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: Lee County, c/o Ehab Guirguis, P.E., 1500 Monroe Street, 4th Floor, Fort Myers, FL 33901
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with San Carlos Bay and Pine Island Sound. The project site is located at Sanibel Causeway Island B in Fort Myers, Section 9, Township 46 South, Range 23 East, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take County Hwy 840/Alico Rd. west to Tamiami Trail/US-41. Take Tamiami Trail/US 41 north, then turn left onto Gladiolus Dr. /County Hwy 865. Keep left onto Summerlin Road/County Hwy 869 and then stay left on McGregor Blvd/County Hwy 867. This route becomes Sanibel Causeway. The project area is on Island B, the second (westernmost) island along the causeway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 26.467366, Longitude: -82.029982
PROJECT PURPOSE: Basic: To provide shoreline stabilization and stormwater management improvements. Overall: To provide shoreline stabilization and improved stormwater management on Sanibel Causeway Island B, Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a saltwater system. The shoreline is predominantly un-vegetated, but onsite vegetation consists principally of sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), Australian pine trees (Casuarina equisetifolia), and the occasional white mangrove tree (Laguncularia racemosa). The existing area surrounding the project area consists of sandy substrate and extensive offshore seagrass beds. A seagrass survey was completed in June 2017 and will be conducted at least 30-days prior to the start of work, if authorized.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seek authorization to conduct shoreline stabilization work along both the San Carlos Bay shoreline and Pine Island Sound shorelines of Sanibel Causeway Island B, in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida. The proposed work is as follows:
San Carlos Bay Shoreline:
- To repair 200 LF of existing riprap revetment by constructing a riprap overlay at the northeast end of the island.
- To remove an area of existing rock revetment located between groins G1 to just southeast of G7.
- To construct nine (9) new T-head groins totaling 16,553 square feet (0.38-acre).
- To construct two (2) new segmented breakwaters totaling 520 square feet (0.01-acre).
- To add a 4 linear foot (LF) extension existing terminal groin located at the southeast end of the island, and
- To place approximately 5,000 cubic yards (CY) of sand on the San Carlos Bay shoreline between groin G1 and the southeastern terminus of the island.
Pine Island Sound Shoreline:
- To construct two (2) terminal groins, 20 LF at the southwest end of the island adjacent to the bridge abutment and 98 LF at the northwest end of the island adjacent to the bridge abutment.
- To extend one (1) stormwater outfall culvert using a 40 LF groin structure, and
- To place approximately 3,700 CY of sand on the Pine Island Sound shoreline between the two proposed terminal groins. All coastal structures will be rubble mound construction using limestone.
Stormwater Management Improvements: To incorporate stormwater management practices to reduce the volume of runoff from existing impervious areas that flows across and erodes the beach including:
- The repair of one (1) existing stormwater outfall on the Pine Island Sound shoreline, approximately 330 feet southwest of the end of the northwest bridge abutment.
- To construct five (5) new pile and crib stormwater outfalls, including two crossing the San Carlos Bay shoreline at Breakwater #3 and 570 feet west of Breakwater #3, and three crossing the Pine Island Sound shoreline at approximately 800 feet, 1,415 feet, and 1,835 feet southwest of the northwest terminal groin, respectively.
Overall, the project will result in the discharge 14,500 CY of fill material below the plane of the mean high water line (MHWL) from 0-3 feet MLLW and over approximately 4.8-acres of non-vegetated subaqueous bottom. The channelward limits of all the construction has been designed to avoid impacts to all existing seagrass beds and other special aquatic sites within the project area. A detailed project description, as provided by the applicant, has been attached to this public notice along with the proposed project plans.
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 project has been designed to avoid impacts to all adjacent seagrass beds by keeping all construction landward of the delineated seagrass areas. During construction, silt curtains will be utilized to control turbidity and protect seagrass. The project will be constructed using land-based equipment, and all project construction will adhere to the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work (FWC, 2011) and Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions (NMFS, 2006).
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The project has been specifically designed to avoid impacts to seagrass and other special aquatic sites. Therefore, no compensatory mitigation should be required.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected.
1) Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
West Indian (Florida) manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
Piping plover (Charadrius melodus)
Rufa red knot (Calidris canutus)
The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” determination for the species listed immediately above. The Corps will request initiation of informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
2) Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and its designated critical habitat
Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)
The Corps has determined that the proposed project will result in a “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” determination for the smalltooth sawfish and swimming sea turtle species listed immediately above, and “is not likely to adversely modify” smalltooth sawfish critical habitat. The Corps will request initiation of informal consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service 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 4.8 acres of water column and non-vegetated subaqueous bottom utilized by various life stages of shrimp, reef fish, red drum, spiny lobster, and coastal migratory/pelagic fish. This project has been designed to avoid impacts to nearshore submerged aquatic vegetation (seagrass). 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 to date.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33919 or preferably by email to Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil 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, Katy Damico, in writing by U.S. Mail at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd, Fort Myers, Florida 33919; by electronic mail at Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (813) 769-7076.
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