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 (DA) permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
Port Richey Marina & Rentals LLC
PO Box 39
Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project will affect waters associated with the Pithlachascotee River at the Port Richey Marina, located at 5349 Bridge Street, Section 32, Township 25 South, Range 16 East, Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Tampa, take I‐75 N, take Exit# 275 for FL-56 W, turn left onto FL-56 W/State Road 26 W, continue on FL-54 W for 22 miles, turn right onto US-19 N for 4 miles, turn left onto River Gulf Road, turn left onto Bridge Street and the Port Richey Marina will be on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Commercial marina expansion.
Overall: To rebuild and expand the existing Port Richey Marina for increased boating access and storage.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is currently an operational commercial marina with wet slips and trailer parking with several storage buildings, sheds, and/or garages. The project area does not support submerged aquatic resources and there are no mangroves along the shoreline.
PROPOSED WORK: The Applicant seeks authorization for the expansion of the Port Richey Marina along the Pithlachascotee River at 5349 Bridge Street in Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida. The proposed activities will include:
1) Removal of the existing 780 square foot (SF) wood fixed dock;
2) Construction of a new 2,341 SF fixed dock with 14 wet slips;
3) Construction of a new 2,717 SF floating dock with 16 wet slips;
4) Construct (2) floating transient/staging docks, one will be 783 SF with 3 wet slips and the other will be 1,263 SF with 5 wet slips, for a total of 8 transient/staging slips;
5) Continued use 30 dry land storage/parking spaces.
The total number of permanent wet slips will increase from 27 to 30 wet slips. There will be a total of 38 wet slips (permanent and transient/staging) and 30 dry slips for a grand total of 68 potential boat accessing the river. The total dock area, including fixed and floating structures, will increase from 708 SF to be 7,104 SF. The proposed work will also require the installation of a total of (130) 12‐inch diameter wood pilings via impact hammer methods. There is no dredging proposed as part of this application.
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: There are no protected shoreline or aquatic resources being impacted with the proposed water‐related structures. The facility was permitted for maintenance dredging to ensure minimum water depths of 3-feet or more are present in each slip and will ensure that there will be a minimum of 1-foot clearance between the deepest draft of a vessel and the marine bottom. Water depths were surveyed by a Florida‐licensed Professional Surveyor. The contractor will also be required to install turbidity curtains and follow all best management practices during construction. In addition, the proposed fueling system will be permitted and installed by a licensed company specializing in marina fueling systems.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The Applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The project area does not contain special aquatic sites, will consist of the installation of structures only, and will not result in the permanent loss of waters of the U.S. Therefore, compensatory mitigation should not be 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. The proposed activities are of such limited scope there is little likelihood of impact upon a historic property; therefore, the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect”.
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.
Name of ESA listed species potentially present in the project area which are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS):
• Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) – Consultation Area
• Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) – Consultation Area
• West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) – Consultation Area
• Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
Name of ESA listed species potentially present in the project area which are managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS):
• Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectintata)
• Swimming Sea Turtles: Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eremochelys imbricate), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and/or Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
Designated Critical Habitat (DCH): There is no DCH within or adjacent to the project area.
Effect determination(s), including no effect, for all known species/habitat, and basis for determination(s): The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee, Smalltooth sawfish, and swimming sea turtles. 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 under a separate consultation.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on ESA listed threatened or endangered species below:
Florida Scrub-Jay - 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 located adjacent to marina and it does not support scrub-jay foraging or nesting habitat. All of the work will be in the open water only. 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.
Piping Plover - The project area is located within the Piping Plover Consultation Area, however, the Corps has determined that this project will have no effect because the project is located at a marina, strictly in open water, so there is no beach habitat present to support the Piping Plover no further consultation with USFWS will be required.
Wood Stork - The project is located within Wood Stork core foraging areas but does not support suitable foraging habitat. In accordance with the Corps and USFWS, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office’s Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Key (September 2008), the project keyed out A>B>No Effect since the project does not affect suitable foraging habitat. The Corps has determined that the project will have no effect on the Wood Stork and no further consultation with USFWS will be 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. The proposal would impact approximately 102 SF of utilized by various life stages of for coastal migratory pelagics, red drum, reef fish, 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 Pithlachascotee 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 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 33610-8302 or preferably by email to Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil within 21 days (i.e. November 16, 2020) 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, Katy Damico, in writing by U.S. Mail at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302; by electronic mail at Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil ; or, by telephone at (813) 769-7076 or (813) 467-6603.
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.
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.