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: Florida Department of Transportation, District 4
Attn: Wilord Metellus
3400 West Commercial Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The project site is located at the PGA Boulevard Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Starting at the Interstate 95 and PGA Blvd. Interchange in Palm Beach Gardens, travel east on SR 786 / PGA Blvd. approximately 2.3 miles to arrive at the project location.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26. 844613°
Basic: Scour Countermeasure protection
Overall: To install channel scour countermeasures protection at the PGA BLVD Bridge (930106 & 930349) over the ICWW in Palm Beach County. (FPN-441470-1-52-01)
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Scour Countermeasure protection is needed to prevent undermining of the bascule bridge and fender system and to ensure safety to the bridge traffic and boating public.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to install a four-inch thick articulated concrete block (ACB) system placed on the existing ICWW channel bottom. The continuous blanket matrix will provide scour protection across the navigation channel and along the interior pile groups and bascule piers. In addition, a new four-inch HDPE submarine duct system will be installed by means of an excavated trench on the north side of the westbound bridge.
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:
All ACB mats will be placed over non-vegetated sand bottoms. The overall mat limits and contours were designed to avoid and provide setback from seagrass areas present at the NE, SE, and SW quadrants of the PGA Boulevard bridges. The design avoids any temporary or permanent impacts to shoreline mangroves at the NE and SE bridge quadrants. Note: A benthic survey was completed in 2018 to determine the presence or absence of sea grasses and mangroves within the project limits. The survey was used to avoid impacts to these resources by the placement of the ACB scour protection system.
The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
All permanent and temporary impacts to mangrove and sea grasses have been avoided and for this reason mitigation is not proposed.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
Since no submerged resources or mangrove habitat will be impacted, and since the affected area consists only of unvegetated sandy bottom, no mitigation is proposed.
The Corps has determined the permit area has been so extensively modified there is little likelihood of impact upon a historic property; therefore, the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect”.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA) Small tooth sawfish, Loggerhead sea turtle, Green sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle. The National Marine Fisheries Service provided concurrence with these determinations on 29 May 2020.
MANLAA determinations were also reached for the West Indian Manatee and the Eastern Indigo Snake by means of the Programmatic keys for these species.
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 1.16 acres of unvegetated, unconsolidated bottom utilized by various life stages of EFH species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Intracoastal Waterway. 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 has been authorized by the South Florida Water Management District.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the Project Manager, Mark Tamblyn through the Panama City Permits Section, 4400 PGA BLVD. Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens 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, Mark M. Tamblyn in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 4400 PGA BLVD. Suite 500 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by telephone at (561)-472-3519.
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.