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-2018-00269 (SP-SWA)

Published Jan. 31, 2018
Expiration date: 2/28/2018
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:  The Nature Conservancy
                       c/o: Anne Birch
                       2500 Maitland Parkway, Suite 311
                       Maitland, Florida 32751

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect unvegetated substrate along 6.5 miles of East Bay and Blackwater Bay on Escribano Point. The project site is located on the northern shore of East Bay on Escribano Point, Santa Rosa County Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Pensacola, travel east on Interstate 10 approximately 19 miles to State Highway 87. South on State Highway 87 for approximately 9 miles to Choctaw Airfield Road. Turn west on Choctaw Airfield Road to Eglin AFB, continue onto Eglin 726 for approximately 4.5 miles until end of road. Project is located along shoreline of Blackwater Bay and East Bay.

                                                                          Longitude -87.000428°


Basic: Habitat Restoration.

Overall: Creation and Restoration of oyster habitat and water quality improvement within East Bay.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is located in East Bay and Blackwater Bay, approximately 400 to 800 feet offshore, Santa Rosa County, Florida. The habitat within the proposed project site contains medium to coarse grained sands. There is no submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV’s) located within the project site.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks to construct twenty-five (25) oyster reefs along the shore of East Bay and eight (8) oyster reefs along the shore of Blackwater Bay encompassing a total of 6.02 acres across 6.5 miles of shoreline. The proposed oyster reefs would range from 100 to 300 feet long and located approximately 400 to 800 feet offshore. The proposed structures would include a limestone rock‐based reef that would act as a wave attenuator and allow maximum protection for the cultch material. The height of the limestone crest would be about 4 feet with the top elevation equivalent to the mean higher‐high water level estimated for the year 2042. The limestone riprap crest would be underlain with a marine mattress or geogrid material to prevent subsidence or settling. The cultch would be placed on a bed of crushed limestone to ensure that the material does not become engulfed by siltation. The cultch materials would include horizontal layers fossilized oyster shell or recycled shells (1.25 feet thick), an equivalent of Gulf Coast Aggregate (GCA) oyster balls (2.6 feet thick), and crushed oyster shells (0.5 feet thick). Construction materials and equipment would be brought to the project site using barge transport. Construction would occur from a floating barge platform. Materials would be placed into East Bay and Blackwater Bay using an excavator or crane equipment. Turbidity curtains would be installed around each of the oyster reefs during construction to minimize the impacts to water quality from suspended fine sediments. After completion of the reef structure, the turbidity curtains would be removed and hauled offsite.

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 applicant selected a site that is devoid of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV’s) and hard bottom formations.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

No compensatory mitigation is proposed.

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, Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and the following species of swimming sea turtles: green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). The Corps will request 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 unvegetated bottom in East Bay which is contiguous with the Gulf of Mexico and may be utilized by various life stages of species within the following Fisheries Managements Plans (Shrimp, Reef Fish, Stone Crab and Coastal Migratory Pelagics). 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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502, within 30 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, Steve Andrews Jr., in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502, by electronic mail at, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 439-0707.

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.