US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

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SAJ-1986-20099 (SP-PRJ)

Published Oct. 1, 2019
Expiration date: 10/16/2019

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 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

APPLICANT:  Gate Hospitality Group
                       1830 Epping Forest Drive
                       Jacksonville, Florida 32217

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located at 1830 Epping Forest Drive, in Section 43, Township 3 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from downtown Jacksonville take the Acosta Expressway South across the St. Johns River to the Hendricks Avenue/ State Road 13 exit. Turn onto Hendricks Avenue and travel south. Continue on Hendricks Avenue traveling south as it turns into San Jose Boulevard. Follow San Jose Boulevard traveling south to Epping Forest Yacht Club. Turn west onto Epping Forest Drive and follow to the marina located on the western portion of the property on the St. Johns River.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude 30.247943°
                                                                          Longitude -81.641963°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is navigation.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to access navigable waters from the Epping Forest Yacht Club basin.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is the Epping Forest Yacht and Country Club located along the St. Johns River. The site includes an existing previously authorized 71-slip marina that was damaged by storm events. The adjacent upland parcel includes the private residential development as well as the amenities of the Epping Forest Yacht and Country Club.

PROJECT HISTORY: The Gate Petroleum Oil Company received authorization to dredge the marina basin and construct a 71-slip marina on October 14, 1986. Then on July 24, 1987, the same Permittee received authorization to install up to 6 channel markers at the entrance of the marina. On August 8, 1990, Epping Forest Yacht Club received authorization to dredge the boat basin to a depth of -6.5 NGVD. Since then, the applicant has made unauthorized additions to the marina. The pervious permits were transferred to Gate Hospitality Group on April 10, 2019.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge 4,649 cubic yards of material to a depth of -6.5 NGVD located within the Epping Forest Yacht Club marina basin. The dredge material would be taken to an upland disposal site located on the north end of Cathy Tripp Lane North near Jacksonville Baldwin Trail as depicted on the project drawings.

The applicant proposes to construct two wave attenuators and add another finger pier to the south side of the main pier. The 9-foot by 51-foot wave attenuators would be located where there is a gap in the existing breakwater on the north and south sides of the marina as depicted on the attached drawings. The additional finger pier would be 4 feet wide by 40 feet long as depicted on the enclosed project drawings.

The applicant proposes to reconstruct previously authorized parts of the marina which include 3 gangways, all main access piers and finger piers, boat slip mooring pilings, and 2 fenders. The main access piers include three 4-foot by 20-foot gangways leading to the main access walks. The main access walks consist of a 9-foot by 527-foot pier located on the north side of the marina, a 9-foot by 464-foot pier located on the south side of the marina, and an 11-foot by 245-foot pier in the center of the marina that leads to a 4-foot by 20-foot gangway and boat house. The design of the north and south piers would be extended to the length noted above, although they were originally authorized at 505 feet and 445 feet respectively. The pier on the north would include nine 5-foot by 40-foot finger piers, two 5-foot by 50 foot finger piers, and one 6-foot by 50-foot finger pier. The pier on the south would include seven 4-foot by 40-foot finger piers, two 4-foot by 50-foot finger piers, and one 6-foot by 50-foot finger pier. The pier on the south would also include the addition of the proposed 4-foot by 40-foot finger pier as mentioned above. The center pier would include fifteen 4-foot by 30-foot piers. The marina reconstruction would also include 34 mooring pilings that are associated with the boat slips and two fenders that are located at the entrance of the marina. The fender on the north is 35 feet in length and the fender on the south is 34 feet in length.

The applicant requests after-the-fact authorization for 4 dolphin piles, 16 boatlifts, 2 floating docks, 2 walkways alongside the existing boathouse, and 4 mooring piles. The four dolphin piles are comprised of four pilings each and create a boat slip 100 feet in length located on the outside of the south side of the marina. The sixteen boatlifts are located along the center pier as depicted on the project drawings. The two floating docks include a 30-foot by 50-foot floating dock located near the boat house on the northwestern corner of the center pier and one 20-foot by 20-foot floating dock located just north of the existing concrete deck that is located in the southeastern corner of the marina as depicted on the project drawings. The two floating docks accommodate kayaks and small sailboats. The two existing walkways include a 2-foot by 71-foot walkway alongside the south side of the boat house along with four adjacent mooring piles to create a 70-foot boat slip. The second walkway is located on the west side of the boat house and is 2 feet wide and 51 feet long. There are no additional mooring pilings adjacent to the 51-foot walkway.

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 applicant proposes to dredge the existing marina basin and reconstruct the marina since it was damaged from the storm.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:

The applicant did not propose compensatory mitigation.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES:

Since the proposal is for in-water work in waters accessible to West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida – April 2013 (Manatee Key) to evaluate the potential impacts to the manatee. In addition the Corps used The National Marine Fisheries Service Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) – November 20, 2017, to evaluate the potential impacts to the 5 sea turtles, sawfish, and sturgeon. Through use of the Manatee Key and the JAXBO, the Corps determined that the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). The determination of may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the manatee did not require further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In accordance with the project-specific review process established in the JAXBO, a Project Design Criteria checklist, certification that the activity meets the applicable PDCs, and supporting documentation for the proposed activity will be sent to the National Marine Fisheries Service for their review.

Since the proposed work is located within the Core Foraging Area for the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana), the Corps evaluated the potential effects of the proposed work on the Wood Stork through the use of 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 (Wood Stork Key). Through use of the Wood Stork Key, the Corps determined that the proposed work would have no effect on the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana).

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 acres of river bottom utilized by various species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns River. 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019, within 15 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by telephone at (904)232-2503 or by electronic mail at paula.r.johnson@usace.army.mil.

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.