US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

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SAJ-2018-00474

Published June 29, 2018
Expiration date: 7/20/2018

 

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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

 

APPLICANT:      Yachting Promotions, Inc.

                           Ricardo Strul, Vice-President

                           1115 NE 9th Avenue

                           Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304                           

 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located at 1 Herald Plaza, 1635 North Bayshore Drive, and 1737 North Bayshore Drive within the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida 33132. The project site is within Section 31, Township 53 South, Range 42 East (Folio numbers: 01-3231-075-0010, 01-3231-036-0022, 01-3231-004-0030).

 

Directions to the site are as follows:  From Downtown Miami, head northeast on SE 4th Street toward SE 1st avenue. Use the left 2 lanes to turn slightly left onto SE 1st Avenue. Turn right onto NE 14th Street. The project area will be at the end of the road.

 

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:          Latitude               25.788394°

                                                                                  Longitude            -80.185622°

 

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic purpose of the proposed project is to provide temporary docking facilities for an annual boat show.

Overall: The overall purpose is to provide temporary docking facilities for an annual boat show in the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida.

 

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located on Biscayne Bay with the nearest direct connection to the Atlantic Ocean approximately 3.4 miles to the southeast at the Government Cut Inlet.

 

The benthic community of the subject site consisted of silt, rock, macroalgae, sponge and coral. Depths within the survey area varied from 1 foot to 15 feet with depths increasing towards the center of Biscayne Bay. Several species of fish, vertebrates, invertebrates and plants were observed during the survey at all 3 sites.

 

1 Herald Plaza: The property site at 1 Herald Plaza is a vacant lot with a concrete panel seawall and an abandoned radio tower.

 

The 1 Herald Plaza assessment area measured approximately 827 feet along the existing seawall between the Venetian Causeway and MacArthur Causeway. Four (4) species of seagrass, paddle grass (Halophila decipiens), Johnson’s seagrass

(Halophila johnsonii), shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) and turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) were observed within the survey area in Biscayne Bay.

 

Sparse H. wrightii and T. testudinum (<15% coverage) were observed in the northwestern corner of the assessment area beginning approximately 10 feet waterward of the seawall and extending to approximately 300 feet south of the Venetian Causeway, within 5 feet to 10 feet depth. Dense H. johnsonii and H. decipiens (>50% coverage) were found in the same area, with H. johnsonii extending to approximately 80 feet south of the Venetian Causeway. A small 10 foot by 10 foot patch of H. decipiens was observed approximately 1,000 feet waterward of the shoreline and approximately 50 feet south of the Venetian Causeway in the northeastern section at 8 feet depth. Sparse H. decipiens (<15% coverage) was observed throughout the assessment area. Two species of coral, lesser starlet coral (Siderastrea radians) and snowflake coral (Carijoa riisei), were observed within the western portion of the assessment area, 180 feet waterward of the seawall and along the 15 foot bathymetric shelf. C. riisei was observed on the southern side of the concrete radio tower in the northwestern portion at 10 feet depth as well as in the southeastern portion of the area beginning 100 feet north of the MacArthur Causeway. This species was also observed in the northeastern corner of the assessment area at 10 feet depth, approximately 1,000 feet east of the shoreline and approximately 70 feet south of the Venetian Causeway. Colonies were observed primarily on existing rocky substrate and debris. A patch of H. decipiens and H. wrightii was observed in the southwestern portion of the area, approximately 240 feet waterward from the seawall and approximately 50 feet north of the MacArthur Causeway. Benthic resources were not documented past 1,000 feet waterward from the seawall.

Sea Line Marina: The Sea Line Marina is a commercial marina with existing concrete docks and finger piers.

 

The Sea Line Marina assessment area measured approximately 1,000 feet along the existing concrete seawall and began approximately 570 feet from the shoreline. Two (2) species of seagrass, S. filiforme and H. wrightii, were observed within the survey area in Biscayne Bay. Sparse H. wrightii (<10% coverage) was observed in the northwestern corner of the assessment area along with S. filiforme (25% coverage) stretching south towards the central inlet of the marina where only silt was present. The same species were observed in the central southern portion of the assessment area and extended south until approximately 40 feet north of the Venetian Causeway. The central area perpendicular to the marina inlet only contained silt throughout the assessment area. In the eastern portion of the assessment area, only macroalgae and silt substrate were observed (850 feet from the marina). C. riisei was observed in the northwestern and central portions of the area, 700 feet north and 950 feet north of the Venetian Causeway, respectively. Benthic resources were not documented past 1,000 feet waterward from the seawall.

 

The Woman’s Club of Miami: The Woman’s Club contains a concrete seawall.

 

The Woman’s Club of Miami assessment area measured approximately 200 feet along the existing seawall and up to 570 feet waterward. Two (2) species of seagrass, H. decipiens and H. wrightii, were observed throughout the survey area in Biscayne Bay. H. wrightii was observed in the southwestern corner of the subject area adjacent to the seawall. H. wrightii began 20 feet waterward of the seawall and extended north in the assessment area to the extent of the property. H. decipiens began 30 feet waterward of the seawall and extended to within 20 feet of the northern property line. On the southern edge of the property, H. decipiens extended waterward (50% coverage) for approximately 90 feet (5% coverage) up to 140 feet east of the seawall. There was a gap of silt substrate in the southwestern corner of the subject area between the two patches of H. wrightii. Benthic resources were not documented past 1,000 feet waterward from the seawall.

 

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for the installation of temporary floating docks and access walkways for the Miami Yacht Boat Show (Boat Show).

 

For each annual event, the applicant proposes to construct and subsequently remove floating docks, dock ramps, and pilings for the Boat Show for the years 2019 through 2028 events. The proposed temporary floating docks consist of approximately 229,120 square feet. The following structures are proposed to be placed in waters of the U.S. for the Boat Show:

 

Structure                                                           Dimensions                                       Number

Floating Docks                                 10-foot X 40-foot                             500

Floating Docks                                 10-foot X 20-foot                             210

Floating Docks                                 10-foot X 10-foot                             17

Floating Docks                                 Varies in size                                    81 (triangle)

Floating Docks                                   5-foot X 20-foot                             13

Dock Ramps                                                     4-foot X 22-foot                20

Steel I-Beam pilings                         N/A                                                     180

                                                                          

The structures will be used to display 634 vessels. The area over water for the temporary structures and vessels will total approximately 50.3 acres. The installation of structures, the event, and the removal of the structures will not exceed 47 days. No sea trials will occur during the duration of the show. One water taxi stop is proposed in association with the event.

 

The applicant originally obtained a Department of the Army (DA) authorization, under DA permit SAJ-1990-31326, for the annual Miami Beach Yacht and Brokerage Boat Show within the Indian Creek Waterway. The most recent permit was issued under SAJ-1990-31326 (SP-MLC) on December 15, 2017 to accommodate the 2018 to 2027 events. However, the applicant is requesting relocation of the event from the Indian Creek Waterway in Miami Beach to Biscayne Bay in the City of Miami. The current application is also a request to issue the permit for 10 years to accommodate the Boat Show in the City of Miami from February 2019 through February 2028. 

 

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 project is a temporary event with any impacts lasting less than 47 days. The show foot print has been revised to only include the installation of structures and the mooring of vessels in 4.0’ of water to avoid any direct or secondary impacts to resources. Steel “I” beams will be used to support the proposed floating docks. The strength of the “I” beams allows for fewer piles to be installed further apart, causing less of an impact to any submerged resources. The site plan has been revised to have no piles being installed through resources.”

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:

 

“As with the previously authorized boat shows, mitigation is not being required, as the show is temporary in nature. The applicant is proposing an annual pre & post show and summer seagrass survey to monitor the resources.”

 

The Corps notes that if it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation may be required. Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement. Secondary impacts may be included in any mitigation assessment.

 

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 project area could be utilized by the following species: West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and designated critical habitat, American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) and designated critical habitat, green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), elkhorn and staghorn coral (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) and designated critical habitat, and listed coral species: pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis), mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), boulder star coral (Orbicella franksi), and rough cactus coral (Mycetophyllia ferox).

 

West Indian manatee: The project area is located within critical habitat for the manatee. Since the proposal is for relocation of a boat show to a location that supports submerged aquatic vegetation and the event will include a water taxi, potential impacts to the West Indian manatee were evaluated using Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 12, 2013 (Key). Use of the Key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-G-H-I-J-K-N “may affect” where further consultation with the Service is necessary. However, the applicant has been working with Miami-Dade County DERM and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure adverse impacts to manatees associated with the project minimized. Some of the protection measures include the use of approved access channels for ingress and egress of vessels, development of a Manatee Operation Plan for in-water set up, and direct coordination for manatee protection with all vendors and vessel captains. Based on these protection measures, the Corps has determined that the project “May affect, but not likely to adversely affect” the West Indian Manatee. The Corps will forward all manatee related information to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and request concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter. 

 

American crocodile: Although the site is within the American Crocodile Consultation Area, there is not suitable habitat for the species. Therefore, the Corps has made a “no effect” determination for the species.

 

Florida bonneted bat: The project is outside the Fish and Wildlife Service's "FBB Focal Area" but within the overall "FBB Consultation area".  Given the scope of work (which is to impact navigable waters with temporary structures connecting to existing seawalls) the Corps has made a "no effect" determination to the species since potential roosting or foraging habitat are not proposed to be altered.

 

Piping plover: Although the site is within the piping plover Consultation Area, there is not suitable habitat for the species within the work areas. Therefore, the Corps has made a “no effect” determination for the species.

 

Johnson’s seagrass and designated critical habitat: The benthic survey revealed the presence of Johnson’s seagrass within the project footprint. In addition, the project area is located within critical habitat for Johnson’s seagrass. Therefore, the Corps has made a “may affect” determination for the species. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

 

Swimming sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish: The Corps has determined the proposal “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” swimming sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. The Corps will request concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter. 

 

Nassau Grouper: The benthic survey revealed patches of dense submerged aquatic vegetation on-site. Since juvenile grouper lives in dense mature seagrass beds, the Corps has determined the proposal “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the Nassau grouper. The Corps will request concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter. 

 

Elkhorn/staghorn coral and listed coral species: Although corals were documented during the benthic survey, the site does not support Elkhorn/staghorn or listed coral species. Therefore, the Corps has determined the project will have “no effect” on these species. Furthermore, the project will have “no effect” on Acropora critical habitat because the project is not located within designated critical habitat for the species.

 

The Corps has determined the proposal will have no effect on all other listed species not mentioned above.

 

Essential Fish Habitat (EFH):  This notice initiates consultation on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996. The proposal would impact approximately 50.3 acres of submerged aquatic bay bottom utilized by various life stages of marine species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures are 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176 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, Megan Clouser, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176; by electronic mail at Nicole.D.Fresard@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (305) 526-7184; or, by telephone at (305) 779-6053.

 

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.