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: Berrien Sutton
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with a canal that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. The project site is located at 1860 and 1864 Ezell Beach Road.
Directions to the site are as follows: To access the property, from Perry, take Highway 98 south to Keaton Beach Road (County Road 361/County Road 400). Ezell Beach Road will be on the west side of Keaton Beach Road (County Road 361/County Road 400) just north of Keaton Beach. Turn west on Ezell Beach Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Single family home construction and water access.
Overall: To rebuild a single family residential home destroyed during a storm event and re-establishing docking that will provide 2 boat slips.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of tidal marsh that is connected to the Gulf of Mexico through a man-made access canal to the south. The onsite vegetation consists of salt marsh vegetation that is dominated by a mix of Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of single-family residential homes and the adjacent waters are within the Big Bend Seagrass Aquatic Preserve. The project property was the site of a single family residence with a large deck and boat slip that were destroyed in storms between 2014 and 2017. The right of way for Ezell Beach Road extends waterward of the existing bulkhead on the property and into the emergent marsh. Current building codes and county regulations require that all construction occur outside of this right of way.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact a total of 2,548 square feet of tidal saltmarsh community and 698 square feet of shallow open water. The applicant proposes to install 109 linear feet of bulkhead in a U-shape that will extend approximately 40 feet waterward of the existing bulkhead alignment on either side and will be 30 feet wide. The proposed bulkhead will be backfilled with earthen fill and will result in the loss of approximately 865 square feet of emergent marsh and 304 square feet of open water. The applicant proposes to place riprap material waterward of the bulkhead in order to meet building criteria as required by Taylor County. The riprap will extend 35 feet waterward of the bulkhead and end at the edge of the existing canal. Placement of the riprap material will result in the loss of 819 square feet of emergent marsh and 82 square feet of shallow open water. The 65 feet by 30 feet single family residence would be placed over the proposed earthen fill and riprap material and would shade the remaining 132 square feet of marsh vegetation that is not covered by the riprap. The house will be pile supported over the riprap and the type and number of pilings will be determined by a structural engineer. A cantilevered deck that will extend 5 feet beyond the footprint of the home and will shade 150 square feet of emergent marsh is also proposed.
In order to provide boating access to the properties, the applicant proposes to construct a shared boat dock and basin at the property line with his adjacent neighbor. The applicant proposes to excavate an area that is 22 feet wide and 29 feet long in order to create two 9’ by 29’ slips with a shared 4’ wide dock between them. The slips will be excavated to a depth of -5’ MLWL. Spoil material will be disposed of landward of the proposed bulkhead. Each slip will house an uncovered boatlift.
The total area of work (dredging, filling, construction) in, on, or over wetlands or other surface waters is 3,246 square feet (0.07 acres). This area was determined by the following activities: Dredging two boat slips (638 square feet), the dock waterward of the existing seawall (256 square feet), the new seawall with associated backfill (1,169 square feet), the rip rap (901 square feet), house shading of marsh (132 square feet), and cantilevered deck (150 square feet).
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 proposes rip-rap, which is approximately four times the cost of clean sand, to place under the house to relocate the mean high water line to be within reach of the proposed home. This rip rap is necessary to comply with the Florida Building Code for residential development Section R322.3.1. This requirement must be fulfilled to obtain a Building Permit from Taylor County for the home. Although more expensive, the rip rap will be more environmentally friendly than earthen fill because it allows water to flow through it and provides some habitat value. The applicant proposes a shared docking facility located at the property line to reduce the impacts to the adjacent waterbody.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to purchase the necessary amount of credits from the Florida Gulf Coast Mitigation Bank.
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. The site was previously improved by a single-family home.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will follow the programmatic consultation process for this species. If additional coordination is necessary, the Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, the Corps has determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, gulf sturgeon and short nose sawfish. 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 approximately 0.046 acres of saltwater tidal marsh utilized by various life stages of small mammals, turtles, and birds. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have a minor adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the emergent marsh and open waters canal connected to 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 Panama City Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405 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, Tracey L Wheeler, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (850)872-0231; or, by telephone at (850)763-0717 ex 24.
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.