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: Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND)
Attn: Mark Crosley
1314 Marcinski Road
Jupiter, Florida 33477
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Indian River. The project site is located 0.28 miles northwest of the intersection of Old Dixie Highway and 7th Street. No street address exists for the site and it is generally not accessible from Old Dixie Highway or 7th Street.
Directions to the site are as follows: Heading South on Interstate 95, take exit 173 and turn left onto Malabar Road, heading east. Continue for 1.6 miles, turning right onto Weber Road. From here travel 3.1 miles until the end of Weber Road, and then turn left onto Valkaria Road. Continue 2.1 miles until Valkaria Road begins to curve; at which point take a slight right onto Hideaway Lane. Continue down Hideaway Lane for 0.3 miles until the road curves to the right. From here a locked gate can be seen. After proceeding through the gate, travel 0.63 miles then turn right (heading south) and
travel 0.8 miles. Turn left (heading east) and travel 0.5 miles over a very rough sand path to the western border of the Dredge Material Management Area property.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: New Dredge Material Management Area (DMMA) site known as BV-24A
Overall: Construction DMMA located in southern Brevard County to provide an area for dewatering and storing sediments dredged to maintain navigation within Reach VI of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Brevard County. Reach VI is defined as the ICW south of Turkey Creek to the Indian River County Line.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems within the project area are primarily comprised of freshwater systems with a very minor component of the Indian River shoreline which is considered estuarine.
The freshwater systems are classified as freshwater marsh, wetland scrub, and other waters (ditch). The wetland scrub community is located in the northwestern corner of the proposed pipeline easement and totals approximately 0.49 acre. This wetland is contiguous with a larger wetland system northwest of the easement. The area consists of an open canopy with sparse loblolly bay and a thick impenetrable shrub layer woven tightly by wax myrtle, fetterbush, and greenbrier. Patchy areas of groundcover include swamp fern, royal fern, soft rush, and redroot.
Freshwater marsh communities are interspersed throughout the uplands are topographically isolated totaling 9.23 acres. These shallow depressions located in highly permeable sandy soils within fire-maintained upland communities. The canopy stratum is noticeably absent within these wetland areas, and very few to no shrub species occurring. The groundcover species include blue maidencane, bushy bluestem, broomsedge, swamp fern, royal fern, maidencane, spikerush, yellow milkwort, meadow beauties, redroot, pipewort, bogbutton, and sand cordgrass. These species provide near complete coverage in this stratum.
The area at the shoreline of the Indian River is characterized as disturbed lands/ditch. Altered from its natural community type to provide drainage for the surrounding
uplands, invasive exotic species including Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), torpedo grass, and Brazilian pepper occupy this area. Other species identified include bushy bluestem, wax myrtle, and beakrush.
Upland communities on the site include palmetto prairie, pine flatwoods, sand pine, xeric oak, temperate hardwood, coniferous plantation. Uplands around the site include conservation lands owned by Brevard County, transmission lines, and disturbed upland habitats.
The Corps issued an Approved Jurisdictional determination on July 21, 2016, which concluded there are 1.46 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and tributaries located within the Review Area. These wetlands are hydrologically connected to the Indian River through adjacent connections. Wetlands M,O,G, and N are hydrologically connected to a non-relatively permanent (RPW) water which intermittently discharges directly into the Indian River. Water was observed overtopping an existing maintenance road along the northern property line connecting wetlands G and N to wetlands M and O during the Corps’ field visit. Wetland N also has a manmade hydrologic connection to ditches 2 and 3.
The on-site non-RPW and its adjacent hydrologically connected wetlands: Wetland G (0.19 acre), Wetland M (0.48 acre), Wetland N (0.56 acre), and Wetland O (0.05 acre)) provide flood water storage and pollutant treatment prior to waters reaching the Traditional Navigable Water (TNW) (Indian River).
These wetlands have the ability to provide habitat and lifecycle support to various amphibians and reptiles as well as foraging and nesting habitat for various avian species, all of which provides for higher level organisms in the food web including species downstream in the Indian River. The subject wetlands have the capacity to transfer nutrients and detritis downstream into the Indian River further supporting the food web. There are water stains and signs of inundation that indicate that hydrological patterns between the subject wetlands and the non-RPW. Therefore, the subject wetlands and non-RPW tributary significantly contribute to the Indian River.
There are 9.22 acres of non-jurisdictional isolated wetlands within the review area. These wetlands are surrounded by uplands and wetlands but do not have any hydrologic connections to waters of the United States. The Corps completed a field investigation on March 23, 2016 and did not observe hydrologic connections between the isolated wetlands. Ditch 1 (0.012 acre), Wetland A (4.13 acres), Wetland B (0.18 acre), Wetland C (0.27 acre), Wetland D (1.79 acres), Wetland E1/E2 (0.73 acre), Wetland I (0.16 acre), Wetland J (0.54 acre), Wetland K (0.76 acre), Wetland F (0.5 acre), and Wetland L (0.15 acre) are physically, chemically, any hydrologically isolated from other wetlands or surface waters and do not convey water to any RPW, non-RPW, TNW or waters of the United States.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into 0.502 acre of waters of the United States for the construction of a 64.72-acre DMMA. The long-term storage facility would provide the capacity for dewatering and storing sediments dredged to maintain navigation within Reach VI of the ICW in Brevard County. During dredging, the facility would receive dredged material from the ICW through a pipe, dewater the sediments, and return the decanted water through a permanent pipeline to the Indian River. After construction and in between maintenance dredging operations, storm water in excess of the permitted design capacity of the storm water management system will discharge via an emergency overflow structure along the western shoreline of the Indian River.
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: DMMA placement was developed considering the following: avoidance and minimization of scrub jay habitat, avoidance of off-site groundwater increases in chloride concentrations due to saline water brought into the DMMA with the dredge material, minimization of wetland impacts, and maintenance of buffers between the DMMA and property boundaries.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant has proposed the purchase of palustrine herbaceous credits from the federally approved Mary A mitigation bank.
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 action area for BV-24A project is defined as all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action. The establishment of the project will increase noise and disturbance along lands adjacent to the DMMA which are utilized by federally listed species. The Corps has determined the action area will include the BV-24A site, the piping route to the Indian River, and a 100 meter buffer along the north and west boundaries of the site which is occupied scrub-jay habitat. The Corps is not considering dredging areas in Reach IV in the action area because no applications have been submitted and future actions would be considered in separate Department of the Army permit evaluations. The Corps has determined the proposal “may affect” the Florida scrub jay, eastern indigo snake, wood stork and red cockaded woodpecker. No designated critical habitat has been listed for these species. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has also determined the proposed action “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the Atlantic saltmarsh snake and West Indian manatee and will have “no effect” to the piping plover and Audubon’s caracara.
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 0.1 acres of estuarine shoreline wetlands which provides detrital material to federally managed species within the Indian River. 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. 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 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (321)504-3803; or, by telephone at (321)504-3771 ex 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 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.