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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Mr. William Freeman
St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners
500 San Sebastian View
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Matanzas River. The project site is located at Douglas Crane Park at 1039 Shore Drive, in Section 31, Township 17 South, Range 30 East, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from Jacksonville take Interstate 95 south to State Road 207 (SR-207). Take SR-207 toward St. Augustine then turn right onto SR-312. Follow SR-312 to US-1 South. Turn right onto US-1 South and then turn left onto Shore Drive. Follow Shore Drive to Douglas Crane Park located at 1039 Shore Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.855175°
Basic: The basic project purpose is access to navigable waters.
Overall: The overall project purpose is navigable access to the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is a public park with 2 existing boat ramps. There is a tributary that leads from the boat ramps to the Matanzas River. The project is bordered by the Matanzas River to the east and by residential development to the north, south, and west. There is no emergent or submerged aquatic vegetation in the proposed work area.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct 2 loading docks adjacent to the existing boat ramps. The proposed dock on the north side of the boat ramps includes a 7-foot by 73-foot dock with a 4-foot by 20-foot gangway and a 6-foot by 24-foot floating dock. The proposed dock on the south side of the existing boat ramps, includes a 7-foot by 63-foot dock with a 4-foot by 20-foot gangway and a 6-foot by 24-foot floating dock. The proposed docks would leave approximately 20 feet of the eastern side of the boating channel unobstructed.
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 avoided and minimized impacts to navigable waters by designing the structures only the size needed to accommodate the vessels that would need to temporarily moor when utilizing the existing boat ramps.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The applicant does not propose compensatory mitigation for the proposed structures.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Since the proposal is for in-water work in waters accessible to West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis), ( Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida – April 2013 (Manatee Key) to evaluate the potential impacts to the manatee. In addition the Corps used The National Marine Fisheries Service Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) – November 20, 2017, to evaluate the potential impacts to the whale, 5 sea turtles, sawfish, and sturgeon. Through use of the Manatee Key and the JAXBO, the Corps determined that the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). The determination of may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the manatee did not require further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The determination of may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the whale, 5 sea turtles, sawfish, and sturgeon, requires additional coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service through the JAXBO programmatic consultation process. The Corps will initiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service through the JAXBO consultation process.
Since the proposed work is located within 2 Core Foraging Areas for the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana), the Corps evaluated the potential effects of the proposed work on the Wood Stork through the use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida – September 2008, the Corps has determined that the proposed project would have no effect on the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana). A determination of no effect does not require consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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 0.03 acre of estuarine habitat utilized by various life stages of species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Matanzas River. 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (904)232-2503.
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.