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SAJ-2018-03335 (SP-KAE)

Published Dec. 12, 2019
Expiration date: 1/2/2020
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: City of Boca Raton
c/o Jennifer Bistyga, Manager
201 West Palmetto Park Road
Boca Raton, FL 33432

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located 750 feet off the shoreline of 1400 North Ocean Boulevard, in Section 21, Township 47 South, Range 45 East, in Boca Raton, within Palm Beach County, Florida

Directions to the site are as follows: Take Interstate 95 South and take exit 48A. Tum left on NW 40th St/Spanish River Blvd. and continue straight for approximately four miles to the end of the boulevard. Tum right on North Ocean Boulevard and head south for approximately two miles before arriving to Red Reef Park at 1400 N Ocean Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33432, on the left. The project site is located seaward of the shoreline, approximately 750 feet southeast of Red Reef Park.

APPROXIMATE COORDINATES:
Module ID X Y Lat Long Lat Long
1 961378.12 738169.2 26 21 41.23910 80 04 04.46466 26.36145531 80.06790685
2 961376.35 738121.85 26 21 40.77032 80 04 04.48777 26.36132509 80.06791327
3 961378.79 738097.85 26 21 40.53247 80 04 04.46287 26.36125902 80.06790635
4 961384.7 738074.1 26 21 40.29690 80 04 04.39980 26.36119358 80.06788883
5 961392.94 738053.8 26 21 40.09522 80 04 04.31083 26.36113756 80.06786412
6 961401.85 738032.03 26 21 39.87902 80 04 04.21470 26.36107751 80.06783742
7 961409.76 738008.41 26 21 39.64450 80 04 04.12956 26.36101236 80.06781377
8 961418.21 737982.83 26 21 39.39063 80 04 04.03872 26.36094184 80.06778853
9 961422.23 737954.86 26 21 39.11331 80 04 03.99671 26.36086481 80.06777687
10 961422.28 737927 26 21 38.83739 80 04 03.99839 26.36078816 80.06777733
11 961413.89 737906.89 26 21 38.63889 80 04 04.09218 26.36073302 80.06780338
12 961400.03 737920.86 26 21 38.77818 80 04 04.24348 26.36077172 80.06784541
13 961380.3 737923.62 26 21 38.80693 80 04 04.46014 26.3607797 80.06790559
14 961361.23 737916.84 26 21 38.74121 80 04 04.67037 26.36076145 80.06796399
15 961344.17 737898.33 26 21 38.55909 80 04 04.85937 26.36071086 80.06801649
16 961326.63 737831.18 26 21 37.89531 80 04 05.05751 26.36052648 80.06807153
17 961323.92 737798.16 26 21 37.56849 80 04 05.08990 26.36043569 80.06808053
18 961327.63 737764.51 26 21 37.23507 80 04 05.05175 26.36034308 80.06806993
19 961366 738061.57 26 21 40.17415 80 04 04.60644 26.36115949 80.06794623
20 961376.85 738041.2 26 21 39.97157 80 04 04.48872 26.36110321 80.06791353
21 961367.99 738030.4 26 21 39.86532 80 04 04.58702 26.3610737 80.06794084
22 961377.21 737990.33 26 21 39.46780 80 04 04.48880 26.36096328 80.06791356
23 961344.42 738001.67 26 21 39.58242 80 04 04.84838 26.36099512 80.06801344
24 961395.87 737960.85 26 21 39.17451 80 04 04.28604 26.36088181 80.06785723
25 961346.64 737962.84 26 21 39.19772 80 04 04.82705 26.36088826 80.06800751
26 961351.59 737952.67 26 21 39.09668 80 04 04.77342 26.36086019 80.06799262
27 961391.27 737946.95 26 21 39.03716 80 04 04.33775 26.36084366 80.0678716
28 961340.79 737943.65 26 21 39.00815 80 04 04.89285 26.3608356 80.06802579

PROJECT PURPOSE:
Basic: The basic project purpose is to construct an artificial reef.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct an artificial reef site offshore of Palm Beach County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed action is located in the Atlantic Ocean, within 200 feet of the shoreline at Red Reef Park. The substrate within the action area is primarily sand. The water depth at the base of the proposed modules varies between minus 5.0 to minus 6.0 ft NAVD88.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place 28 artificial reef modules to the existing snorkeling reef amenity at Red Reef Park to form a complete snorkeling trail. Each module will be constructed from limestone substrate in the form of nine boulders of three to four-foot nominal dimension. Modules will be comprised of a single base layer consisting of six boulders, with three boulders placed tightly within the void spaces above to form the second layer. Each proposed module will cover an approximate area of 75 square feet. The modules will be sited in an area between monuments R-214 and T-215 and will be within 200 feet of Red Reef Park’s shoreline. Reef modules will be constructed over stable substrate in areas with sand depths of six feet or less to ensure that subsidence of the modules does not result in permanent burial. Module crest elevations will vary between minus 2.0 to minus 4.0 feet Mean Low Water. No alterations resulting from the proposed project will be made to the existing sediment and water quality conditions.

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 enhancements avoid impacts to the existing artificial reef and is in an area where resources and marine vegetation have not been observed. The applicant is in acceptance of the standard manatee, small tooth sawfish, and sea turtle terms and conditions as well as reasonable and prudent measures.”

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
As there are no impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation nor coral species proposed therefore no compensatory mitigation is required.

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 if applicable those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.

ENDANGERED SPECIES:
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the threatened West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). The Corps requested concurrence with this determination from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the smalltooth sawfish, and endangered and threatened swimming sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys coriacea, and Caretta caretta and its designated critical habitat); the North Atlantic Right Whale; Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmate) critical habitat. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service's concurrence with these determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any 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 0.05 acres of unvegetated sand habitat 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.