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 (RHA) (33 USC 403) as described below. Furthermore, the project will require review under Section 14 of the RHA (codified at 33 USC 408 (Section 408)) by the Mobile District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps-SAM).
APPLICANT: Mr. Joe D’Isernia
Eastern Shipbuilding Group
2200 Nelson Street
Panama City, Florida 32402
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Watson Bayou. The project site is located water-ward of 2200 Nelson Street within the federal channel in Section 15, Township 4 South, Range 14 West, Panama City, Bay County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Start 30.14148 -85.62993
Stop 30.13873 -85.63544
Spoil Site 30.14208 -85.62836
BACKGROUND AND PROPOSED WORK: On July 28, 2017, the Corps authorized Eastern Shipbuilding Group to hydraulically dredge 4.64 acre/26,530 cubic yards of sediment to -20’ mean low water line (MLLW) for a 100’ wide by 2,120’ long channel from the federal channel within Watson Bayou to an existing shipbuilding facility. Dredged material is authorized to be pumped to an upland sediment retention basin through a 10” dredge pipe. The dredged material is authorized to be dewatered on the self-contained upland dredged material management area (DMMA) and disposed of at a Class I facility (Steelfield Road Landfill).
The purpose of the proposed permit modification request is to navigate the North Star, a salvaged 261-foot Alaska factory trawler that capsized during Hurricane Michael to the Nelson Yard facility for repairs. The applicant proposes to mechanically dredge an additional 5.46 acre/17,000 cubic yards of sediment within the federally authorized channel (100’ wide by 2,860’ long) within Watson Bayou. The overall channel depth would be deepened to -20’ MLLW. Sediments would be pumped to a barge and disposed of at the Allanton facility in uplands. The dredged material would be dewatered on the self-contained upland spoil site and disposed of at a Class I facility, i.e. Steelfield Road Landfill. Turbidity curtains and erosion controls would be utilized.
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 conditions a, b, c, d, and e of the 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. 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.
SECTION 10 COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS (Corps) concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Mrs. Lisa S. Lovvorn, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 1700 East 5th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (850)784-4594.
SECTION 408 COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS (Corps-SAM) regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed within the federal channel should be writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Mobile District Operations Section, 1700 East 5th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401 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.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.