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: Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, Inc.
C/o Jay Gladwell
P.O. Box 513
Big Pine Key, Florida 33043
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located in Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge at 33000 Overseas Hwy in Section 6, Township 67 south, Range 30 east; Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida (RE# 00112210-000100 & 00108630-000000).
Directions to the site are as follows: Take U.S. 1 South to MM 33; Project is located at 33000 Overseas Hwy.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 24.646532°
Basic: Shoreline stabilization and boat access.
Overall: Shoreline stabilization and provide boat access in Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The commercial property offers motel rooms, campsites, electric/water RV sites for rent. The wetland system consists of a saltwater system. The shoreline along the southern boat basin (Basin B) previously supported a mature wetland shoreline with “T”-shaped docks; however, Hurricane Irma severely damaged the docks and wetland shoreline community within the boat basin. The area along the north boat basin (Basin A) and a portion of the western section of the property continues to support wetlands which will be designated as an avoided area. According to the agent the property supports 51 slips along the north basin and 35 slips along the southern basin totaling 86 slips at the subject site. Based on the drawings no additional wet slips are proposed with the replacement of the southern docking facility.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to remove an existing concrete dock and seawall, to replace the previously existing docking facility damaged by Hurricane Irma with a 6,400 square foot marginal wood docking facility along the perimeter of the southern boat basin (Basin B), to place 250 cubic yards of fill for the installation of riprap boulders underneath 850 linear feet of the new docking facility within a 4,250 square foot area, to place an additional 35 cubic yards of fill along 75 linear feet of riprap revetment directly outside of the dock footprint to stabilize the boat basin mouth, and to install temporary floating turbidity barriers around all work areas that are in/over U.S. navigable waters. The docking facility within Basin B will continue to mooring for up to 35 wet slips.
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 proposes to avoid a 3,160 square foot mangrove shoreline along the north basin and a 1,960 square foot wetland shoreline along the western portion of the property.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation will be required. The applicant has indicated that the mitigation proposal will be based on the Keys Restoration Fund (KRF). Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement.
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 real estate parcel numbers are 00112210-000100 and 00108630-000000 and are on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suitable Habitat List, dated August 2010, for Monroe County for the Eastern indigo snake, Key deer, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, silver rice rat, Keys tree cactus, and Keys tree snail.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the swimming 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), the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) species. A no effect determination was reached on Acorpora sp. and its designated critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 6,850 square feet of submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marina species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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.
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, Florida 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, Maria Bezanilla, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by electronic mail at Maria.I.Bezanilla@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (305) 526-7184; or, by telephone at (305) 779-6057.
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.