 Linda.C.Knoeck@usace.army.mil, or, by telephone at (561)472-3530.
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.