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SAJ-2020-04989 (SP-JLC)

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS - REGULATORY
Published July 29, 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:
City of St. Pete Beach
c/o Mr. Brett Warner
155 Corey Avenue
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Gulf of Mexico. The project site is located at the existing 1st Avenue Fishing Pier at the Pass-a-Grille southwest beach, at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Gulf Way in St. Pete Beach, Pinellas County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From I-275 South, take exit 17 to merge onto FL-682 W/54th Ave S/Pinellas Bayway toward St. Pete Beach. Turn left onto Gulf Blvd. Continue onto Pass-a-Grille Way. Pass-a-Grille Way turns slightly right and becomes 1st Ave. The pier is at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Gulf Way.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude: 27.683161°
Longitude: -82.739161°

PROJECT PURPOSE:
Basic: Provision of recreational fishing opportunities.
Overall: Repair of the 1st Avenue fishing pier in St. Pete Beach, Florida, to restore recreational fishing opportunities at the existing pier.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The existing pier was originally constructed in 1962 and is currently closed to the public due to deteriorated conditions. The pier consists of a concrete frame and an approximately 40 foot long by 23 foot wide concrete deck supported by a wall of steel H-piles placed end-to-end, surrounding the perimeter and creating a hollow interior. The steel wall is highly corroded and contains holes up to 36 inches high by 32 inches wide, allowing for tidal exchange and passage of marine life. There is macroalgal coverage and marine macroinvertebrates such as sponges, urchins, scallops, and barnacles on the steel piles and rock rubble surrounding the pier and within the vaulted area beneath the pier deck. There is a 180 foot long concrete slab access walkway which extends from the pier deck over a rip rap revetment. At the end of the concrete walkway is a sand walkway adjacent to coastal scrub and dune vegetation. A fine sand beach is present northeast of the pier, beyond the rip rap revetment.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 127 cubic yards of flowable concrete over 0.0197 acre of waters of the U.S. below the high tide line to reinforce the current structure. Fill is only proposed in the area beneath the existing concrete deck, within the perimeter of the existing steel H-pile walls. Turbidity curtains will be deployed prior to initiation of work.

Proposed methods:

1. Install forms along the perimeter or inside of the existing steel H-pile foundation to cover all holes. Ensure that the formwork completely seals the voids in the pier walls.
2. Core drill water release holes through the concrete deck in each area between the concrete beams.
3. Remove a 3 foot square section of the concrete deck for access and placement of the flowable fill to the top surface of the access hole.
4. Place the flowable fill in lifts using a pipe, through which concrete is pumped below the water level (tremie method).
5. For the placement of the final lift, the flowable fill will be poured until the deck release holes are filled. The top six inches of the flowable fill in each of the release holes and access hole will be cleaned out and concrete class NS will be placed in the holes and leveled with the adjacent deck to finish the process.

Flowable concrete fill will be pumped using a pump truck and hoses. To the greatest extent practicable, all construction and equipment staging will occur within the existing concrete walkway and parking lot. If needed, a floating barge may also be used to accomplish the flowable fill installation and access the walls of the pier to install formwork where holes will need to be sealed before it is added. Additional repairs to the pier include the removal and replacement of existing railings, and the replacement of an existing fish cleaning table with a new fish cleaning station and fish waste tube.

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 work is proposed in the shaded footprint of the existing structure. Best management practices and turbidity controls will be used. Work will take place from the uplands to the extent possible. The use of forms to seal any voids in the steel sheet piles will reduce the likelihood of an inadvertent discharge of flowable fill into adjacent waters. The applicant provided survey information which indicates that no seagrasses or corals are present in the vicinity of the project. Information from the applicant indicates that no substantial or protected benthic resources are present. The applicant provided a Living Marine Resources Evacuation Plan to ensure mobile marine life does not become entrapped under the pier in the area proposed to be filled. A qualified wildlife observer will be on-site during construction.

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

Information from the applicant indicates that the project does not propose a loss of special aquatic sites.

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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, and is likely to adversely affect loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), giant manta rays (Manta birostris) and smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). The Corps will request informal concurrence with this determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to the Effect Determination Key for the Manatee, dated April 2013 (Manatee Key). Use of the Manatee Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > N > O > P5 > may affect, not likely to adversely affect. This determination is partially based on the applicant following the standard manatee construction conditions.

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 0.02 acre of tidally influenced sand bottom and rubble beneath the existing pier. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 available GIS data, the existing structure is more than 1,400 feet away from the near bottom edge of Pass-a-Grille Pass federal channel.

SECTION 408: Based on available information, 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 not been verified by Corps personnel.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification is required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection 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 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, Jessica Cordwell, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by email at Jessica.L.Cordwell@usace.army.mil; or by telephone at (813)769-7067.

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.

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.