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: Town of Palm Beach (TOPB)
c/o Jay Boodheshwar
360 South County Road
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Lake Worth Lagoon. The project site is located at 320 South Lake Drive (P.C. N. 50-43-43-23-05-020-0010), in Section 23, Township 43 South, Range 43 East, in Palm Beach, within Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95 exit 70/Okeechobee Blvd. and head east toward downtown, turn right onto South Lake Trail, continue until the road becomes South Lake Drive and the Town of Palm Beach Marina, at 320 South Lake Drive, Palm Beach FL 33480, will be on your right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Longitude: - 80.045040°
Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline stabilization and water access.
Overall: The overall project purpose is shoreline stabilization and water access at a public marina within the Town of Palm Beach in Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed activities are located in the Lake Worth Lagoon. The existing depths of the Lagoon at this location range from minus 4.5 feet to minus 20 feet. The total 1,551.4 linear feet of shoreline has an existing sheet pile bulkhead. The bulkhead is composed of a vertical concrete face and an 11-inch concrete cap, with an elevation of 5.5 feet MLLW. No riprap currently exists along the existing bulkhead; except for a 15.8-linear foot portion of a return wall near the Royal Park Bridge, this portion of the seawall is not to be replaced. No wetland vegetation, such as mangroves, exists along the shoreline. The existing TOPB marina consists of three fixed docks that can accommodate 84 vessels that range from 50 feet to 200 feet in length. There are three existing docks that extend perpendicular (East to West) to the shoreline: Brazilian, Australian and the Peruvian Docks. Currently the Brazilian dock has 30 slips, the Australian dock has 31 slips, and Peruvian dock has 23 slips, for a total of 84 slips. The three existing docks plus a 528 square foot overwater structure located on the Brazilian dock (utilized by the service personnel) and an 640 square foot overwater structure located on the Australian dock (utilized by the dock master) equals a total of 51,105 square feet of overwater structure. On 25 July 2018 and on 08 April 2019 benthic resource surveys were conducted to determine the presence of any submerged aquatic vegetation or special aquatic sites at or adjacent to the proposed location of all works. Both surveys showed no benthic resources are located within the footprint of the proposed project activities.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to stabilize the shoreline and improve water access at an existing marina by conducting the following activities:
1) install a 1,535 linear foot seawall a maximum of 24-inches waterward of the existing 1,551.4 linear foot bulkhead and shall be constructed two-feet higher than existing ;
2) install 138 concrete batterpiles;
3) install 19,960 square feet (2,250 cubic yards) of limestone riprap to be placed along the toe of the proposed bulkhead and return wall near the bridge for a total distance of 1,550 linear feet, the riprap is to be placed a maximum of 13-feet waterward from the wetface of the proposed bulkhead at a 1:1.5 slope;
4) remove 51,105 square feet of overwater structure consisting of the three existing docks and existing overwater building pad structures;
5) install a total of 87,849 square feet of over water structure for the construction of four docking structures to moor 84 vessels;
6) install 634 square feet of fixed gangways;
7) install a total of 695 square feet of piles;
8) install two overwater service buildings totaling 1,168 square feet; and
9) dredge a total of 88,660 cubic yards (15.9 acres) to depths ranging between minus 10.4 and minus 17.1 feet mean low water. The material to be dredged shall be placed within the previously permitted Tarpon Cove restoration area (SAJ-2017-01527 (SP-LCK) to fill the existing dredge hole. The proposed dredging will be conducted through the use of a barge mounted excavator.
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: “No important ecological resources (seagrass, corals or macroalgae) were present within the project footprint; however, turbidity curtains and monitoring will occur during all construction operations to avoid and minimize impacts to marine resources outside of the Project area.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: “A Marine Resource Survey was conducted on July 27, 2018. No seagrass, corals or macroalgae were observed; therefore, no impacts to marine resources are anticipated and no mitigation is proposed. Although no mitigation is proposed, the applicant proposes to beneficially reuse the dredged material at Tarpon Cove, a previously permitted (Corps Permit No. SAJ-2017-01527 (SP-LCK) restoration site, located just south of the Project area within Lake Worth Lagoon. The applicant will place limestone boulders along the toe of the new bulkhead which will provide habitat to fish and benthic organisms to colonize. Additionally, the clean concrete from the demolition of the existing three docks will be transported to a previously permitted artificial reef site (Corps Permit SAJ-2006-07012 (SP-JKA) known as the Mid-Depth Artificial Reef creating additional habitat for benthic organisms and fish. If any material is unable to be cleaned and relocated to the artificial reef site, it will be transferred from the work barge into dump trucks and disposed of at the Palm Beach County landfill.”
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 West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) or its critical habitat. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the threatened and endangered swimming sea turtles; loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), and Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), and the threatened smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and would not adversely modify their designated critical habitat. Work will occur in waters accessible to the swimming sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. Smalltooth sawfish and swimming sea turtles may be affected by being unable to use an area for forage or refuge habitat due to potential avoidance of construction activities. Because these species are motile and likely to leave the area during construction, the risk of injury from this type of construction activity is insignificant. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with these determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposed project will have no effect on threatened Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii), based on a benthic resource survey conducted on 27 July 2018 and on 08 April 2019 which showed no submerged aquatic vegetation is located within the footprint of the proposed project.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the following listed threatened or endangered species or their designated critical habitats: Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Wood stork (Mycteria americana), and the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus).
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 18.48 acres of unconsolidated sand with shell fragments barren rock bottom utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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.
NAVIGATION: Based on the Florida State Plane coordinates provided by the applicant, the waterward edge of the most waterward proposed structure is approximately 100 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel.
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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Ste 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 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, Kelly Egan, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Ste 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Kelly.Egan@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561) 472-3514.
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.