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SAJ-2020-01880 (SP-PTR)

Published Aug. 24, 2020
Expiration date: 9/14/2020

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: Quay Ventures, LLC
7807 Baymeadows Road East, Suite 205
Jacksonville, Florida 32256

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States with a man enhanced basin (interior Hyatt Boat Basin) associated with Sarasota Bay. The project contains Waters of the U.S. The project site is located at 601 Quay Commons at Section 19, Township 36 South, & Range 18 East in Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: I-75 to exit 210 Fruitville Road (CR 780) in Sarasota County. Travel west on Fruitville Road for about 6.5 miles. To North Tamiami Trail (US 41). The site is straight ahead.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude 27.339182°
Longitude -82.569136°

PROJECT PURPOSE:
Basic: To construct a private multi-slip dock (pile-supported structure).
Overall: The proposed work includes removal of all of the existing dock structures (pilings) and construction of a private multi-slip dock (pile supported structure) at the same location as previously permitted. The project will provide boat mooring and access to the water for a mixed-use, master-planned waterfront district referred to as The Sarasota Quay. All proposed work is associated with the Interior Hyatt Boat Basin in Sarasota Bay, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Project Site is characterized as an open water area with existing pilings from the previous docking structure. The adjacent lands are previously disturbed for development and/or are currently under construction. Habitats within the project area have been classified a land use code based on the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) (Florida Department of Transportation 2004). The upland habitats within the project area (54.9%) were previously disturbed for development and/or are currently under construction. The open water habitats consist of an estuarine, subtidal, unconsolidated/excavated bottom. The table below provides the land uses classified within the project area, a description of the available habitat for each, total acreage, and percentage of the project area.



PROPOSED WORK: The proposed project (±2.04 acres) represents a portion of the property under the ownership of Quay Ventures, LLC (Applicant) that is under development as part of a 14-acre mixed-use, master-planned waterfront district that will offer residential, retail, hotel rooms, and office space referred to as The Quay Sarasota.

This project specifically includes the removal of all existing dilapidated dock structures (pilings) that supported ±18 wet slips and the reinstallation of a multi-slip floating and fixed dock with 23 proposed wet slips to provide for boat mooring and access to the water. The proposed dock will consist of 5,266 sf of floating dock, 52.5 sf of fixed dock with 11 finger piers accommodating 23 slips.

The project was previously permitted by the USACE in 1985 and constructed in this location. The associated development was demolished in 2006 and overwater decking was removed from the dock in 2012 due to safety and health concerns. Pilings for the dock structures remain in place.

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: “No dredging or filling activities are proposed with the project. The Applicant will adhere to the following conditions to avoid or minimize impacts to aquatic resources as a result of the project: 1) Construction of the dock will be completed using floating steel barges during daylight hours; 2) No fueling facilities, sewage pump out, or live-a boards are proposed; 3) Port-o-let(s) will be provided in an approved area and kept in clean condition; 4) Work area will be cleaned each day with all debris placed in appropriate waste receptacles; 5) Existing dock piles or portions of dock shall be removed before installation; 6) Special measures will be taken by the Applicant to prevent bilge pumpage or effluent, chemicals, fuels, oils, greases, and bituminous from entering the water; and 7) Floating turbidity barriers will be deployed during all in-water construction activities. The project as designed, located, and operated will not impede public use of waterways and is not considered to be contrary to the public interest.

All project-related activities associated with The Quay Sarasota will adhere to the applicable Project Design Criteria (PDCs) found in the Authorization of Minor In-Water Activities throughout the Geographic Area of Jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, including Florida and the U.S. Caribbean issued by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on November 20, 2017 (JAXBO). Specifically, in order to avoid or minimize adverse effects to marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and ensure compliance with agency obligations under Section 7(a)(2), the Applicant will adhere to JAXBO PDCs for: 1) In-Water Activities, 2) In-Water Noise from Pile and Sheet Pile Installation, 3) Activity #2 – Pile Supported Structures and Anchored Buoys, and 4) Docks or Other Minor Structures.”

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: This activity is regulated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC §403) and compensatory mitigation is not required.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected.

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: Use of the 2013 Manatee Key – A>B>C>G>H>J>K resulted in a determination “May affect” on the endangered West Indian Manatee or their designated critical habitat and further consultation with the Service is necessary for a “May affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination.

West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) - The project is listed within the Manatee Consultation area. The project area also falls within a designated FWC Protection Zone (i.e., Idle Speed Year-Round). The project was previously permitted by the USACE in 1985 and constructed in this location.

The proposed project has been designed to be consistent with the Sarasota County state-approved Manatee Protection Plan (MMP) adopted on September 24, 2003 (see attached figure). The standard manatee conditions for in-water activities including installation and maintenance of permanent manatee educations signage will be required. Additional conditions for in-water activities in manatee habitat will be required as found in Appendix C of the USFWS Biological Opinion (BO) – March 2011.

Impacts to SAV are not expected and dredging is not proposed. If updated field assessments result in identification of SAV within the project area, the project will follow the dock construction guidelines in Florida for docks and other minor structures constructed in or over SAV, marsh, or mangrove habitat. Project Design Criteria (PDC’s) for in-water activities under JAXBO authorization for marine mammals and sea turtles will also be required are reasonably expected to benefit manatees. For these reasons, The Corps has determined the project is “Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA) the manatee. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife review the information with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

The following species have been reviewed and the Corps has made a “No Effect” determination and no further consultation is required:

Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) - All proposed work is water dependent and located in open water. No further consultation is required.

Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus) - The project is located adjacent to the Florida Bonneted Bat Consultation Area - 2019. There are no impacts to Bonneted Bat habitat and all proposed work is water dependent and located in open water. No further consultation is required.

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) - The project is located within the Piping Plover consultation area. Piping Plover breed along ocean shores in the Northeast and along lakeshores and alkali wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes. They use wide, flat, open, sandy beaches with very little grass or other vegetation. Nesting territories often include small creeks or wetlands. In the winter they use coastal beaches, sand flats, and mud flats. The project location does not support foraging or nesting habitat and any sightings at the project site would be incidental. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will have no effect on the Piping Plover and no further consultation will be required with USFWS.

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) - The project is located within the Florida scrub-jay consultation area. There is no designated critical habitat for the scrub jay listed in the federal register (52 FR 20715-20719). Persistent breeding populations of Florida scrub-jays exist only where there are scrub oaks in sufficient quantity to provide an ample winter acorn supply, cover from predators, and nest sites during the spring. The project site is located in all open water and it does not support scrub-jay foraging or nesting habitat and any scrub-jay sightings at the project site would be incidental. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will have no effect on Florida scrub-Jay and no further consultation will be required with USFWS.

Wood Stork - (Mycteria Americana) is listed as Endangered by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service (FWS) and FWC. This species nests colonially in a variety of inundated forested wetlands and forages mainly in shallow water in freshwater marshes, swamps, ponds, flooded pastures and ditches.

The project site is located within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of wood stork colonies in Sarasota County. Using the South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Key for the Wood Stork (May 18, 2010), yielded the following progression: A (Project does not impact suitable foraging habitat (SFH).) > No Effect. Review of the available habitat within the project area does not constitute suitable foraging habitat (SFH) and the project will have no effect on the species Based on the progression through the Key no further consultation is required.

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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Sarasota Bay area and Gulf of Mexico. 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.

The Corps reviewed the project elements under the Programmatic Consultation and subsequent Biological Opinion for Authorization of Minor In-Water Activities throughout the Geographic Area of Jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, including Florida and the U.S. Caribbean issued by NMFS November 20, 2017 (JAXBO). JAXBO analyzes impacts from several in-water activities including pile-supported structures and anchored buoys (e.g., installation, repair, and removal of structures).

The Corps will require all project-related activities associated with the project adhere to the applicable Project Design Criteria (PDCs) of JAXBO. Specifically, in order to avoid or minimize adverse effects to ESA-listed marine species and ensure compliance with obligations under Section 7(a)(2), the project will adhere to JAXBO PDCs for: 1) In-Water Activities, 2) In-Water Noise from Pile and Sheet Pile Installation, 3) Activity #2 –Pile Supported Structures and Anchored Buoys and 4) Docks or Other Minor Structures.

General Project Design Criteria for In-Water Activities - The project is not proposed in areas of mangroves, seagrasses, corals, or hard bottom habitat. The project area was evaluated and no species-specific Restriction or Exclusion Zones analyzed in JAXBO occur within or near the project area. Furthermore, designated critical habitats for those species analyzed in JAXBO do not occur within the project area. The Corps will require the following conditions:

• Educational training of all personnel and observation of in-water activities for presence of species protected under the ESA and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA);

• Reporting of interactions with protected species;

• Vessel traffic and construction equipment avoidance of interactions with protected species and operation in accordance with designated protection measures;

• Turbidity control measures during construction;

• Entanglement prevention by securing turbidity barriers and other in-water equipment.

Project Design Criteria for In-Water Noise from Pile and Sheet Pile Installation - Concrete (24” or less) and wood piles (14” or less) will be installed via impact hammer and concrete piles are expected to be installed at a rate of no more than five (5) per day. This work will be required to be completed during daylight hours and personnel will be responsible for observation of in-water activities to detect and avoid any listed species.

Project Design Criteria Specific to Activity #2 – Pile-supported Structures and Anchored Buoys - Docks for multi-family residential properties and marinas are limited to no more than 50 total slips. The project proposes 23 wet slips. The project will be required to use the “Save the Sea Turtle, Sawfish, Dolphin” signage. Microfilament recycling bins will be provided to reduce the likelihood of entanglement and ingestion of marine debris. No municipal or commercial fishing piers are included in the project design. Project construction will take place from floating steel barges.

Project Design Criteria for Docks or Other Minor Structures - The project is located outside of the range and designated critical habitat for Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii). Field assessments for protected species and benthic resources (SAV and other aquatic resources) were conducted on June 20, 2017 and updated August 10, 2020. The results for both surveys indicated that a continuous seagrass bed of native shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) was observed outside the project area and extended to the west (see attached survey plan).

According to the most recent Tampa Bay Estuary Program and South West Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) information there are seagrasses located similarly to the survey results but not near or within the project location.

Effect Determination Based on the geographic location of the project, the analysis for project-related activities in JAXBO, and compliance with JAXBO criteria, the project is not expected to adversely affect protected species or critical habitats regulated by the NMFS.

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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 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, Peter Romano, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at peter.t.romano@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (813)769-7072.

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.