Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

Special Issues - These are public notices that involve the Regulatory program but which are generally not limited to one particular geographic area. These would include public notices for the establishment or modification of Restricted Areas/Danger Zones, re-issuance of General Permits or Nationwide Permits, changes to guidance and policies, etc.

Administrative Penalty - These public notices provide information associated with Administrative Penalties. An Administrative Penalty can be assessed to address violations associated with issued Department of the Army permits.

SAJ-2016-02916 (SP-AWP)

Published April 27, 2017
Expiration date: 5/18/2017
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:

APPLICANT:  Indian River Board of County Commissioners
                       Attn: James Gray, County Coastal Engineer
                       1801 27th Street
                       Vero Beach, Florida 32960

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located approximately 5-8 miles south of Sebastian Inlet approximately 3-4 miles offshore in Federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Directions to the site are as follows: see maps attached

APPROXIMATE COORDINATES:

Location              Latitude          Longitude
NW Corner          27.8374         -80.3636
NE Corner           27.8389         -80.3598
SW Corner          27.8340         -80.3619
SE Corner           27.8355         -80.3582

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: Artificial Reef

Overall: Construction of the Orchid Island Artificial Reef Zone 1 of the coast of Indian River County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: Based on analysis of a 2014 Side Scan Survey of the OIARC, no natural hard bottom or existing submerged aquatic vegetation have been observed within the proposed reef deployment site.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to create a 40 acre artificial reef zone in order to construct approximately 5 patch reefs within the reef zone over the next decade. Reefs will be spaced a minimum of 500 feet between each section and will be deployed in water depths ranging 50-60 feet relative to MLLW. The applicant is seeking a 10 year permit to complete construction.

Reef materials will consist of various approved, high quality, durable materials. These include, large secondary concrete structures (i.e. light poles, culverts, railroad ties, etc.), approved artificial reef modules, and/or limestone boulders. At no time will the proposed reef materials contain asphalt, creosote, petroleum, loose free-floating material, or other hydrocarbons or deleterious substances.

Although construction of each individual reef will vary depending on deployment location and depths, reef sites will have elevations between 10-15 feet in order to maintain a minimum clearance of 40 feet between the top of the reef and Mean Low Low Water (MLLW). Each reef will have a maximum constructed footprint of 33,000 feet2 or 0.75 acres and will contain up to 1,000 tons of material. Spacing between reefs will also be considered in order to maintain recreational and natural biological functions.

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: Deployment of artificial reefs will be conducted on calm sea days and during daylight hours only. Pre-deployment and post-deployment dives will accompany every reef construction to ensure no impacts to biological and/or cultural resources. If resources are observed, deployment buffers of at least 500 feet will be implemented prior to reef construction. Reef construction will also be designed and deployed in order to prevent entanglement and entrapment of marine animals.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The proposed artificial reef sites will create multiple artificial hardbottom habitats to encourage biological diversity and create additional recreation (fishing and diving) locations. In addition, artificial reef sites offer numerous educational opportunities to local high school/ college students enrolled in oceanography, ocean engineering, marine meteorology, marine biology/ecology, etc.

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 affect the West Indian manatee, Green sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, Leatherback sea turtle, Loggerhead sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle, Smalltooth sawfish, North Atlantic right whale or any designated critical habitat. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination 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 40 acres of marine water column utilized by various life stages of shrimp, snapper and grouper, dolphin and wahoo, spiny lobster, and coastal migratory pelagic. The proposed reef location has been surveyed using sidescan sonar and no natural hard bottom or existing submerged aquatic vegetation have been observed. The artificial reef is expected to create additional EFH bottom structure where none currently exists. Biological monitoring of the Indian River County/Sebastian Inlet Sport fishing Anglers Association (SISA) located a few miles northeast of the proposed site has identified successful creation of EFH and improved fisheries within the area. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. 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 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at andrew.w.phillips@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (321)504-3803; or, by telephone at (321)504-3771 extension 14.

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.