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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Published April 26, 2021
Expiration date: 5/26/2021
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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

APPLICANT: Cowgirl Bebop, LLLP, c/o Alex Golubitsky

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Pillsbury Sound on submerged lands which belong to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The project site is located between Mingo Cay and Grass Cay.

Directions to the site are as follows: The site is only accessible by boat.

Latitude: 18.35868°
Longitude: -64.8250°


Basic: Off-shore moorage of a floating restaurant and bar.

Overall: Off-shore moorage of a barge containing a restaurant and bar in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The facility would provide a water-based destination for boaters to eat and drink.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located approximately 500 feet from Mingo Cay and Grass Cay on the northern edge of Pillsbury Sound. Mingo Cay is a privately held, undeveloped cay and Grass Cay is property of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is under the management of the Division of Fish and Wildlife as a wildlife sanctuary. The seafloor is sandy at the proposed project location and no emergent rock or reef is present in the immediate project area. Pillsbury Sound is used for fishing, snorkeling, diving, and boating.

The area immediately surrounding the project site primarily consists of unconsolidated sand with widely scattered pieces of coral rubble. It is minimally colonized by algal species and Halophila stipulacea, a nonnative invasive seagrass. There is sparse shoal grass (Halodule wrightii); mooring anchors will not be placed near the shoal grass. There are a few scattered pieces of coral rubble colonized by fire coral, hydroids, and alga species. There are hard corals located east and west; these areas will be avoided by the barge and the anchors. Habitats within 1.4 miles of the project boundaries include corals, seagrasses, hard rock bottom, rock shore, sand beach, and cobble beach. There are often strong currents within Pillsbury Sound, however this specific area is largely protected from the north. The area has excellent water quality and receives good circulation from currents running through the scattered islands and cays.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to install an offshore floating bar and restaurant in Pillsbury Sound. The barge housing the bar and restaurant would be 120-feet (ft) long x 40-ft wide and have a draft of five ft. There would be 4-ft wide grated decks on the port and starboard sides of the barge and a 7-ft wide grated deck on the aft. The total square footage of the decks is 1,296 square feet. The bar/restaurant would be a 2-story open frame steel structure with an enclosed office, bar, and restaurant. The barge would be anchored with two 3-helix anchor bridle systems with floated chains, so they do not scour the seafloor. A maximum of eight helix anchors with floated lines and 30-inch diameter buoys would be installed adjacent to the barge for moorage of vessels up to 60 ft long. All anchors will be installed by divers in sandy substrate devoid of rocks, coral, and seagrass. The barge bar/restaurant will be constructed offsite and will be towed by the support vessel to the site after the anchors have been placed by divers. The barge would be positioned over a slope; anchors would be placed at depths ranging from 14 ft to 25 ft. The barge would have two electric 300 horsepower motors so that it may move on its own volition, but will primarily remain anchored in place while in operation.

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 barge structure will be constructed offsite and towed to the mooring location. It will be moored offshore and will not adjoin any beach or shoreline area. Anchoring of the moorings will be in uncolonized sand. Visiting boats will be able to tie-up to the barge or use a mooring buoy, thus avoiding impacts to the benthic habitat from individual vessel anchors. A small dinghy will be available to shuttle customers from their moored vessels to the barge.

A dedicated supply vessel will bring supplies to the barge and provide pump-out and refuse collection services. The barge will have a 2,000-gallon black water and a 2,000-gallon grey water tank to collect all wastewater. Metal tanks with plastic liners will be fabricated into the hull of the vessel. Each tank will have a level alarm which will notify the workers on the barge when it is 50% full so that arrangements can be made for the service vessel to pump it out. The waste will then be carried to a discharge location to be emptied into the public sewerage system. Solid waste from the barge will be collected on a daily basis by the support vessel and disposed of at the Bovoni landfill. The bar and restaurant will utilize reusable plates, glasses, and utensils to minimize waste. The business will not provide plastic straws; biodegradable straws may be provided upon request. The business will not serve glass bottles and will rely on beer served from kegs in reusable plastic-ware to the greatest extent possible. Any single use drink containers will be aluminum and will be transferred to St. Thomas for recycling.

The barge will use solar power generation to the greatest extent possible. It will only use propane for cooking and will have a propane backup generator and propane engines so there is no potential for hydrocarbon leaks from the vessel. The barge will have oil spill response materials in the event a docked vessel experiences a leak or release.

A hurricane preparedness plan has been developed and will be implemented. The barge will be removed from the water from July 15 through October 15, when hurricanes are most likely in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the event of a hurricane threat outside of this window, from October 16 through July 14, the barge will either be removed from the water or secured in a sheltered area. The buoys, lines, and tackle for the moorings will be removed concurrently with the barge and will be reset at the time the barge is placed back in service when the barge returns to its location.

Hours of operation for the bar and restaurant will between 10am and sunset. Staff will arrive at 9am and the kitchen will close at sunset. All guests will be required to leave one hour after sunset and the staff would leave by approximately 8pm.

The vessel will comply with Coast Guard requirements to have typical navigational lighting; lighting will indicate the vessel is on anchor and not underway. All lighting will be turtle friendly and dark sky lighting. The vessel will have security lights and cameras that are motion activated. The intent is not to have the vessel lit at night beyond what is required for safety.

A signage plan has been developed and will be implemented. Signs will be prominently displayed on the barge, so all guests are fully aware of safety precautions as well as protective measures for species and the environment surrounding the barge. To encourage a safe recreational environment, the applicant will prohibit jumping off the vessel into the water and will discourage swimming around the barge. In addition, Cowgirl Bebop, LLLP will discourage and advise clients against going ashore on Mingo Cay or Grass Cay.

The project proponent will implement a Seafloor Monitoring and Debris Removal plan to ensure any trash, clothing articles, or other materials that are dropped or inadvertently blown away are removed on a weekly basis and disposed at an approved upland facility.

The capacity of the facility will be determined by the U.S. Coast Guard when the vessel is commissioned. Please note, the Corps does not typically regulate vessels. However, the barge is being designed to accommodate a floating bar and restaurant; its primary function is not for navigation. In addition, it will be moored for multiple months in same location without moving, serving more as a structure than a vessel. Therefore, the Corps has determined a permit in accordance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act is warranted.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has not proposed compensatory mitigation since no special aquatic sites, including seagrasses or coral reefs, will be directly impacted. The proposed location was selected since the barge and moorings are over benthic habitat comprised primarily of sand. In addition, conservation measures and best management practices described in the “Avoidance and Minimization” section above and in the “Endangered Species” section below will be implemented.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The project involves the installation of 14 screw anchors into the sand bottom where no debris or wreckage was noted. The permit area includes the area containing the barge anchoring system and the eight additional moorings. There are no historic sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places within the vicinity of the project site. The Corps has determined the activity is of such limited scope there is little likelihood of impact upon a historic property; therefore, the Corps has determined the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect” to historic properties.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the following species: West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). The project avoids all listed corals and designated critical habitat. Therefore, the project will have no effect on corals or their critical habitat. The Corps has determined the proposed action will have no effect on the giant manta ray (Manta birostris), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphymaother lewini), oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), and the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) due to the nature of the proposed action, existing habitat at the project site, and for the sharks and giant manta ray, the rarity of occurrences in nearshore areas of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In separate letters, the Corps will request informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and concurrence with our effect determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. To ensure effects of the project are not likely to adversely affect listed species, the authorized work will comply with the NMFS’s Vessel Strike and Avoidance Measures and Reporting for Mariners, revised February 7, 2008, the NMFS’s Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, dated March 23, 2006, and all applicable conservation measures in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s document titled Technical Assistance to Evaluate Effects on Antillean Manatees dated January 2012.

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. The Corps determined the proposed action may adversely affect EFH. However, because of the avoidance and minimization measures and best management practices the Corps has determined the proposed project will not cause substantial adverse effects to EFH for corals, queen conch, reef fish, spiny lobster, swordfish, blue marlin, longbill spearfish, sailfish, white marlin, blacktip shark, Caribbean reef shark, lemon shark, nurse shark, oceanic whitetip shark, and tiger shark. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for conservation recommendations is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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.

COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Antilles Permits Section at Fund. Ángel Ramos, Annex Building, Ste. 202, Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt #383, San Juan, 00918, within 30 days from the date of this notice. Alternatively, comments may be emailed to

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 waters. This is based on an analysis of the applicant's avoidance and minimization efforts for the project.

QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Ms. Karen Urelius, in the Antilles Permits Section by electronic mail at or by telephone at (787) 370-8359.

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, 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. 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; 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: Section 307(c) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)), establishes that proposed activities requiring a federal permit or license which are located within the coastal zone, or which could affect the coastal zone uses or resources, of a state or a territory of the U.S. must be consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management Program of that state or territory. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), Division of Coastal Zone Management is responsible for ensuring consistency with the enforceable policies of the Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program (VICZMP). The DPNR determined that the proposed action was consistent with the VICZMP (CZT-48-19(W)).

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.