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), and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) of 1972, as described below:
APPLICANT: Mr. Romel Pedraza
Puerto Rico Ports Authority
P.O. Box 362829
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located at Pier 1, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the disposal site is at the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 - San Juan Harbor Puerto Rico Ocean Dredged Material disposal site (SJU ODMDS).
Directions to the site are as follows: Luis Muñoz Rivera Expressway turn left (going west) on Fernández Juncos Avenue and keep all the way to the end and turn right on Paseo Concepción de Gracia and turn left after Cataño – San Juan Ferry’s pier and building.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
SJU ODMDS COORDINATES:
18⁰30.0466’ N, -66⁰09.4933’ W
18⁰30.0466’ N, -66⁰08.4599’ W
18⁰31.0465’ N, -66⁰08.4599’ W
18⁰31.0465’ N, -66⁰09.4933’ W
Overall: To provide maintenance dredging and safe operation for cruise-ships at the berthing areas of pier number 1.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The San Juan Bay is an active port area. Pier 1 is used by cruise ships. The last permit issued for maintenance dredging of pier 1 and transportation of dredged material for ocean disposal was on December 9, 2011. The actual depths adjacent to pier number 1 fluctuate from approximately -28 feet to -40 feet, and the small area east of pier 1 from -18 feet to -28 feet. The Environmental Sensitivity Index Map describes the existing shoreline habitat as sheltered, solid man-made structures. Based on the Caribbean Benthic Habitat Maps of the Nature Conservancy-Caribbean, no benthic habitats (i.e. sea grasses, corals) are present at the proposed site as this site has been dredged in the past.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to perform maintenance dredging of approximately 38,592 cubic yards of sediments in an area of approximately 269,415 square feet of navigable waters of the United States at the docking and berthing areas of pier no. 1. The proposed construction method would be the construction methodology considered in the 2020 South Atlantic Regional Biological Opinion (SARBO dated March 27, 2020) for dredging and material placement activities such as conventional methods: mechanical, (i.e. a clamshell or backhoe dredge) or hydraulic method (i.e. hopper dredge). In addition, barges or scows, crew boats, split-hull hopper dredge, and survey vessels would be used to perform the proposed works. The proposed dredging depth is -35 feet and -2 feet allowable overdepth below mean low low water (MLLW), and for the small area east of pier 1 the proposed dredging depth is -25 feet. The dredged material will be transported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated San Juan Harbor ODMDS for disposal.
BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL TESTING: The results of the physical, chemical and toxicological analyses of the samples collected of the material to be dredged are included on the Final MPRSA Section 103 Sediment Characterization Testing and Analysis PRPA Berthing Areas Piers 1-4 and Piers 11-14, Puerto Nuevo Harbor Piers A-D and Piers E-O, San Juan Harbor, Puerto Rico dated April 2021. Sediments collected from pier 1 are composed primarily of silt and clay (86.5%) with 12.4% sand and 1.1% gravel. Copies of this report documenting the results of these analyses are available upon request. EPA Region 2 will evaluate the results and assess the suitability of the dredged sediments from the areas of Pier 1 for the offshore disposal at the San Juan Harbor ODMDS.
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), the Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris), the Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), and the Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus). No listed corals neither designated critical habitat are present at the project site. For the manatee, the Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. For the remaining species mentioned above that are under the National Marine Fisheries Service’s purview, the Corps will use the 2020 South Atlantic Regional Biological Opinion for Dredging and Material Placement Activities (2020 SARBO).
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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Caribbean. 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.
SECTION 408: The applicant will require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, would 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: A Coastal Zone Consistency Certification with the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program is required from the Puerto Rico Planning Board.
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
Fund. Angel Ramos Annex BLDG., Suite 202, 383 F.D. Roosevelt Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918 or at firstname.lastname@example.org 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, Carmen G. Román, in writing at the Antilles Permits Section, Fund. Angel Ramos Annex BLDG., Suite 202, 383 F.D. Roosevelt Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918; by electronic mail at email@example.com; or by telephone at (787)729-6637.
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 the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972.
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.