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 at Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Range Monument (R) R-20, approximately at Seaview Boulevard, and extending south to R-55 at approximately 640 Ocean Road. The project limits are referred to as Sector 3 (See Sheet 2 of Attachments). The project is located in Sections 1, 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 23, 25, 26, and 36, Townships 31 and 32 South, Ranges 39 and 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 (A1A). Turn left and travel north on Indian River Boulevard for approximately 5.2 miles to southern terminus of Sector 3 (R-55) located beachside at approximately 640 Ocean Road. For the northern terminus continue north on A1A approximately 6.6 miles until Seaview Boulevard on the east side of A1A.
APPROXIMATE COORDINATES: Start Latitude 27.8115836°
End: Latitude 27.72468001°
Basic: To restore and maintain the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
Overall: To restore and maintain the area of critical erosion along the Sector 3 project area shoreline in Indian River County through the placement of sand onto the beach.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Sector 3 beach has endured long-standing background erosion, primarily due to gradients in the alongshore sediment transport, as well as the cumulative impacts of large storm events. Since 2010, the Sector 3 beach has been a regularly maintained local- and State-funded engineered beach project. The initial Sector 3 project was completed in three phases between 2010 and 2012, and was authorized under FDEP Joint Coastal Permit No. 0285993-001-JC. Following damages due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, a dune repair project was constructed in the winter of 2014/15, authorized under Modification 008-JN of the original permit. Authorization for construction activity under the original permit has since expired. The Sector 3 shoreline has continued to experience background erosion, as well as the cumulative impacts of multiple recent storms such as Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and Hurricane Irma in September 2017. As such, the beach and adjoining infrastructure is currently vulnerable to future erosion and storm impacts.
The proposed beach renourishment project extends along the same shoreline originally permitted, between FDEP reference monuments R-20 and R-55, which includes portions of North Beach, Orchid, Wabasso Beach, Indian River Shores, and unincorporated portions of Indian River County. The FDEP has designated the shoreline from R-20 to R-51.3 as “critically eroded with development and recreational interests being threatened” (FDEP 2016). The management strategy of this shoreline stated by FDEP’s Strategic Beach Management Plan is to “maintain the dune and beach restoration monitoring and nourishment” (FDEP, 2018).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for a 15 year permit to restore the Sector 3 beach. The proposed beach nourishment project includes sand nourishment in the form of a restored dune and a narrow berm feature that intersects the existing beach near the waterline. Sand for the project will be from upland sand mine(s) and/or an offshore borrow source. The offshore site is the previously permitted and utilized South Borrow Area, located approximately 15 miles southeast of the project area. The South Borrow Area was permitted, but was not used for the 2010‐12 Sector 3 Project.
In general, the construction method using an upland borrow source includes loading material at a sand mine, road transport via dump trucks, beachside delivery and stockpiling, loading from stockpiles to off‐road trucks, beach transport, placement, and grading. Planting of dune vegetation will take place following completion of constructed segments.
Approximately 461,700 cubic yards (cy) of in‐place material is required to fill the design template based on the July 2018 beach condition. Updated conditions of the beach at the time of construction may require more or less volume. The need and specific volume required for renourishment will be highly dependent on the magnitude and frequency of storm activity, as well as the volume of sand placed for dune maintenance immediately following storm events. Nevertheless, a long‐term erosion rate of ‐91,000 cy per year is used for planning purposes. A reasonable estimate of the renourishment interval is on the order of 4 to 6 years with a renourishment volume of 350,000 to 550,000 cy. If this area experiences frequent and/or large magnitude storm events, the renourishment interval may be shorter. If storm activity is relatively less frequent and/or intense, than the renourishment interval may be extended. For general planning purposes, a renourishment interval of 5 years is assumed, with an estimated renourishment volume of 455,000 cy.
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 proposed project includes a relatively small percentage of the total fill volume to be placed seaward of the mean high water line. Compliance with turbidity monitoring requirements will ensure turbidity levels remain within permitted limits. Impacts to waters of the United States are expected be minimal and temporary, thus the need for compensatory mitigation should not be required. Additionally a biological monitoring program is currently under development that will monitor the nearshore hardbottom located adjacent to the project area for unanticipated impacts.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“Similar to the 2010-12 Sector 3 project the proposed project has been designed to avoid impacts to nearshore hardbottom; therefore, compensatory mitigation is not proposed at this time.”
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”.
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 worm 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 waters. 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 email@example.com; 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.