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: Blue Heron Docks, LLC
Attention: Ryan Nagel
389 Blue Heron Boulevard
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Worth Lagoon, adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. The project site is located at 389 East Blue Heron Boulevard, Section 28, Township 42 South, Range 43 East, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Exit 76 from Interstate 95 and travel east of Blue Heron Boulevard approximately 3.2 miles. Veer to the right at the west side of the Blue Heron Bridge at Avenue A. The Site will be located on the right side of the road prior to going under the bridge.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Water Access and Recreation
Overall: To improve water access for patrons utilizing motorized and non-motorized water recreational vessels at the Blue Heron Dock Marina, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.
PROJECT HISTORY: A general permit for the initial dock was issued on January 27, 1983 under SAJ-1983-00115. A standard permit to install three finger piers, two associated boatlifts within existing slips, and 5 mooring piles for the 22 slip facility was issued on September 23, 2011 by SAJ-1983-00115. On March 22, 2012 a Nationwide Permit Verification 3 was issued for the relocation of two existing mooring piles under SAJ-1983-00115. On March 27, 2015, a regional general permit, SAJ-17 was issued under a separate SAJ number, SAJ-2011-01613, to install a 13 foot by 65 foot floating vessel platform with a 4 foot by 32 foot access ramp; install five (5) 3 foot by 20 foot finger piers; install one 3 foot by 15 foot finger pier; and remove 5 existing concrete pilings and relocate 16 existing concrete piling to the existing 22 slip marina.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The existing marina consists of 32 wet slips, which includes 20 recreational/commercial vessels and up to 12 personal watercrafts. The Corps has not provided prior authorization for the increase in slips, therefore the additional 10 slips will be included in this application. Additionally the commercial upland business also rents non-motorized vessels such as paddle boards and kayaks. A benthic survey was conducted on June 5, 2018 that confirmed that there are no submerged aquatic resources (SAV) within the proposed project footprint or within 50 feet of the limits of construction. The benthic substrate was described as sandy devoid of rock, silt, and muck.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to modify an existing marina, which includes an additional 1,557 square feet of over water dock structures to improve water access within existing slips and adding ten additional personal recreational vessel slips for a total of 32 slips. Activities include: (1) install a 258 square foot floating dock for kayak and paddle board access; (2) construct four 35 foot by 3 foot finger pier extensions; (3) construct two 30 foot by 3 foot finger pier dock extensions; (4) Construct two 30 foot by 3 foot finger pier extensions; (5) construct one 25 foot by 3 foot finger pier extension; (6) construct one 20 foot by 3 foot finger pier extension; and (7) construct a 50 foot by 4 foot northern finger extension and a 37 foot long by 7 foot wide finger pier extension to the south on the most easterly finger pier within the existing marina.
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 agrees to comply with the “Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work” and “Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions.” The seagrass survey conducted June 5, 2018 shows no submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) within the project area. No impacts to mangroves or SAV are proposed.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“No impacts to mangroves or SAV are proposed therefore 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, if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and its designated critical habitat. Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida (Manatee Key) dated 25 April 2013 results in a pathway of A-B-C-G-H-I-J-K, may affect, since the Corps has not received written concurrence that a review has been completed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) with the County’s State approved Manatee Protection Plan (MPP). The Corps will request initiation of consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter if concurrence from FWC cannot be obtained.
The proposed project will occur in waters accessible to the swimming sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. Smalltooth sawfish and swimming sea turtles may be affected by being unable to use an area for forage or refuge habitat due to potential avoidance of construction activities caused by pile placement during dock construction. These effects will be insignificant due to the small size of each piling placed and the limited time it will take to complete the action. Because these species are motile and likely to leave the area during construction, the risk of injury from this type of construction activity is insignificant. Therefore, the Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the swimming sea turtles: (green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)); and smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The proposed project is occurring within Lake Worth Lagoon and adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, which is known to contain Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) within Palm Beach County. The benthic resource survey conducted on June 5, 2018 indicated that no seagrass was located within the project footprint or within 50 feet of the proposed project limits. Therefore the Corps has determined that the project will have no effect on Johnson’s seagrass.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 1.25 acres of sandy substrate utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33418 within 30 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, Jerilyn Ashworth, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Jerilyn.K.Ashworth@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3508.
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.