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: Mr. Brian D’Isernia
Peninsula Holdings, LLC
2200 Nelson Street
Panama City, Florida 32401
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Watson Bayou. The project site is located at 2200 Nelson Street in Section 15, Township 4 South, Range 14 West, Panama City, Bay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Highway 77 and U.S. Business 98 in Panama City, travel east on U.S. Business Highway 98. Turn south on East Avenue. Turn west on Nelson Street. The project is located at the end of the road on the left.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Dredge 30.14144⁰ -85.62906⁰
Spoil Site 30.13873⁰ -85.63544⁰
Basic: Dredging for navigational expansion.
Overall: To dredge and construct a ship basin to facilitate simultaneous launching and outfitting of multiple 360’ US Coast Guard patrol cutters in Bay County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is located at the Eastern Shipbuilding facility in Watson Bayou. The project property supports an active industrial facility with little upland vegetation. The shoreline is armored with vertical bulkhead and riprap along most of its length. Gravel parking lot and compacted earth work area comprise most of the uplands on the property. The waters adjacent to the property range in depth from 12 to 20 feet on the west side of the project area to 6 to14 feet on the east side of the project area. The property includes an existing 135' x 650 ' ship berthing area that is adjacent to the bulkhead, as well as, a +/- 6,000 SF dock structure that is proposed to be removed. There are patches of submerged aquatic vegetation including Halodule wrightii and Ruppia maritima within the proposed dredging area on the eastern side of the project. The shoreline along the southeastern portion of the property is not armored and is vegetated with emergent marsh vegetation dominated by Juncus romerianus. A wooded area, approximately 0.75 acre in size is located landward of the marsh. There is previously permitted wetland mitigation area located immediately northwest of the project area that includes riprap breakwater structures, created oyster reef areas and marsh vegetation along the shoreline.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge in Watson Bayou to expand ship berthing area at the existing shipbuilding facility, to install 886.2 linear feet of new seawall on the northern perimeter of the project area and to create a 0.23 acre mitigation site. The project area would be dredged to a depth of -20 ft NAVD 88 with a 2 ft. over dredge. The applicant proposes to dredge 7.75 acres of open water within Watson Bayou and 0.628 acres of upland cut area landward of the existing MHW line within the shipyard property. The proposed project would impact 4,385.5 SF / 0.10 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation, 5,591.8 SF / 0.128 acres of emergent grass and 0.01 acre of existing oyster reef.
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:
Based on the delivery requirements of a federal contract, the applicant must have the ability to launch two vessels and outfit two vessels simultaneously. Prior to selecting the proposed project, the applicant explored a number of design options to achieve the project goals. The project, as proposed, minimizes impacts to the maximum extent possible while achieving the project goals. .
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant is proposing to transplant the seagrass and marsh grass from the impact site to an offsite location approximately 0.86 mile north of the project area in Watson Bayou. The applicant proposes to construct a 279 foot long by 13 foot offshore breakwater composed of riprap and oyster shell. Submerged aquatic vegetation from the impact site will be transplanted landward of the breakwater structure. Vegetation will be transplanted into an area of 0.212 acres (1.8 to 1 replacement ratio). The black needlerush marsh will also be transplanted to the mitigation site location. High ground property bordering an existing marsh will be graded down to marsh elevation and the area will be planted with the transferred marsh vegetation. The applicant proposes to create 0.275 acres of black needlerush marsh to compensate for impacts to 0.069 acres of marsh (1.8 to 1 replacement ratio). Oyster material will be transferred from the impact site and will be deposited in 20 areas along the proposed breakwater structure. This transplanting is intended to increase the likelihood of oyster colonization on the structure.
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 swimming sea turtles, Smalltooth sawfish, and gulf sturgeon. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined, based on the use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida (April 2013), that the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee with the inclusion of special conditions requiring compliance with Standard Manatee Conditions for In-water Work (2011).
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 0.10 acres of seagrass, 0.01 acre of oyster reef and 0.128 acre of emergent marsh. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have a minor adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in Watson Bayou. 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 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, Ms. 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, extension 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.