Public Notice Notifications

The Jacksonville District currently has five categories of public notice notification mailing lists. If you wish to receive email notifications when new public notices are added to this page, please send a request to Regulatory Webmaster.  Each category is described below. Be sure to specify which list(s) you want to be included on.

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).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

Special Issues - These are public notices that involve the Regulatory program but which are generally not limited to one particular geographic area. These would include public notices for the establishment or modification of Restricted Areas/Danger Zones, re-issuance of General Permits or Nationwide Permits, changes to guidance and policies, etc.

Administrative Penalty - These public notices provide information associated with Administrative Penalties. An Administrative Penalty can be assessed to address violations associated with issued Department of the Army permits.

SAJ-2021-00122 (SP-RLT)

USACE - REGULATORY
Published March 29, 2021
Expiration date: 4/25/2021

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: Albert (Al) Wynn III
                      Associate Director
                      Wakulla Environmental Institute (WEI)
                      Tallahassee Community College (TCC)
                      170 Preservation Way
                      Crawfordville, FL 32327

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Apalachee Bay. The project is located in the Apalachee Bay and described more specifically as Oyster Bay, in Wakulla County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Panama City travel north on US 231 approximately 23 miles and turn right onto SR 20 and go approximately 49.4 miles then continue/turn onto SR 267 South. Travel approximately 19 miles and turn right onto US 319 South. Go approximately 11.4 miles and turn right on US 98 West. Go approximately 3.3 miles and turn left onto Skipper Bay Road. Go approximately 3 miles to boat landing. Launch out and head east along the shoreline in Oyster Bay to the project location.

APPROXIMATE LAT/LONG CORNER COORDINATES OF 4 ACRE PROJECT AREA:

Northwest Corner:
Lat. 30.06222°, Long. -84.34694°

Northeast Corner:
Lat. 30.06416°, Long. -84.34722°

Southwest Corner:
Lat. 30.06231°, Long. -84.34611°

Southeast Corner:
Lat. 30.06416°, Long. -84.34639°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is aquaculture.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to accelerate the re-establishment of oyster reefs, oyster seed sources and improve fishery within the estuarine habitat of Oyster and Apalachee Bays, Wakulla County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The open water system consists of a shallow estuarine waters (saltwater) system. There is no onsite submerged aquatic vegetation. onsite vegetation consists of unvegetated open water bottom. The proposed project would be placed in an area with no seagrass beds. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of open water and estuarine subtidal oyster bed reefs. The mean low tide water level is 2-feet and the mean high tide water level is 5-feet within the 4 acre project area.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact approximately 4 acres of open surface water (unvegetated bay bottom) through deployment of 1,000 – 400 pound TCC Oyster Reef Domes on a 4 acre submerged land lease in the Apalachee Bay to analyze the effect the domes would have in re-establishing natural oyster reefs and improving water quality. The domes would be deployed using a specially designed Wakulla Oyster Tunnel Boat with a 16-inch draft and a crane rated at ½-ton to lower and place the domes into the water column. The height of the domes would be 19-inches which is below the mean low tide water level of 2-feet.

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 project would be placed in an area with no grass beds and no impacts to the nearest wetlands.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:

There would be no functional loss to the aquatic environment, however, the proposed project would create a permanent oyster reef where none currently exist. The project is expected to clean the water column to the point where seagrasses would be able to propagate into areas where they weren’t previously observed.

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: Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinate), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), and Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couper).

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Gulf sturgeon, Smalltooth sawfish, Swimming sea turtles (Green, Kemp’s ridley, Loggerhead), or it’s designated critical habitat. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

West Indian Manatee: Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > N > O > P > “may affect, not likely to adversely affect.” This determination is based on the applicant following the standard manatee construction precautions for the proposed activity. By letter dated 25 April 2013, the FWS stated that for proposed in-water activities analyzed with the April 2013 version of this key in which the Corps reaches a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination with respect to the manatee and/or its designated critical habitat, the FWS hereby concurs with the Corps determination in accordance with 50 CFR 402.14(b)1 and no further consultation with the FWS is required.

The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couper) or designated critical habitat.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker: The woodpecker lives and forage in mature pine forests, specifically those with longleaf pines averaging over 80 to 120 years old and loblolly pines averaging 70 to 100 years old. This project is located solely in open water Therefore, the Corps has determined the proposed project will have “no effect” on this species.

Eastern Indigo snake: The potential impacts to the endangered Eastern Indigo snake were evaluated using The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013. Use of the Eastern Indigo snake key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > “not effect” the Eastern Indigo snake. This is due to the project is located solely in open water.

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 4 acres of shallow estuarine waters utilized by various life stages of coastal finfish and shellfish species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Apalachee Bay. 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.

NAVIGATION: The proposed project is 3.44 miles from the waterward edge of the proposed 4 acre oyster reef to the nearest federal channel which is the Panacea Federal Navigation Channel.

SECTION 408: The applicant will not require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, would not alter, occupy, or use a Corps Civil Works project.

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 Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Blvd, Suite 411 Panama City Beach, FL 32407 within 30 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, Randy Turner, in writing at Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Blvd, Suite 411 Panama City, FL 32407; by electronic mail at Randy.L.Turner@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (850) 763-0717 ext. 3.

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.