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.

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SAJ-2016-01102 (SP-TMM)

USACE - Regulatory
Published July 23, 2021
Expiration date: 8/23/2021

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:  United States Marine Corps
                       Attention: Michael Erhardt
                       5880 Channel View Boulevard
                       Jacksonville, Florida 32226

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (open water) associated with the tidal Back River, which flows to the tidal St. Johns River. The project site is located at Blount Island on Pierhead Way, in Section 20, Township 1 South, Range 28 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate (I) 295 Beltway East, exit at Heckscher Boulevard and proceed east about one mile to Dave Rawls Boulevard. Continue southeast 0.5 mile on Dave Rawls Boulevard to Blount Island Boulevard and turn left. Immediately bear right onto Channel View Boulevard and continue east approximately one mile until the road turns to the southwest and becomes Sonar Way. Continue about 0.4 mile until Sonar Way ends and turn left onto Pierhead Way. Continue east on Pierhead Way about 0.6 mile to existing earthen boat ramp on right. Proposed new boat ramp is to be located on the east side of the existing earthen boat ramp.

                                                                          Longitude -81.513922°


Basic: The basic project purpose is vessel access.

Overall: The overall project purpose is construction of a United States Marine Corps (USMC) marine patrol boat ramp at the USMC facility on Blount Island in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

PROJECT BACKGROUND: The Corps previously evaluated several activities proposed by USMC at Blount Island. Those actions included SAJ-05829 for creation of a Danger Zone/Restricted Area for the Back River Marine Corps Terminal Federal Channel and SAJ-2016-01102 for a floating dock and gangway authorized in 2016 and a soil survey in 2021.


a. Soils: One soil type, Arents, nearly level is mapped by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the project limits. Arents is described by the NRCS as a somewhat poorly drained soil with approximately 18 to 36 inches of depth to the water table. Arents is not classified as a hydric soil.

b. Vegetative Communities: Existing land use in the project limits consists of Florida Land Use Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCS) type 8150, Port Facilities and type 5100, Streams and Waterways. The uplands within the project area where the asphalt drive leading from Pierhead Way to the boat ramp are classified as port facilities. Within this portion of the project area, habitat consists of mowed, maintained turfgrass and turfgrass weeds. A few eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) occur on the east side of the project area. The open waters of Back River, where the in-water portion of the ramp would be constructed, are classified as FLUCS type 5100. Back River is the remnant of a natural estuarine system much of which was filled in, dredged, or otherwise modified to develop the existing port facilities between 1970 and 1980. The portion of Back River to be impacted by the construction of the boat ramp is characterized by a silt and scattered gravel substrate with a moderate amount of green algae.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into 0.09-acre of waters of the United States (open, tidal waters and wetlands) to construct a boat ramp. The applicant is seeking a 5-year authorization. Work would include discharge of clean fill material into 0.04-acre of open water and wetlands to install protective rip rap around the boat ramp, dredging of 0.05-acre of open water and wetlands to provide space for the subbase fill for the boat ramp, and dredge of 0.04-acre for space for the rip rap. The boat ramp would be 20-feet-wide by 88-feet-long in a single lane. Steel sheet pile would be installed along the perimeter of the boat ramp area that would be paved with concrete utilizing vibratory hammer. The ramp and sheet pile would be armored by an 8-foot to 12-foot-wide area of rubble rip rap to prevent erosion. Work would include 0.20-cubic-yards of dredge for the subbase and 65-cubic-yards of dredge for the rubble rip rap. Work would also include discharging clean fill material in the form of 72.2-cubic-yards of subbase fill, 54-cubic-yards of concrete for the boat ramp, 65-cubic-yards of bedding stone, and 97-cubic-yards of rip rap for a total of 288.2-cubic-yards of fill. The dredged spoil material would be placed in uplands on site, west of the existing earthen ramp just west of the project site location. The perimeter of the stockpile would be surrounded by silt fence and a layer of straw bales. Once dry, the spoil material would be hauled off site to the upland Trail Ridge Landfill. The proposed work would follow best management practices.

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:

“Because a boat ramp by nature extends into the water, total avoidance of impacts to waters of the United States was not possible. Impacts were minimized by selecting a site with only a minimal fringe of wetland adjacent to the open waters of Back River and limiting the design to a one-lane boat ramp. Erosion would be limited by the construction of an apron of rip rap around the concrete ramp. Erosion and sedimentation would be limited during construction by the installation of silt fence around the upland perimeter of the construction site and the installation of turbidity barrier around the in-water portion of the site.”

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

“Due to the small area of impact (0.09-acre), lack of aquatic resources such as seagrass, oyster beds, or designated critical habitat, and the degree of existing industrial development in the area, no mitigation is proposed at this time.”

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.


a. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but not likely to adversely affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichecus manatus). The project site is within an area accessible to manatees, an area of Manatee Critical Habitat, and the site is located in a Manatee Consultation Area. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A > B > C > G > H > I > J > K > N > O > P1 may affect, not likely to adversely affect as the state permit has been issued, indicating that the Duval County Manatee Protection Plan has been reviewed by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In consideration of the key sequence, additional coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is not required.

b. Woodstork (Mycteria americana): The project site is within the 13-mile United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) North Florida core foraging area for the Pumpkin Hill, Cedar Point Road, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Wood Stork nesting colonies. In consideration of that information, the Corps evaluated potential effects to this species using 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. Use of this key resulted in the sequential determination A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect, as the project would affect less than 0.5 acre of suitable foraging habitat. The FWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.

c. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): Habitat for Red-Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands; and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species; and, consultation with the FWS is not required.

d. Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): Eastern Indigo Snake frequents several habitat types, including pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, high pine, dry prairie, tropical hardwood hammocks, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, coastal dunes, and human-altered habitats. Therefore, this species could utilize the area encompassed by the ESA scope of analysis for this project. Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows are commonly utilized as refuge from winter cold and/or desiccating conditions in xeric habitats; and, hollowed root channels, hollow logs, or burrows of rodents, armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) provide shelter in wetter habitats. Dredge spoil stockpile, material storage and equipment staging area, and the uplands portion of the boat ramp pavement will be located in uplands; however, the environmental consultant did not indicate gopher tortoise burrows have been documented on site. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect, as the applicant would be required to implement the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, August 12, 2013. The FWS has indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for eastern indigo snakes; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.

e. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to affect the shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), and North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). The Corps evaluated the proposed work utilizing 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. For this authorization, the Corps conducted a project specific review to ensure that all of the PDCs were met. In accordance with the project specific review process established in the JAXBO, a PDC checklist, certification that the activity meets the applicable PDCs, and supporting documentation for the proposed activity were emailed to and on July 20, 2021. Therefore, the Jacksonville District satisfied the project specific review requirements stipulated in the JAXBO and satisfied its obligation under the ESA for the above listed species and critical habitats within the NMFS purview. No additional consultation is required.

e. The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report on July 8, 2021. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species.

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 0.09-acre of salt marsh and water column utilized by various life stages of spiny lobster and snapper/grouper species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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: Based on the Florida State Plane coordinates provided by the applicant, the waterward edge of the proposed structure has been confirmed have the appropriate setbacks from the near bottom edge of the Marine Corps Terminal Federal channel and the Jacksonville Harbor Federal Channel by the Corps Navigation Section.

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.

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, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Terri M. Mashour, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028. Please note, due to office staffing precautions associated with CoVid-19, electronic mail correspondence is preferred.

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.