Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

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SAJ-2016-01935(SP-AMK)

Published March 5, 2019
Expiration date: 3/26/2019

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:      John McLaren
                           NHC-FL 132 LLC
                           27777 Franklin Road, Suite 200

                           Southfield, MI 48034

 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect navigable waters of the United States in the lower Florida Keys tributary to Cow Key Channel. The project site is located at 5031 5th Avenue, legally described as STOCK ISLAND MALONEY SUB PB1-55 PT UNNUMBERED BK 52 LT AND PT ADJ BAY BTM SQR 52 in Section 34, Township 67 South, Range 25 East, Key West, Florida (00126550-000100).

 

Directions to the site are as follows: Take U.S. 1 South to MM4.5± Oceanside; turn left onto Cross Street and turn right onto 5th Avenue; project site is located at the parking lot at the end of 5th Avenue at 5001 5th Avenue, Stock Island.

 

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:         

Latitude: 24.568917

Longitude: -81.748489

 

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic purpose is to update an existing marina by installing, relocating, and retaining already deployed floating docks.

Overall: The overall purpose is to update an existing marina by installing, relocating, and retaining already deployed floating docks on Stock Island, Monroe County, Florida.

 

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property is comprised of approximately 0.24 acres of upland area, and 0.10+ acres of submerged land.  The marina upland has a small fishing and boating‐oriented convenience store in the northeast corner of the main building on the parcel and has associated parking for the store and marina in a gravel parking lot to the east. 

 

The southern shoreline of the marina borders a canal approximately 50‐60 feet in width. Depths in this canal range from 2.96-feet near the seawall to 8 feet closer to the center.  Seawall in the canal hosts a 13-foot wide by 75-foot long floating dock that facilitates personal watercraft mooring.  There are no submerged aquatic resources in the canal, though the opposing shoreline is fringed with red mangroves.  Water depths in the dock’s current footprint do not achieve 4-foot water depths.

 

The northern shoreline of the marina borders a canal approximately 50-60 feet in width which leads into the Sunset Harbor Park to the east.  A boat ramp is also located on the northern marina shoreline.  Depths in this canal range from approximately 4 feet adjacent to the seawall to 8 feet closer to the center.  In a benthic assessment report dated August 8, 2018, one seagrass bed measuring approximately 65 by 30 feet was found within the assessment area in the north canal.  The patch is comprised of turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum), Shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) and various macroalgae.  It is not located near the proposed north canal floating dock. 

 

There are four pontoons moored at the site and used for boat docking.  Each pontoon is a registered vessel through the state of Florida.  Water depths range from 3.23 feet MLW at the base of the seawall and progress to 12 feet continuing to the west.  There are sporadic Starlet coral colonies present ranging from 1.5 cm to 30 cm in diameter. Many of the coral colonies have grown on the concrete deadman anchors that hold the pontoon-docks in place.

 

There are no corals or seagrasses in the proposed project footprint.  

 

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to update an existing marina by the following:

Relocating an existing 13-foot wide by 75-foot long marginal floating dock in the south canal by segmenting it and placing the new pieces in areas of adequate water depth (-4 feet MLW).  Specifically, a 60 foot long segment will be placed adjacent/abutting a pontoon on the west side of the property, and the remaining 15 feet will be shifted to the mouth of the canal where adequate water depths exist.  The proposed 60-foot floating dock portion will be affixed to a pontoon, and the pontoon will be stabilized via two 12-inch diameter timber support piles. 

Installing a new personal watercraft docking location consisting of eight (8) floating docks measuring 85 square feet each and secured with PVC and timber piles.  The PWC dock location is proposed in the north canal.

 

Additionally, the applicant seeks to legitimize the existing four western docks that consist of state-registered vessels (pontoons).  These docks are secured to the seafloor with concrete deadmen measuring five feet by two feet.  For items one and two, above, turbidity barriers will be used during construction and removed only when turbidity subsides to pre-construction conditions.  Work is proposed within U.S. Navigable Waters.

 

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:

“Avoidance and minimization of impacts have been considered to the maximum extent practicable.  The proposed floating dock footprints were chosen due to absence of special aquatic sites, and because they achieved -4 feet MLW depths required by the State.  The submerged areas under the north and south canal proposed dock footprints do not support submerged aquatic resources. 

 

During installation of the south and north canal dock pilings, turbidity barriers will be used during construction and removed only when turbidity subsides to pre-construction conditions.  Piles will be installed via augur as opposed to drop hammer in order to circumvent noise impacts to wildlife rendered via drop hammer.”

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:  “No compensatory mitigation is proposed due to absence of resources in the project footprint.”

 

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 project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus).  The project site is not within the species’ designated critical habitat.  Potential and indirect impacts to the endangered West Indian manatee were evaluated using the Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 (key).  Use of the key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > H> I> J> L> N > O > P1, “may affect, not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” for the West Indian manatee, where no further consultation with the Service is necessary.  This determination is partially based on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work, 2011.

 

The project is not located within an American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) critical habitat.  By letter dated 28 October 2014, the FWS issued programmatic concurrence for projects in the Keys south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and State Road 905 in Key Largo.  The letter states that projects located in this range are unlikely to adversely affect the American crocodile if it meets one or more of the listed criteria.  By using the programmatic letter by paragraph 2, considering that the proposed project is adjacent or contiguous to waters accessible to the crocodile but does not contain suitable habitat for nesting accessible to the crocodile, the Corps’ initial determination is the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the American crocodile and its critical habitat.  Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation with the Service is required.

 

The Google Earth Resource at Risk (RAR) report for the subject parcel includes the Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus) consultation area.  Potential impacts to the aforementioned species and its critical habitat were evaluated using the respective FWS Species Assessment Guides (SAGs), dated 29 July 2013.  Use of the SAGs resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B (1), “may affect, not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” the butterfly.  This determination is partially based on the applicant proposing no removal or modification of the species’ native habitat.  The Corps received programmatic concurrence from the FWS for projects that have a “NLAA” determination; therefore, no incidental take will occur and no further consultation with the FWS is required.

 

The Google Earth Resource at Risk (RAR) report for the subject parcel includes the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) consultation area.  Potential impacts to the piping plover were evaluated using the Programmatic Piping Plover Biological Opinion (BO), dated May 22, 2013.  Using the BO resulted in the Corps making a “no effect” determination for the piping plover.  This determination is based on there being no sandy beaches within the project area, as well as the project not being located within a designated piping plover Critical Habitat Unit or areas that are considered optimal piping plover habitat; therefore, no further consultation with the FWS is required.

 

The Google Earth Resource at Risk (RAR) report for the subject parcel includes the roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) consultation area.  The Corps has determined the proposed project will have “no effect” on the roseate tern.  This determination is partially based on roseates being highly sensitive to disturbances, such as human activity, making developed areas undesirable for nesting, and protected areas, such as the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, the more desirable location for nesting and foraging near the project area.

 

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and its designated critical habitat, hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) species.  A no effect determination was reached on smalltooth sawfish designated critical habitat, Acropora spp. (Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata) and its designated critical habitat, and listed coral species: pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis), mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), boulder star coral (Orbicella franksi), and rough cactus coral (Mycetophyllia ferox).  The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act via separate consultation.

 

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 1,226± square feet of submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marine life.  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 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 SW 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, Allyse Keel, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by electronic mail at allyse.m.keel@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (305) 526-7184; or, by telephone at (305) 526-7183. 

 

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 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.