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:
APPLICANTS: South Amelia Island Shore Stabilization Association, Inc.
5440 First Coast Highway
Amelia Island, Florida 32034
Nassau County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners acting as the
Head of South Amelia Island Shore Stabilization Municipal Services
Benefit Unity (SAISS-MSBU)
96135 Nassau Place, Suite 1
Yulee, Florida 32097
Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Recreation and Parks
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean and Nassau Sound. The project site is located along the shoreline of South Amelia Island and extends 3.6 miles between Florida Department of Environmental Protection R-monuments R-59 and R-79, in Sections 1, 6, 18, 22, 38, and 39, Townships 1 and 2 South, Ranges 28 and 29 East, Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from downtown Jacksonville take Interstate 95 (I-95) traveling north to State Road 105 (SR-105)/Heckscher Drive and turn east onto SR-105/Heckscher Drive. SR-105/Heckscher Drive transitions to SR- A1A, continue to follow SR-A1A across Nassau Sound. The south end of the project site is located just northeast of the Nassau Sound bridge at the south end of Amelia Island State Park and the project extends 3.6 miles north.
Northern End of the Project Site: Latitude 30.5688°
Southern End of the Project Site: Latitude 30.5170°
Basic: The basic project purpose is beach restoration and maintenance.
Overall: The overall project purpose is beach restoration and maintenance of South Amelia Island between Florida Department of Environmental Protection R-monument R-59 southward to R-79.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site extends along 3.6 miles of coastline of South Amelia Island. Approximately 2.6 miles of the project site is adjacent to developed upland areas of Amelia Island that include single-family residences, condominiums, hotels, and golf course/resort areas. The remaining 1.0 mile of the project shoreline is adjacent to undeveloped upland and uplands of Amelia Island State Park. The project area, as classified by the Florida Department of Transportation Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCCS), is classified as Marine – Unconsolidated Substrate (sand) from the supratidal to subtidal areas. Within this broad unvegetated zone there are the following FLUCCS sub-zones: swimming beach, coastal scrub, shorelines, and Atlantic Ocean. The swimming beach, more specifically described as coastal scrub, is the dry sandy area landward of the wave uprush limit. This area has near-zero vegetative cover and occupies roughly 44 acres of the project footprint. The area classified as shoreline is an unvegetated sandy beach and covers approximately 40 acres extending from the upland limit of the wave uprush to the Mean Low Water. The area classified as Atlantic Ocean and Water bodies/Nassau Sound have a sandy/muddy seabed. The 194-acre primary borrow area and the 139-acre secondary borrow area are located in the Nassau Sound ebb shoal. The project area does not contain submerged aquatic vegetation or hardbottom/reef.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant is requesting a 15-year permit to perform a beach restoration and maintenance project along South Amelia Island. The project consists of the placement of 2.2 million cubic yards of sand along the southern 3.6 miles of shoreline of Amelia Island from Florida Department of Environmental Protection R-monument R-59 southward to R-79. The project includes dune features along the landward limits of the project area. The dunes will be maintained through sand placement, dune vegetation, and sand fences. The borrow area for the beach restoration is located in the adjacent Nassau Sound. The applicant proposes to use a hydraulic cutterhead/pipeline for the dredge. The primary borrow area lies within the ebb shoal complex located offshore of the southern and southeastern areas of Amelia Island. The primary borrow area is intended to mimic the natural tidal channel alignments through the inlet. This borrow area is approximately 194 acres in size. The primary borrow area is expected to shoal in over time and is expected to be available for re-dredging within the requested 15-year time frame. The applicant also proposes a supplemental borrow area located along the northeastern edges of the Nassau Sound ebb shoal. This dredge area would be used if additional sand is needed for the project or if maintenance is needed following a significant storm event. The supplemental borrow area is 139 acres in size.
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 stated that they do not propose avoidance and minimization because the engineered beach project itself is intended to protect and enhance the southern Atlantic Ocean shoreline of Amelia Island and protect the environmental resources and upland infrastructure there along, including private and public property.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant stated that they do not propose compensatory mitigation for the proposed work and provided the statement above.
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), and Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/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. 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 and Nassau Sound. 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019, 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by telephone at (904)232-2503 or by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.