TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: This district 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 Land Trust
80 Royal Palm Pointe, Suite 301
Vero Beach, Florida 32960
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States
associated with the Indian River Lagoon. The project site is situated on the west side of
State Road A-1-A, 0.8 miles north of the Indian River/St. Lucie County line in Sections
33 and 34, Township 33S, Range 40E, Indian River County.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Jacksonville head south of Interstate 95 to
State Road 60 in Vero Beach and go east to State Road A-1-A and go south
approximately 5 miles to the project site on the west side of road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Overall: Provide additional parking, improve flushing and provide additional recreational
opportunities at the Indian River County Mosquito Impoundment.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is an existing maintained mosquito
impoundment managed by the Indian River County Mosquito Control District. The site is
primarily mangroves with a perimeter road and limited parking at the main entrance
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 0.18 acres of Brazilian
pepper dominated freshwater wetlands for the construction of a parking area adjacent to
an Indian River Mosquito Impoundment known as the Oyster Marsh Bar Trail to
facilitate increased recreational use. The work also includes construction within the
impoundment of three boardwalks and two observation decks: (106’ x 5’), (351’ x 6’ with
a 249’ x 5‘wide extension and an 8’ x 20’ deck), (66’ x 5’ with an 8’ x 20’ deck). Other
work includes the installation of two 30” culverts in the mosquito impoundment dike to
improve water flow and quality.
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 project has been designed around the environmental
constraints of the project site by minimizing impacts to natural wetland areas. Seagrass
surveys were conducted to facilitate the location of the observation pier in an area that
avoids impacts to seagrasses and the boardwalks and culverts have been designed and
located to have minimal impacts to mangroves as much as possible while still providing
increased recreational opportunities and increased water flow to the impoundment.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The boardwalks and observations decks will provide
improved recreational access to the impoundments which will create some temporary
disturbances to the area but conditions should return to normal once the work is
complete. The parking area impacts a low quality, non-native Brazilian pepper
dominated marginal wetland area whose primary source of water input is from road run
off and discharge from an adjacent stormwater pond. The culverts will improve water
quality and flow and are expected to result in an overall net improvement to the area for
water quality and wildlife.
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 and the activity is of such limited scope there is little likelihood of
impact upon a historic property; therefore, the proposed project would have “No
Potential to Cause Effect”.
The Corps evaluated the proposed work utilizing NMFS’s Statewide Programmatic
Biological Opinion (SWPBO) dated 4 December 2015. The SWPBO analyzes the
effects from 11 categories of activities on sea turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, Kemp's
ridley, hawksbill, and green); smalltooth sawfish; Johnson's seagrass; sturgeon (Gulf,
shortnose, and Atlantic); corals (elkhorn, staghorn, boulder star, mountainous star,
lobed star, rough cactus, and pillar); North Atlantic right whales; and designated critical
habitat for Johnson's seagrass, smalltooth sawfish, Gulf sturgeon, loggerhead sea
turtle, North Atlantic right whale, and elkhorn and staghorn corals in accordance with
Section 7 of the ESA. Based on past permitting practices of the Corps and review of
consultations with similar in-water construction activities, Project Design Criteria (PDCs)
were identified in the SWPBO that typically have been applied to permitted in-water
construction activities. These PDCs ensure effects of in-water construction activities
are minimal in nature and do not result in adverse effects to listed species or to
essential features of designated CH. For this verification, the Corps conducted a project
specific review to ensure that all of the PDCs were met.
Manatee: Potential impacts to the endangered West Indian manatee were also
evaluated using “The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida
Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida” dated April 2013. Use of the
Manatee key resulted in the following sequential determination: A (In waters accessible
to Manatee) > B (Project other than listed.) > C (Project not in IMA) > G (No new access
for watercraft) >N (No effect to SAV) >O (Permittee/Applicant will adhere to Manatee
Construction Guidelines) >P (other than) = “May affect, not likely to adversely affect” is
appropriate and no further consultation with the Service is necessary.
Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake: The project site is within the consultation area for this
species according to the USFWS Web Site. At the time of its listing, the Atlantic salt
marsh snake was thought to include salt marsh snakes as far south as Indian River
County (FWS 1977). Its distribution may actually be much more restricted, limited to the
brackish, coastal marshes of Volusia County. If this is the case, the Atlantic salt marsh
snakes vulnerability to habitat destruction and modification is even greater than
previously realized (FWS 1993). The Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake inhabits coastal salt
marshes and mangrove swamps. Specifically, it occurs along tidal creek and pool, in
saline environment ranging from brackish to full strength. The proposed project does
not permanently alter any know habitats for the saltmarsh snake and does not impact
any critical habitat for the Salt Marsh Snake. Based on SLOPES and other information
as cited above the Corps has determined that the project will not jeopardize the
continued existence of this species or adversely modify any critical habitat for the Salt
Marsh Snake and therefore in accordance with Sections 7(a)-(d) [U.S.C. 1536(a)-(d)] of
the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended (“Act”) the Corps has determined a
No Effect for the salt marsh snake.
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 proposed boardwalks and observation
decks would impact approximately 0.1 acres of mangrove and shallow open water
utilized by various life stages of coral, snapper and grouper. Our initial determination is
that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or
Federally managed fisheries in the Indian River Lagoon. Our final determination relative
to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by the
National Marine Fisheries Service.
NAVIGATION: Based on the Florida State Plane coordinates provided by the applicant,
the waterward edge of the proposed structure nearest the Intracoastal Waterway
Federal (ICW) is over 4000 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal
Waterway Federal channel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: The project is also being reviewed by
the State of Florida.
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, at the letterhead address within 15 days from the date of this notice.
If you have any questions concerning this application, you may contact Jim Carr at the
letterhead address, by electronic mail at email@example.com , or by telephone
at 321-504-3771, extension 26.
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the
information received from this coordination 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 any compensatory mitigation proposed.