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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: Mr. Ralph Reigelsperger
City of Melbourne
2885 Harper Road
Melbourne, FL 32904
Mr. John Walsh
City of Cocoa
351 Shearer Boulevard
Cocoa FL, 32922
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River. The project site is located along the southern edge of the Pineda Causeway from the U.S. Highway 1 intersection to the off ramp for South Patrick Drive, in Sections 19/20/21/22, Township 26 South, Range 37 East, Brevard County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Jacksonville, Take I-95 South; take Exit 18 for State Road 404 Pineda Causeway and head east for approximately 3 miles, Brevard County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude 28.206342° Longitude -80.648687°
Basic: Municipal water infrastructure.
Overall: To install new water utility infrastructure in order to improve redundancy and water quality for the cities of Cocoa and Melbourne and meet existing water demands for the residents and businesses on the barrier islands.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The review area for the proposed work comprises of approximately 95 acres along the southern edge of the Pineda Causeway into the Banana and Indian Rivers which spans nearly 3.2 miles from U.S. Highway 1 on the western edge to South Patrick Drive on the eastern edge. The upland land uses and accompanying Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) codes within the review area consist of 7.98 acres of Open land (190), 3.94 acres of Brazilian Pepper (422), 0.44 acres of Australian Pine (437), 5.06 acres of Mixed Hardwoods (438), 0.11 acres of Railroads (812), and 50.96 acres of Roads and Highways (814). The Wetland land use and FLUCFCS codes within the review area consist of 0.19 acres Water (500), 0.61 acres Streams and Waterways (510), 0.42 acres of Reservoirs less than 10 Acres (534), 10.74 acres of Bays and Estuaries (540), 2.10 acres of Mangrove Swamp (612), 6.00 acres of Wetland Forested Mixed (630), 0.85 acres of Wetland Scrub (631), and 0.83 acres Shorelines (652). The Acreages and codes were provided by the applicant’s agent and wetland delineations conducted in accordance with the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual (Technical Report Y-87-1), and Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain Region (ERDC/EL TR-10-20). A sub aquatic vegetation (SAV) survey was also conducted along the Pineda Causeway focusing on the southern edge of the causeway where the work is to occur. The initial survey conducted in 2017 spanned nearly 3 miles, 187 acres of river bottom, and comprised of 87 transects averaging 600 feet in length. The surveyors observed a small band of patchy shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) found along a portion of the western most shoreline that comprised of 1 to 5 percent cover. No other SAV was observed. A more recent survey was conducted as of April 2019 directly adjacent to the areas where work is to be performed for the proposed project and no sea grasses were observed. The remainder of benthic habitat consist of sandy unconsolidated bottom frequently covered by silt and/or muck with patches of drift algae of comprised of various genera.
PROPOSED WORK: The proposed work for this project includes the installation of two (2) 16-inch water mains. The project includes open trench, horizontal directional drill (HDD) under land and under the Indian River and Banana River, jack and bore installations within the FEC Railroad right-of-way (ROW) and jack and bore installation across Federal Department of Transportation (FDOT) roadways. This includes approximately 41,000 linear feet of water main installed up to a depth of approximately 90 feet below the river bottom. In addition, the proposed work includes temporary installation of 12-inch diameter steel pilings across the eastern relief channel in the Banana River to allow for HDD installation of water transmission main under the Banana River Channel. Eleven (11) 40 feet long steel pilings will be driven, by drop-hammer, for 25 feet embedment. All temporary steel pilings will be removed following installation of this crossing. Pilings will guide and restrain floating fused piping, staged for pullback across the relief channel. Anticipated duration for the temporary piling installation is 3 months. The proposed work will result in the direct and permanent fill of 0.195 acres of wetlands, and will temporarily impact 2.38 acres of wetlands that will be returned to pre-existing grade and allowed to re-vegetate to pre-existing conditions upon the completion of the work.
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:
"Although unavoidable direct impacts to wetlands equating to approximately 0.195 acres will result from the construction and operation of the Pineda Causeway Water Transmission Main project, the applicants have considered practicable design modification which would reduce or eliminate adverse impacts to wetlands and other surface waters by avoiding the higher quality wetlands within the project corridor while still maintaining appropriate and safe buffers from the roadways. By installing these water mains adjacent to one another and concurrently, wetland impacts are being both minimized from a spatial and temporal standpoint."
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following information in support of mitigation for impacts to the aquatic environment:
"The City of Melbourne and the City of Cocoa are proposing to install two (2) 16-inch water mains that parallel one another adjacent to the Pineda Causeway in Brevard County, Florida. Proposed permanent wetland impacts (±0.195-acres) account for a total of 0.052 WRAP functional units while temporary impacts requiring mitigation (±0.62-acres) will account for a total of 0.121 WRAP functional units. The additional proposed temporary impacts not requiring mitigation (±1.76-acres) will be brought to the pre-project grade upon project completion, re-planted for stabilization, and will be allowed to re-vegetate naturally due to their current quality and vegetative composition. The proposed mitigatable impacts will be offset through the purchase of 0.18 wetland mitigation bank credits from CGW 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.
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 0.195 acres of wetlands directly adjacent to the Indian and Banana Rivers. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the Indian River. Our final determination relative to the project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
a. Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) - May Affect Not Likely to Adversely Affect: The project is within the Core Foraging Area of a wood stork colony; however, the project would affect less than 0.5 acre of suitable foraging habitat for wood storks. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C- "may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect". b. West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) – May Affect Not Likely to Adversely Affect: The Corps reviewed the project utilizing The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-G-N-O-P- "may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect". The Corps partially based this determination on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work, 2011.
c. Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) – May Affect Not Likely to Adversely Affect: Eastern Indigo Snakes have not been observed on the site and occurrence is considered unlikely. However, they have potential to occur based on the presence of mix of habitats on the site. The Corps reviewed the project utilizing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key – Revised" (August 2017). Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-D-E- "may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect". The Corps partially based this determination on the implementation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake August 2013.
d. The Corps has determined the proposed project (piling installation) may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect swimming sea turtles: Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemps Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and the Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), or their designated critical habitat. The Corps will coordinate with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) through their US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) program for concurrence of a may affect, not likely to adversely affect determination, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Dr., Cocoa, Florida, 32926 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 Corey Maier, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (321) 504-3803; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771 ext. 15.
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.