: 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) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: City of Cape Coral
C/o Mr. John Szerlag, City Manager
Post Office Box 150027
Cape Coral, Florida 33915
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the South Spreader Waterway. The project site is located at 5808 Cape harbor Drive, in Section 21, Township 45 South, Range 23 East, Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take Exit 136; take Colonial Boulevard and head east; cross over into Cape Coral; name of road will into Cape Coral Parkway; make a left on Chiquita Boulevard South; make a right on Cape Harbour Drive; project site will be on left-hand side.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 26.543556°
Basic: Public boater safety
Overall: Provide increased public boater safety by the removal of the Chiquita Boat Lock in Cape Coral.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a saltwater waterway. The total project area consists of 0.47 ac. It includes 0.13 ac of the existing boat lock, seawalls, and pilings. A control building, parking lot, access entrance, and other pervious surfaces comprise 0.34 ac of the upland portions of the site. The boat lock is operational at this time. A mangrove shoreline is present along the southern portion of the South Spreader Waterway adjacent to the lock.
PROJECT HISTORY: A 5- year Department of the Army permit was issued on March 9, 2007 for the construction of a 30’ wide by 140’ long boat lock parallel to an existing 20’ wide by 80’ long boat lock, removal of an existing control building and construction of a new 720 square foot control building. A modification to the permit for a time extension was issued on June 4, 2012 extending the expiration of the permit construction window to February 20, 2017. However, the authorized work was never constructed.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to remove an existing boat lock (Chiquita Boat Lock) over an area measuring 0.13 acres (ac); removal of 430 linear feet of existing concrete seawall and 145 linear feet of existing boat lock structure; remove 16 wood pilings and associated wood fenders; and install 165 linear feet of new concrete seawall.
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 proposed method of removing the existing lock and seawall creates the least possible impacts to the South Spreader Waterway. Only the immediate area adjacent to the existing manmade structures will be impacted. All impacts are incidental to the demolition and will result in temporary disturbances to the adjacent water body.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“No mitigation is proposed. Impacts are considered to be temporary as a result of removing the existing lock. All other activities are proposed within uplands. No wetlands are proposed to be impacted by the proposed activities.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined that 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 has determined the proposed project may affect, likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). This determination was based on use of the 2013 Manatee Key which resulted in the following sequential determination: A> B8 > May affect. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by separate letter pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined removal of the lock may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and swimming sea turtles (Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Lepidochelys kempii) and may affect, likely to adversely affect, the smalltooth sawfish designated critical habitat. The project is located within smalltooth sawfish designated critical habitat and in close proximity to Glover Bight, a smalltooth sawfish exclusion zone with documented pupping activity. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service under a separate cover 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 20,475 square feet of water column, non-vegetated substrate utilized by various life stages of red drum, reef fish, spiny lobster, coastal migratory pelagic fish, and shrimp. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 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, Brianne McGuffie, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919, by electronic mail at Brianne.E.McGuffie@usace.army.mil, by fax at (239)334-0797, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975 extension 0006.
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.