US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

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SAJ-2000-04500 (SP-MRE)

Published June 29, 2018
Expiration date: 7/13/2018
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:  Town of Marineland Marina
                       Attn: Mr. Christopher Kelley
                       101 Tolstoy Lane
                       St. Augustine, Florida 32080

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect navigable waters of the United States associated with the Matanzas River. The project site is the Town of Marineland Marina, 101 Tolstoy Lane, in Section 6, Township 10 South, Range 31 East, Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude 29.668744°
                                                                          Longitude -81.215661°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is access to navigable waters.

Overall: The overall project purpose is the expansion of the marina facilities at the project site.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site encompasses the Town of Marineland Marina, including shoreline facilities (e.g., visitor amenities, pump-out and fueling facilities, parking, and educational buildings), fixed and floating docks, and a maintained marina basin. The deep water basin does not support emergent or submerged vegetation; and, the applicant separately obtained Department of the Army authorization to conduct maintenance dredge operations within the marina basin. The applicant previously obtained Department of the Army authorization to install various docks, fueling facilities, and pump-out facilities in conjunction with the expansion of the facilities at the project site. The applicant was unable to implement all of the work prior to the expiration of that authorization.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant is requesting a 10-year permit to complete work at the site. The project would result in the installation of a 100-foot by 8-foot T-headed pier (C Dock) with four 25-foot by 5-foot finger piers, which would moor 13 vessels; installation of a 140-foot by 8-foot T-headed pier (D Dock) with six 25-foot by 5-foot finger piers, which would moor 17 vessels; installation of a 290-foot by 8-foot dock (E Dock) along the western edge of the basin, which would moor 6 vessels; and, installation of a 265-foot by 12-foot floating dock (F Dock) waterward of the existing fixed-dock parallel to the Matanzas River, which would moor four vessels. Dock B, located south of the central pier along the eastern edge of the marina, would accommodate 3 vessels against the bulkhead; however, no additional structures/piers are associated with this area. The applicant also requests after-the-fact authorization to reconfigure the finger piers associated with the Phase 1 and Phase 2 structures, which resulted in a reduced number of vessel slips. The original design of the marina accommodated a total of 80 vessel slips; however, the revised design (implemented work and new work) accommodates a total of 78 vessel slips.

The project also includes a new upland fueling facility that would consist of the installation of two 15,000 gallon double-wall UL2085 Fireguard storage tanks for unleaded and diesel fuels, a tank and piping leak detection system, an overfill and overspill protection, containment sumps, double-wall piping to the fueling dispensers, marina grade fuel dispensers, and stainless steel hose reels. The fueling area also would incorporate a spill control/containment material storage area and a marina office.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: The project improves access to navigable waters; and, hence, is a “water-dependent” activity. The total avoidance of work within waters of the United States, therefore, is not practical. The applicant limited the size and orientation of the proposed structures to the confines of the existing marina facility and is not proposing the expansion of the overall marina basin.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The project would not affect submerged or emergent vegetation or result in the loss of aquatic functions at the site. In consideration of that information, the applicant did not propose compensatory mitigation; and, expressed a belief that compensatory mitigation should not be required.

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 executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report for the area encompassing the project site. The RAR identified several listed species that may utilize habitats associated with the project site. The Corps evaluated the potential effect that the work proposed may generate to each of the species identified by the RAR and other species known to generally inhabit or utilize the project area.

a. Marine turtles [e.g., green turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)] could enter waters of the Intracoastal Waterway through the Matanzas Inlet; and, as such, could be within waters at the project site. Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) and/or shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) might utilize waters of the Intracoastal Waterway; and, as such, could be within waters at the project site. Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata) inhabits coastal waters in Florida; and, as such, this species could inhabit waters at and/or near the project site. The applicant would implement the Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, March 2006; and, implement all of the Project Design Criteria (PDC) for Activity 2, associated with the installation of pile supported structures [reference the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville Districts Programmatic Biological Opinion, November 2017, (JAXBO)]. In consideration of this information, the Corps determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect these species; and, the Corps will coordinate this determination in accordance with the procedures associated with the JAXBO.

b. Manatee (Trichechus manatus): The Corps reviewed the project utilizing The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013, with the consideration that Flagler County has implemented a Manatee Protection Plan. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-G-H-I-J-K-N-O-P-P1-may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect. The Corps partially based this determination on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work, 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) previously indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for manatee; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.

c. Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The project site is approximately 6.3 miles from the Matanzas Marsh (606109) Wood Stork colony; and, within the Core Foraging Area of this colony. However, the project would not affect suitable foraging habitat. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-no effect. The FWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of no effect based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.

d. Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens): The project site is within the consultation area identified by the Corps and the FWS for this species. Therefore, this species may utilize the project site. There is no designated critical habitat for the Florida Scrub Jay listed in the federal register (52 FR 20715-20719). However, information from the FWS indicates that the Florida Scrub Jay has extremely specific habitat requirements. It is endemic to peninsular Florida’s ancient dune ecosystem or scrubs, which occur on well drained to excessively well drained sandy soils. Relict oak-dominated scrub, or xeric oak scrub, is essential habitat to the Florida Scrub Jay. Optimal habitat incorporates four species of stunted, low growing oaks [sand live oak (Quercus geminata), Chapman oak (Quercus chapmanii), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), and scrub oak (Quercus inopina)] that are 1-3 meters high, interspersed with 10 to 50 percent non-vegetated sandy openings, with a sand pine (Pinus clausa) canopy of less than 20 percent. Therefore, Florida Scrub Jay habitat is absent from the project site. It is likely that this species only opportunistically forages within forested areas in the vicinity of the project site, which the project would not preclude. The nearest identified Florida Scrub Jay colony is approximately 0.7 miles southeast of the project site; and, considerable natural foraging habitat is located west, northwest, southwest, and south of that colony. In consideration of the lack of appropriate habitat at the site, the local abundance of foraging habitat, and the distance to the nearest colony, the Corps determined that the project would have no effect upon this species.

The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The proposal would affect nominal open-water habitat within waters of the Matanzas River and open-water habitat within the existing Town of Marineland Marina. The project site is located within EFH identified by the NMFS that is associated with Pellicer Creek and the Matanzas Inlet.

a. Shrimp: The RAR report indicates that the project site is within an area identified as a “coastal inlet”; and, the NMFS has indicated that coastal inlet areas support EFH for shrimp (Farfantepenaeus spp., Penaeus sp., and/or Litopenaeus spp.). Areas that meet the criteria for essential fish habitat-habitat areas of particular concern (EFH-HAPCs) for penaeid shrimp include all coastal inlets, all state-designated nursery habitats of particular importance to shrimp, and state-identified overwintering areas. The NMFS has identified waters of Pellicer Creek and the Matanzas River as EFH-HAPC for shrimp.

b. Snapper/Grouper: The NMFS also has indicated that coastal inlet areas support snapper (Lutjanus spp.) and grouper (Mycteroperca spp. and/or Epinephelus spp.). Areas that meet the criteria for EFH-HAPCs for species in the snapper-grouper management unit include medium to high profile offshore hard bottoms where spawning normally occurs; localities of known or likely periodic spawning aggregations; nearshore hard bottom areas; mangrove habitat; seagrass habitat; oyster/shell habitat; all coastal inlets; all state-designated nursery habitats of particular importance to snapper grouper; and Council-designated Artificial Reef Special Management Zones. The NMFS has identified waters of Pellicer Creek and the Matanzas River as EFH-HAPC for snapper/grouper.

c. The work proposed would temporarily disturb open-water, non-vegetated river bottom. Shrimp and/or Snapper/Grouper within the area would vacate the area (species mobility) due to the presence of workers/work. However, these species could/would repopulate/utilize the area immediately upon the cessation of work activities. In consideration of this information, the Corps concludes that any affect upon these species would not only be temporary, but negligible. Therefore, our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in Pellicer Creek or the Matanzas 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at mark.r.evans@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: After reviewing all available information pertaining to the completed work, the Department of the Army has not recommended legal action at this time. Final determination regarding legal action will be made after review of the project through the permit procedure.

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.