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: Awesome Action, LLC
c/o Roger and Cindy Bevan
444 Pensacola Beach Boulevard
Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Santa Rosa Sound. The project is located at 444 Pensacola Beach Boulevard, in Section 0, Township 3 South, Range 29 West, in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola, proceed east on US Highway 98 across the Pensacola Bay Bridge to Gulf Breeze. Continue southeast on US-98 then merge onto Highway 399/Pensacola Beach Boulevard. The site is located 400 feet southeast of the toll plaza on the northeast side of the road at 444 Pensacola Beach Boulevard.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.341453°, Longitude -87.147362°
Basic: Commercial Dock
Overall: Construct a commercial dock to accommodate a parasail and personal watercraft (PWC) business on Santa Rosa Sound in Pensacola Beach, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS/SITE HISTORY: The project site is an active commercial parasail and PWC rental facility on Pensacola Beach. There are seagrasses onsite consisting of Halodule Wrightii (shoal grass) and Thalassia testudinum (turtlegrass). The once continuous seagrass bed was bisected between 2008 and 2009 due to unauthorized dredging activities by the applicant in association with the operation of the existing facility. The dredging resulted in the creation of a 45 to 80-foot wide, 330-foot long channel and the loss of approximately 0.4 acre of seagrass. The applicant has estimated the amount of dredged material at 284 cubic yards.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a commercial dock consisting of a fixed 242-foot by 5-foot access pier and 8-foot by 11-foot terminal platform, two 16-foot by 16-foot uncovered boat lifts, and 13 floating PWC lifts (with float caps at each end). There would be 3 temporary loading areas, one along the north side of the pier and one along the south side of the pier between the boat lift and the terminus of the dock, and one along the south side of the pier between the PWC lifts and the boat lift. In addition, two 40-foot loading areas are proposed along the shoreline (on the north and south side of the dock); no structures are proposed in association with these loading areas along the shoreline.
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 is seeking a permit to construct the minimal amount necessary to operate an ongoing commercial enterprise. The proposed development was designed to avoid impacts to seagrass resources and to prevent future impacts by limiting traffic to the dock structure and by avoiding the adjacent grass beds. For previous impacts to seagrass areas, the applicant proposes a seagrass restoration plan.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset functional loss to the aquatic environment resulting from the unauthorized dredging through seagrass (see the attached “Seagrass Restoration Plan for Radical Rides” for complete proposal):
“For this project there will be three restoration areas: 0.04-acre within the impact area will be restored, 0.42-acre of impaired grass beds will be enhanced/restored outside of the impact area and the 0.18-acre passive restoration within the impact area.” The plan includes:
1. Restoration of the existing grade of the dredged area to pre-disturbance levels, accomplished through the use of a mini excavator mounted on a shallow draft barge.
2. Nutrient enhancement through the installation of 23 bird stakes, consisting of a 2-inch PVC pipe with a wooden perch, placed in the restoration and enhancement areas.
3. Transplantation of 92 harvested seagrass plugs (20 cm x 20 cm) from a donor site (south of the impact area) to the restoration and enhancement areas; plugs would be placed around the bird stakes (four plugs around each stake).
4. Nutrient enhancement through the injection of a fertilizer/plant growth hormone mix, comprised of prilled Urea, Gibberellic acid, and 6-Benzylapurine, made every 6-inches along the fringes of existing grass beds and the newly planted seagrass plugs (made every 2 weeks for a total of 5 events).
5. Annual monitoring of mitigation areas during the growing season for a period of 5 years.
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: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but would not likely adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) as determined using the 2013 Manatee Key, following couplets A > B > C > G > H > I > J> L > N > O > P.
The Corps has also determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 proposed project would directly impact approximately 0.05 acres of estuarine subtidal habitat (due to shading) and the unauthorized dredging has impacted approximately 0.4 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation utilized by various life stages of 3 shark species (blacktip, bull, spinner), four shrimp species (brown, white, pink, Royal red), coastal migratory pelagic species, red drum, and 43 species of reef fish. 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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 within 30 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823.
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.