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: Zach Ferrell
212 Water Drive
Mexico Beach, Florida 32456
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with North Bay. The project site is located at 6422 Grassy Point Road, Southport, Bay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Drive north on Highway 77 from Panama City. Turn right on Grassy Point Road and the property will be on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.266494°
Basic: Commercial development
Overall: Construction of a recreational vehicle park with a park office, public restrooms, boat storage facility, boat ramp, and 10-slip docking facility.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems consist of a wet pine flatwoods freshwater system and a saltwater marsh. The onsite freshwater vegetation consists of Sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), Southern wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Sweetpepper bush (Clethra alnifolia), yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), Carolina yelloweyed grass (Xyris carolinana), and meadow beauty (Rhexia virginica). The southwestern portion of the property is identified as estuarine intertidal marsh. This area is vegetated with herbaceous species and are dominated by black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) with smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and saltgrass (Distichlis spicada) interspersed. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of single family residential development and undeveloped forested land.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill material in 2.299 acres of jurisdictional wetlands in order to construct a 79 unit RV park with access roads and parking pads, park office, restroom facilities, boat ramp, boat storage facility and 10-slip dock structure.
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 environmental impacts was paramount throughout the planning process. Since the primary purpose of the project is construction of a RV park, boat docking, and associated infrastructure. The project layout and RV turnarounds have dictated specific minimum impacts to allow for RV parking, turnaround, and basic amenities. In addition, any overwater activities were minimized by proposal of construction of a multi-slip boat storage facility. Impacts were minimized by partially impacting and relocating ditches and impacting only a portion of a disturbed wetland.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The proposed mitigation will consist of forested mitigation bank credits to be purchased from the Sweetwater Mitigation Bank.
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.
Based upon the results of analysis using the programmatic keys, the Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake and West Indian Manatee. 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. In addition, the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on red cockaded woodpeckers.
The Corps has determined that the project may affect but is not likely to affect green sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, Gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish. The project complies with the project design criteria included in the Jacksonville Biological Opinion signed by the National Marine Fisheries Service in November 2017. Because the project is located in shallow waters in upper North Bay, it will have no effect on leatherback sea turtles or hawksbill sea turtle because they are unlikely to be found in the project area.
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 0.056 acres of estuarine marsh utilized by various life stages of coastal 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 North Bay. 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 Panama City Beach Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407 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, Tracey Wheeler, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or, by telephone at (850)287-0138.
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.