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: Marine Max Stuart Marina
350 SW Monterey Road
Stuart, Martin County, Florida
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the South Fork of the Saint Lucie River. The project site is located at 350 SW Monterey Road, in Section 17, Township 38 S, Range 41 East, in Stuart, within Martin County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95, take exit 101 from I-95 north bound onto FL-76 E, continue northerly until Monterey Road (SR 714), go west to the foot of the bridge.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
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 Stuart in Martin County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed activities are located in the South Fork of the Saint Lucie River. The shoreline consists of a bulkhead along 400-linear feet and 100-linear feet of riprap. The existing marina consists of five piers totaling 8,432 square feet, which can accommodate 60 vessels with slip sizes ranging from 25 feet to 85 feet. A benthic aquatic resource survey was conducted on 01 and 02 July 2019. Underwater visibility within the survey area ranged from 0 - 0.46 meters (0 - 1.5 feet) and water depths ranged from 0.61 - 2.44 meters (2 - 8 feet). Salinity was measured to be 12 ppt in the Marine Max-South survey area and 13 ppt in the Marine Max- North survey area. The bottom composition was silty mud substrate with shell fragments and detritus across the survey areas. Bioturbation was identified, suggesting an active infaunal community in the survey areas. Isolated occurrences of rocks with dead and living barnacles, various bivalves, and crabs were found during the survey. An increased presence of shells and shell fragments were found near the shoreline and bulkheads adjacent to the bridge. Dead mussels were found on the bulkhead of the Marine Max- South survey area. The survey showed that there were no seagrasses found during the survey.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to 1) remove 8,432 square feet of existing docking structures, 2) install 12,080 square feet of floating docks with 360 square feet of gangways, 3) install a 400-linear foot seawall to be located within 1.5 feet waterward (wetface to wetface) from the existing seawall, 4) install forty four batter piles, 5) install 2,000 square feet of riprap along 100-linear foot shoreline, 6) install thirteen boatlifts, and 7) dredge 13,500 cubic yards of sediment to a depth of minus 5-feet mean low water.
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: “Turbidity screens will be deployed around the perimeter of all demolition, dredging and pile driving activities. Best management practices will be used during demolition, dredging and construction operations.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: A benthic aquatic resource survey was conducted on 01 and 02 July 2019 and showed that there are no submerged aquatic vegetation, including seagrasses, located within the project boundaries.
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 aquatic resource survey conducted on 01 and 02 July 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), Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus); Audubon's Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus audubonii), Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), and red-cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis).
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 3.11 acres of silty mud substrate with shell fragments 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.
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.