Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

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SAJ-2019-03970 (SP-PRJ)

Published Feb. 19, 2021
Expiration date: 3/12/2021

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:  David Pepper
                       Flagship Marine Properties, LLC
                       P.O. Box 351209
                       Jacksonville, Florida 32235

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located at 327 South Highway 17, Section 39, Township 10 South, Range 27 East, East Palatka, Putnam County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from Jacksonville take Interstate 95 south to State Road 207. Turn west onto State Road 207 toward Palatka. Follow State Road 207 to United States Highway 17. Turn south onto United States Highway 17 and follow to the project site located on the west side of United States Highway 17 at 327 South United States Highway 17.

                                                                          Longitude - 81.590226°


Basic: The basic project purpose is navigation.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a commercial dry storage facility to serve the East Palatka area.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located along United States Highway 17 South along the St. Johns River in East Palatka. The 4-acre parcel is bordered by United States Highway 17 on the east, a motel to the south, commercial business to the north, and the St. Johns River to the west. The parcel is currently undeveloped with a few mobile homes on the parcel. The parcel contains 3.63 acres of upland and 0.37 acre of freshwater non-forested shrub wetland. The wetlands are located along the water’s edge with a small 0.01-acre wetland located on the northern side of the parcel.
The wetlands consist of swamp tupelo, swamp ash, sabal palmetto, bald cypress, sweetgum, Virginia sweetspire, elderberry, button bush, and lizard’s tail. The upland portion of the parcel contains pine trees, sweetgum, elm trees, camphor tree, saw palmetto, and blackberry. There is no submerged aquatic vegetation located on the project site. The project site currently does not include shoreline stabilization or docks.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact waters of the United States in association with the construction of a dry storage facility that would accommodate up to 263 motorized vessels and a dock that could accommodate up to 25 motorized vessels. The proposed impacts would occur from the construction of the parking lot, stormwater pond, outfall pipe, boat launch with a concrete ramp, in-water retaining walls, and 3 docks.

The proposed parking lot includes fill impacts to 0.01 acre of freshwater non-forested shrub wetland.

The proposed boat launch includes fill impacts to 0.02 acre of freshwater non-forested shrub wetland and open water in association with the construction of a concrete slab to be located at the slope of the boat launch area. The proposed boat launch also includes the dredge of 500 cubic yards of material to a depth of -5.0 NAVD to create a 40-foot by 130-foot boat launch area. The material would be dredged with a backhoe and the spoil would be temporarily placed in an on-site upland containment area to dewater. After the dredge material is dewatered, it would be used for the construction of the stormwater pond. The applicant proposes to install two 130-foot retaining walls in open water and along the sides of the boat launch. The retaining walls would be composed of vinyl and steel.

The proposed stormwater pond includes fill impacts to 0.22 acre of freshwater non-forested shrub wetland in association with the construction the pond, the installation of an outfall pipe, and the placement of rip rap at the base of the stormwater pond.

The proposed docks include the construction of a 4-foot by 125-foot floating dock to be located inside the boat launch area. The proposed docks also include the construction of an 8-foot by 120-foot fixed dock with a 4-foot by 30-foot gangway leading to an 8-foot by 250-foot floating dock which would be located along the outside of the boat launch area.

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 is proposing to avoid wetland impacts on the site wherever possible. Any wetland impacts that can not be avoided to achieve the project needs will be minimized to the greatest extent practicable. If wetland impacts are necessary, they will be compensated for through the purchase of offsite mitigation credits at a mitigation bank in the same basin.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

Wetland impacts will be compensated for through the purchase of offsite mitigation credits at a mitigation bank in the same basin.

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.


The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), 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), Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), and Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) or its designated critical habitat.

Since the proposal is for in-water work, the Corps evaluated the potential impacts to the West Indian Manatee using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida – April 2013 (Key). Use of the Key resulted in the sequence A > B > May affect, with further consultation with the FWS required.

Since the proposal is for in-water work the Corps evaluated the proposed work utilizing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) dated 20 November 2017. The JAXBO analyzes the effects from 10 categories of minor in-water activities occurring in Florida and the U.S. Caribbean on sea turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, Kemp's ridley, hawksbill, and green); smalltooth sawfish; Nassau grouper; scalloped hammerhead shark, Johnson's seagrass; sturgeon (Gulf, shortnose, and Atlantic); corals (elkhorn, staghorn, boulder star, mountainous star, lobed star, rough cactus, and pillar); whales (North Atlantic right whale, sei, blue, fin, and sperm); and designated critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass; smalltooth sawfish; sturgeon (Gulf and Atlantic); sea turtles (green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead); North Atlantic right whale; and elkhorn and staghorn corals in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Based on past permitting practices of the Corps and review of consultations with similar in-water construction activities, Project Design Criteria (PDCs) were identified in the JAXBO that typically have been applied to permitted in-water construction activities. These PDCs ensure effects of in-water construction activities are minimal in nature and do not result in adverse effects to listed species or to essential features of Designated Critical Habitat (CH). For this verification, the Corps conducted a project specific review and determined that the PDCs were not met resulting in an effect determination of May affect. Since the proposed work includes in-water retaining walls which could restrict or act as a barrier to the endangered species, further consultation with the NMFS is required in accordance with 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 approximately 0.20 acres of tidal riverine unconsolidated bottom utilized by various life stages of aquatic species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns 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 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at 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.