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: Mark Schlueter
Eglin Air Force Base
501 Deleon Street, Suite 100
Eglin AFB, Florida 32542
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Choctawhatchee Bay. The project site is located along the shoreline of Choctawhatchee Bay, east of Handcock Camp Road, Walton County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Freeport, travel west on State Road 20 for approximately 11 miles to Handcock Camp Road. Turn south (left) on Handcock Camp Road and travel approximately 0.50 mile. The project site is located along the shoreline.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.473683°
Basic: Living Shoreline.
Overall: Construct a living shoreline in Choctawhatchee Bay for habitat restoration and shoreline stabilization.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is located in Choctawhatchee Bay, adjacent to the shoreline, Walton County, Florida. The habitat within the proposed project site contains medium to coarse grained sands. There is no submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV’s) located within the project site.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct approximately 1,200 linear feet of living shoreline along an eroding shoreline of Choctawhatchee Bay. The living shoreline would consist of 48 oyster reef breakwaters, measuring 20 feet long by 5 feet wide. The inner toe of the breakwaters would be located 10 feet from the mean high water line (MHWL) and would have a 5-foot gap between each breakwater. Spartina alterniflora would be planted on one-foot centers landward of the breakwaters.
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 selected a site that is devoid of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV’s) and hard bottom formations.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
No compensatory mitigation is proposed.
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 is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) or its designated critical habitat and the following species of swimming sea turtles: green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife and 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 unvegetated bottom in Choctawhatchee Bay which is contiguous with the Gulf of Mexico and may be utilized by various life stages of red drum, reef fish, coastal migratory pelagic and shrimp. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the 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.
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 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, Steve Andrews Jr., in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at 850-433-8160; or, by telephone at 850-439-0707.
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.