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: Palm Beach County BCC
c/o Fernando DelDago
2633 Vista parkway
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Intracoastal Waterway. The project site is located at 6990 N Ocean Boulevard, in Sections 16 & 22, Township 45 South, Range 43 East, in Ocean Ridge, within Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-95 to Boynton Beach Boulevard. Head east on Boynton Beach Boulevard to N Federal Highway (US 1) approximately 0.9 miles. Head south on N Federal Highway to E Ocean Avenue - approximately 0.1 miles. Head east on E Ocean Avenue, crossing the bridge over the Intracoastal Water Way, to North Ocean Boulevard (A1A) - approximately 0.6 miles. Head north on N Ocean Boulevard approximately 1.3 miles to the entrance to Ocean Inlet Park. The marina is on the right-hand side at the end of the entrance driveway
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose for shoreline stabilization.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to stabilize the shoreline at an existing park in Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The existing site takes place at Ocean Inlet Park in Ocean Ridge, within the Intracoastal Waterway. The site currently consists of a bulkheaded shoreline with a 28 slip marina. The marina structures are in dilapidated conditions with significant spalling and cracking of the bulkhead. The upland access ramp to the docking structures has been closed due to a collapse of the concrete bulkhead. The uplands host a building utilized by emergency personnel and a recreational park with attenuating structures. A 0.001 acre (44 square foot) portion of the southeast shoreline hosts black mangroves that have been impacted and are currently laying on their sides.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to 1) remove the existing fixed and floating docks consisting of a 8-foot by 290-foot (2,320 square foot) marginal dock and a 10-foot by 290-foot (2,900 square foot) pier; 2) replace 588-linear feet of bulkhead within 3-feet of the existing bulkhead (wetface to wetface); 3) replace a 214.41-linear foot bulkhead within 3-feet from the existing bulkhead (wetface to wetface); 4) install a 12-foot by 380-foot (4,560 square foot) floating wave attenuator with fifteen 20-inch concrete piles; 5) install a 12-foot by119.25-foot (1,431 square foot) marginal docking structure with two 5-foot by 20-foot (100 square foot) finger piers and three boatlifts; 6) install a 12-foot by 290-foot (3,480 square foot) floating concrete pier with a 8-foot by 70-foot (560 square foot) access gangway, eight 5-foot by 50-foot (250 square foot) finger piers, three 5-foot by 35-foot (175 square foot) finger piers, and install twenty-three (23) 18-inch concrete piles; 7) install a 12-foot by 80-foot (960 square foot) concrete floating pier with two 5-foot by 35-foot (175 square foot) finger piers, a 6-foot by 50-foot (300 square foot) access gangway, and five 18-inch concrete dock piles; 8) install twenty three (23) mooring piles; 9) fill 0.0001 acres of wetlands for the shoreline stabilization measuresand 10) plant six one gallon black mangroves along the shoreline on 3 foot centers. The proposed project will decrease the slip count from 28 to 27.
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:
A benthic resources survey was performed in July 19, 2018, which found that three seagrass species (shoal grass (Halodule wrightii), paddle grass (Halophila decipiens), and Johnson's seagrass (Halophila johnsonii)) were within the assessment area. The proposed project was designed to avoid impacts to submerged aquatic resources. “While other site plan configurations were considered, including lengthening of the main docking structure, the current proposed plan was designed to avoid impacts to seagrass areas that were identified during the submerged resource survey. The seagrass areas will be protected through the implementation of best management practices during construction activities. Additionally, the applicant will implement Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work during construction activities.” The proposed project will impact two small black mangroves that were previously damaged during storm events adjacent to the proposed southwest seawall and replace them with six one gallon size black mangroves to be located along the shoreline.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The applicant is proposing to remove two small sized mangroves (0.001 acres) that have been damaged by previous storm events and are laying horizontal to the water’s edge. As compensation for any loss of the functional value of the mangroves the applicant shall install six (6) one gallon sized black mangroves along the shoreline. The area located north of the proposed seawall replacement activities is ideal for an enhanced shoreline area as it is an unconsolidated shoreline and mangroves have naturally recruited into this area and can only benefit from additional enhancement activities. The location is within the same watershed and will restore an existing resource to maintain and improve the quality and quantity of mangroves within the watershed in an effort to ensure the project would have no net loss of any wetland function or value.
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 designated critical habitat; wood stork (Mycteria americana); Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi); swimming sea turtles: (green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)); smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). 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.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) since a benthic resource survey was conducted on 19 July 2018, which showed that while seagrasses are located adjacent to the project area, the proposed project was designed to avoid all impacts to submerged aquatic resources. Best management practices. Best management practices in the form of turbidity curtains will be utilized during construction activities, it is anticipated that there will be no secondary impacts to Johnson’s seagrass since the curtains will be located a minimum of 50 feet from the existing resource.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 0.001 acres of black mangroves (two individual trees) and 12,616 square feet of barren bottom (mud, silt and sand) by shading for the proposed wave attenuator and docking structures and 913 square feet of barren bottom (mud, silt and sand) for the installation of a seawall and back filling utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex and water column EFH. 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.
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 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.