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SAJ-2003-06106 (SP-BJC)

Published March 5, 2019
Expiration date: 4/3/2019

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 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:  Indian River County, Public Works

                         Attn: Mr. Richard Szpyrka

                         1801 27th Street, Building A

                         Vero Beach, Florida 32960            

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean.  The project site is located along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean beginning south of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Range Monument (R) R-97, at Wyn Cove Dive, and extending south to R-108 at Mangrove Drive.  The project limits are referred to as Sector 7 (See Sheet 2 of Attachments).  The project is located in Sections 16, 21, and 22, Township 33 South, Range 40 East, Indian River County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows:  From I-95 Southbound, take State Road 60 (20th Street) east approximately 13 miles, to Indian River Boulevard. Turn right and travel south on Indian River Boulevard for 0.4 miles, to 17th Street. Turn left onto 17th Street and cross the bridge to SR A1A. Turn right on SR A1A and travel 0.8 miles to Wyn Cove Drive.  Turn left on Wyn Cove Drive and the northern limit of the project is at the beach at the end of Wyn Cove Drive.  To reach the southern limit continue south on SR A1A approximately 1.95 miles to Mangrove Drive.  Turn left on Mangrove Drive and the beach at the end of the road is the southern terminus of the project. 

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:    Latitude   27.600981°

                                                                            Longitude -80.332920°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic:  To restore and maintain the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

Overall:  To restore and maintain the area of critical erosion along the Sector 7 project area shoreline in Indian River County through the placement of sand onto the beach.

EXISTING CONDITIONS:  The shoreline of the Project Area is characterized by single-family homes and privately owned vacant parcels - zoned for single family homes. Indian River County (IRC) has about 22.4 miles of barrier island beaches that extend south from Sebastian Inlet to Round Island Park.  Of IRC’s 22.4 miles of beaches, 15.7 miles have been classified by the FDEP as “critically eroded shoreline” or “a segment of the shoreline where natural processes or human activity have caused or contributed to erosion and recession of the beach or dune system to such a degree that upland development, recreational interests, wildlife habitat, or important cultural resources are threatened or lost” (FDEP, 2017). The critically eroded shorelines in IRC are subdivided into three sections: 9.5 miles south of Sebastian Inlet from R-1 to R-51.3, the northern 3.1 miles of Vero Beach from R-70 to R-86, and a 3.1 mile segment in southern IRC from R-99 to R-115.7 (FDEP, 2018).

In 2015, the County updated its Beach Preservation Plan (BPP) and performed a storm vulnerability analysis where, “vulnerability was defined as the exposure of upland property to impacts from storm events” (CB&I, 2015a). For Sector 7, the BPP indicates the County would reduce annual storm damages by about $750,000 per year, on average, if the beach is restored.  The BPP recommends re-nourishment of beaches within Sector 7 every 6 years with an estimated 234,000 cubic yards of sand (CB&I, 2015a).

PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant seeks authorization for a 15 year permit to restore approximately 10,300 feet of shorefront in an unincorporated portion of southern Indian River County from FDEP reference monument R-97.5 south to R-108. Fill volume placed during the 2007 construction was approximately 362,200 cubic yards (inclusive of dune enhancement); the fill volume for this Project is expected to be 440,660± cubic yards to restore the 2007 fill template and replace additional losses since the 2007 construction.

The Project is proposed to be constructed with sand fill obtained from either (a) the southern portion of the County’s offshore borrow area previously approved and used for the 2007 project, or (b) an upland sand source pre-approved by the County.

For use of the offshore sand source:

  1. Dredging of the offshore borrow area shall be performed either by (a) a hydraulic pipeline dredge pumping directly to shore or via scows/barges, or (b) a hopper dredge. A mechanical (clamshell) dredge will not be allowed.
  2. The beach material will be pumped onto the beach through pipelines on the Atlantic Ocean bottom via the corridors shown in the permit sketches.
  3. A shore-parallel sand dike will be constructed and maintained along the beach as the discharge point moves to maintain at least 30.5 meters (100 feet) of dike ahead of the discharge pipe.
  4. The offshore limit of the mixing zone is requested to be 120 meters from the point of discharge into the Ocean. The shore-parallel mixing zone is requested to be 1,000 meters from the point of discharge.

    For use of the upland sand source:

  1. The Contractor shall: excavate, process, and provide suitable beach-compatible sand fill material from the proposed upland sources; transport and deliver the sand fill to the "Construction Access/Staging Areas" for stockpiling.
  2. It is expected that the Contractor will transport sand fill from the "Construction Access/Staging Area," along the existing dry beach via off-road trucks and place fill, to a point approximately midway to the adjacent "Construction Access/Staging Area".
  3. The offshore limit of the mixing zone is requested to be 120 meters from the point of discharge into the Ocean. The shore-parallel mixing zone is requested to be 1,000 meters from the point of discharge.

    Based on 2018 monitoring surveys placement of 440,660± cubic yards of sand fill is estimated to be required for the initial nourishment event under the proposed permits. No structures are proposed. As determined for the 2007 initial project construction, no impacts are expected and no mitigation is proposed.

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:

Impacts to the aquatic ecosystem have been minimized by the following appropriate and practicable steps and provisions:

  • The Project Design was formulated to avoid impacts to nearshore hardbottom that exists within the proposed fill area. Although it is desirable to place a larger quantity of fill material south of R-102 to maintain a larger beach width between R-102 and R-108, such fill placement has not been proposed to avoid impacts to the more extensive nearshore hardbottom resources in this area.
  • Only beach quality sand suitable for sea turtle nesting shall be used for beach fill. The sand will be of similar grain size as the native, sandy beach.
  • The borrow area, dredge cut depths, and associated fill grain size have been evaluated and selected to minimize silt/clay content to minimize compaction and re-suspension of fines (turbidity) in the nearshore area.
  • The proposed beach will create a wider beach which will support increased marine turtle nesting.
  • Beach nourishment activities shall not occur from May 1 through October 31, the period of peak marine turtle nesting activity. Construction is intended to be performed between November 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020 to avoid the marine turtle nesting season. In the event it becomes necessary for construction to extend beyond May 1, monitoring of the beach shall be performed to identify and relocate turtle nests from the proposed fill area - as may be allowed by the USACE and FDEP permits.
  • Sea turtle nesting activities will be monitored for the initial construction nesting season and for a minimum of two additional nesting seasons.
  • Immediately after completing the beach nourishment project and prior to the next three nesting seasons, beach compaction shall be monitored and tilling shall be conducted by February 15, if required, to reduce potential impacts upon sea turtle nesting and hatchings.
  • The Contractor undertaking the beach nourishment will undertake marine turtle and manatee protection measures. A meeting will be arranged between representative of the Contractor, the USFWS, FFWCC, FDEP, USACE, and the permitted person responsible for turtle egg relocation (from March 1 to May 1) at least 30 days prior to the commencement of work on this Project. At least 10 days advance notice shall be provided prior to this meeting.
  • From March 1 through April 30 and November 1 through November 30, staging areas for construction equipment shall be located off the beach to the maximum extent practicable. All construction pipes that are placed on the beach shall be located as far landward as possible without compromising the integrity of the existing or reconstructed dune system.
  • From March 1 through April 30 and November 1 through November 30:
  • All beach lighting associated with the Project shall be limited to the immediate area of active construction only and shall be the minimal lighting necessary to comply the US Coast Guard and/or OSHA requirements. Such lighting shall be minimized to through reduction, shielding, lowering, and appropriate placement of lights to minimize illumination of the nesting beach and water. Shields must be affixed to the light housing and be large enough to block light from all lamps from being transmitted outside the construction area.
  • Lighting associated with the Project shall be minimized to reduce the possibility of disrupting and disorienting nesting sea turtles and/or hatchlings.
  • The County will (a) reassess potential point source lighting that may become visible on the constructed beach berm, and (b) actively enforce compliance with the County’s existing code of ordinance regarding beachfront lighting, as stated in Title IX Chapter 932 Section 09.
  • No anchoring will be allowed within 200 feet of existing archeological resources adjacent

    to the proposed borrow areas per the Permit Sketches.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:

Mitigation was not required for the 2007 beach and dune restoration project - based on the USACE and FDEP permits. Based upon conferences with regulatory agencies (see Appendix A), it is expected as the extent of the proposed Project is limited in the 2007 project template, mitigation will not be necessary. As the preferred “No Impact” alternative will not have direct, indirect or cumulative effects on the nearshore hardbottom habitat, the beach and associated biological communities, no mitigation is proposed or required. Three years of post-construction monitoring of the nearshore hardbottom are proposed, as was required for the 2007 nourishment project, and as reflected in the proposed Biological Monitoring Plan.

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. Therefore, the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect”.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: 

The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, and is likely to adversely affect” the loggerhead sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, West Indian manatee, southeastern beach mouse, roseate turn, red knot, piping plover, North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, giant manta ray, smalltooth sawfish, and the shortnose sturgeon or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with these 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 197 acres of marine and water column habitat utilized by various life stages of managed species. The Corps is aware of live/hardbottoms and worm rock reefs immediately adjacent to the discharge site. Live/hardbottom and worm rock are EFH for juvenile and adult gag and yellowedge grouper, gray and mutton snapper, and spiny lobster. In addition, the South Atlantic Fishery Marine Coucil also designates live/hardbottom and worm rock as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) for the snapper/grouper complex or highly migratory pelagic species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean because no nearshore hardbottom or work rock HACP’s will be directly filled by the proposed sand placement. 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926 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, Brandon J. Conroy, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at brandon.j.conroy@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (321) 504-3803; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771 x 11.

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.