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: PL Ocean Residence Holdings, LLC.
C/o Larry M. Abbo, Manager
4651 Sheridan Street, Suite 480
Hollywood, Florida 33021
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located in Playa Largo Ocean Residences at 97801 Overseas Highway; legally described as Island of Key Largo PT Lts 8 and 15 PB1-59 and adjacent bay bottom in Section 06, Township 62 south, Range 39 east; Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida (MM97) (RE#00090820-000000).
Directions to the site are as follows: Take U.S. 1 South to U.S. 1; Continue on U.S. 1 South to MM97; Project is located in Playa Largo Ocean Residences at 97801 Overseas Highway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 25.074678°
Basic: To stabilize the shoreline and improve boating access.
Overall: To stabilize the shoreline and improve boat access in Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is located Oceanside near mile marker 97.8 in the Town of Key Largo, Monroe County. The property supports a newly constructed residential subdivision adjacent to a dredged channel tributary to the Atlantic Ocean. The site includes an existing boat ramp located along the northwest shoreline.
red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and white mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa) are located along the north side of the peninsula. These mangroves are tidally sustained and are mixed with green buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) trees located further from the water at slightly higher elevations. The narrow transition between the tidal waters of the channel and the upland fill area of the peninsula also support the several wetland species of sea purslane (Sesuvium spp.), salt grass (Distichlis spicata), and sea daisy (Borrichia frutuscens). Pockets of severe erosion are evident along the north side of the shoreline adjacent to the paved road leading to the residences and club house. The east side of the shoreline is stabilized by a riprap revetment; however, evidence of severe erosion is also present within said area. On the south side of the peninsula primarily green buttonwood trees are present with several red mangroves located further west. The submerged bottom consists of macroalgae such as Caulerpa sp., turf algae, and also occasionally sponges growing on and among the existing riprap. Two (2) species of stony corals, Massive Starlet Coral (Siderastrea siderea) and Lesser Starlet Coral (Siderastrea radians) were the only species of coral observed in the survey area. The majority of Siderastrea colonies ranged from 1-6 cm in length, with nine (9) larger colonies (up to 16 cm in length) within the Project Area footprint on the north and east sides of the peninsula observed and five additional colonies located south of the end of the peninsula in the southwest portion of the dredged channel. Most of the corals observed were attached to hard substrates, including rubble and exposed rock as a result of upland erosion and that material washing into the waterway. No species of seagrass were observed within the project footprint.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to conduct the following work:
a) To repair and expand the existing boat ramp slab measuring a total of 15 feet wide by 85 feet long and constructing a 5 foot wide by 90 foot long riprap revetment to the north of the boat ramp and a 5 foot wide by 15 foot long riprap revetment at the base of the boat ramp resulting in the placement of 95 cubic yards of fill within a 1,800 square foot area.
b) To construct a pile supported ramp accessory dock measuring 4 feet wide by 125 feet long totaling 500 square feet.
c) To construct a 1,135 square foot eight (8) slip docking facility with a 4 foot wide by 250 foot long marginal wood dock with two (2) six foot wide access platforms.
d) To install a 418 linear foot sheet pile toe wall with a maximum 4 foot wide riprap revetment along the north side of the property resulting in the placement of 185 cubic yards of fill within a 1,665 square foot area.
e) To reinforce the existing riprap revetment along the east side of the property by installing a 148 linear foot sheet pile toe wall with a maximum 8 foot wide riprap revetment resulting in the placement of 75 cubic yards of fill within a 1,105 square foot area.
f) To repair a 112.5 linear foot riprap revetment measuring up to 6 foot wide along the southern side of the property resulting in the placement of 45 cubic yards of fill within a 665 square foot area.
g) To impact 2,900 square feet of wetland shoreline along the northern shoreline and 510 square feet of wetland shoreline along the southern shoreline.
h) To install temporary floating turbidity barriers around all work areas that are in/over U.S. navigable waters
i) To avoid the remaining 540 square feet of onsite wetlands along the southern 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: Prior to the start of construction, turbidity curtains will be deployed to isolate the construction site from ambient waters. The applicant proposes to avoid 540 square foot area of mangrove wetland shoreline in perpetuity.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation will be required. The applicant has indicated that the mitigation proposal will be based on the Keys Restoration Fund (KRF). Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement.
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 real estate parcel number is 00090820-000000 and is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suitable Habitat List, dated August 2010, for Monroe County for the Eastern indigo snake, Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Key Largo cotton mouse, and Key Largo wood rat.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) or its designated critical habitat. Since the proposal by the applicant is for in-water construction, potential impacts to the endangered manatee were evaluated using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida (Manatee Key), dated April 2013. Use of the Manatee Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > H > I > J > L > M > N > O > P2 “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect.” This determination partially was based on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The project is located within American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) the designated critical habitat area. According to the 28 October 2014 American Crocodile Key, the property does not support suitable nesting habitat for the crocodile as the shoreline is heavily vegetated and/or hardened. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence #2 may affect, not likely to adversely affect. Therefore, the Corps has reached a “may affect not likely to adversely affect” determination on the American crocodile and its suitable nesting habitat.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) species. A no effect determination was reached on Acorpora sp. and its designated critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox). 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 proposal would impact approximately 10,280 square feet of wetlands and submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marina species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176 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, Maria Bezanilla, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by electronic mail at Maria.I.Bezanilla@usace.army.mil or by telephone at (305) 779-6057.
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.