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: City of Marco Island
c/o Mr. Timothy Pinter
50 Bald Eagle Drive
Marco Island, Florida 31145
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated within the Gulf of Mexico, Sand Dollar Island spit and Hideaway Beach from FDEP monument H-1 to H-16, Marco Island, Collier County, FL.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take exit 101; head south on Collier Boulevard; cross Tamiami Trail and head into Marco Island; make a right on Kendall Drive; make a right on Royal Marco Way; project site will be along the beach shoreline.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Borrow area: Northern end – Lat: 25.969233º, Long: -81.741914º
Southern end – Lat: 25.968023º, Long: -81.744093º
Beach area: Northern end – Lat: 25.942946º, Long: -81.738289º
Southern end - Lat: 25.936418º, Long: -81.734368º
Basic: Provide navigational access and beach fill
Overall: To provide navigational access adjacent to Sand Dollar Island Spit and beach fill for Hideaway Beach, Marco Island, Florida
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Hideaway Beach is comprised of fine to medium grain sand and shell, and is a low-lying area along the Big Marco River and Gulf of Mexico. The beach was originally restored in the 1990-91 beach restoration project on Marco Island utilizing sand from the Big Marco - Capri Pass ebb shoal system. The beach has since been re-nourished multiple times. Erosion control structures have been installed to minimize sand losses.
The borrow site consists primarily of fine sand. Prior benthic surveys of the borrow site found no seagrasses in the area. Analysis of benthic core samples produced results typical of those found in a medium to high energy near shore sandy marine/estuarine environments; samples were not rich in number of species or number of individuals.
The original DA permit, SAJ-1988-00290 issued on March 1, 1990, authorized periodic beach nourishment over a 15-year timeframe via placement of suitable beach-compatible dredged materials/beach-quality sand; subsequent permit modifications authorized construction of multiple temporary t-groin structures which were subsequently replaced with sheet pile t-groins with energy-absorbing aprons/rip-rap features. Past work includes beach nourishment via placement of suitable dredged materials/beach-quality sand and installation of t-groin structures. Subsequent permit modifications extended the expiration date; authorized maintenance dredging events, construction of multiple t-Groins and construction of a terminal groin; placement of suitable dredged beach sand on Hideaway’s beaches, hydraulic dredging of beach compatible sand from two borrow areas; and use of adaptive management measures for operations and management.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to extend the current permit duration from 10 years to 15 years, and to increase the height of the permitted beach berm elevation by 0.5 feet for the permitted beach fill segments to account for sea level rise since the original erosion control Project fill design was completed in the late-1990s.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
A sea level rise change analysis was presented to justify the berm height increase. No other changes are proposed. The berm height increase will not result in any adverse impacts to the coastal system. No mitigation is proposed as the impacts to the borrow areas will not result in any long-term impacts. Based on previous benthic resource surveys, the borrow area habitats are dominated by resilient benthic invertebrates including amphipods, polychaetes and mollusks that are widespread along the west coast of Florida. These species are adapted to living in the unconsolidated sand substrate and can quickly recolonize areas after they are disturbed. The existing borrow area has been utilized with no documented impacts to the coastal zone or natural resource habitats.
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.
1) Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)
Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)
Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbracata)
Kemp's ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii)
Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)
Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata)
Swimming sea turtles and the smalltooth sawfish have been reviewed under the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Gulf of Mexico Hopper Dredge Regional Biological Opinion (GRBO) dated November 19, 2003 (amended and modified on June 24, 2005 and January 9, 2007. The GRBO contains mandatory terms and conditions to implement the reasonable and prudent measures that are associated with “incidental take” for the proposed work. The applicant has indicated that they will implement these terms and conditions. Therefore, additional coordination by the Corps with NMFS for the above species is not required. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect” determination for the green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, and the loggerhead sea turtle. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” for the leatherback sea turtle and the smalltooth sawfish.
2) Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Kemp's ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
West Indian (Florida) manatee (Trichechus manatus) and its designated critical habitat
Nesting sea turtles and the West Indian manatee and its designated critical habitat have been reviewed under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) revised Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion (SPBO) dated March 13, 2015. The SPBO contains reasonable and prudent measures and terms and conditions that are associated with “incidental take” for the proposed work. The applicant has agreed to implement the reasonable and prudent measures, as well as the terms and conditions. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination for the West Indian manatee and its designated critical habitat and “may affect” for the remaining species listed immediately above. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation for the “may affect” determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter to confirm that the project meets the criteria contained in the revised SPBO. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination for the West Indian manatee and its designated critical habitat and will request concurrence from the FWS for this determination.
3) Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) and its designated critical habitat
The piping plover has been reviewed under the FWS Programmatic Piping Plover Biological Opinion (P3BO) dated May 22, 2013. The P3BO contains reasonable and prudent measures and terms and conditions that are associated with “incidental take” for the proposed work. The applicant has agreed to implement the reasonable and prudent measures, as well as the terms and conditions. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect” determination for the piping plover and its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
4) Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect” to the red knot. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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 4.9 ac of water column, non-vegetated substrate, and West Florida shelf utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, snapper/grouper complex, and calico scallop.
Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in 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: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP): The FDEP Beaches, Inlets & Ports Program has issued a permit modification for the proposed work. For information, please contact the FDEP, Beaches, Inlets & Port Program, 2600 Blairstone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400. Reference file number 0309260-009-JN, Collier County.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 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, Robert Gerwig, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Palm Square Boulevard, Fort Myers; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (239)334-0797; or, by telephone at (239)334-1975 x0004.
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.