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: City of Jacksonville
Attn: Mr. Robert Scott
214 North Hogan Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated within the St. Johns River. The project site is located along the St. Johns river front near 800 Prudential Drive in Section 44, Township 2 South, Range 26 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Southbound Interstate-95 take Exit 350B while on the Fuller Warren Bridge. Turn left onto Palm Avenue. Proceed until the intersection of Prudential Drive and turn left. The project is between the river front and the hospital.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.31608°
Basic: The basic project purpose is access to navigable waterways.
Overall: The overall project purpose is access to navigable waterways for an existing local water taxi service and scenic viewing/recreation along the Southside Riverwalk.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is characterized by generalized land use/cover types per the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System. The project would occur above the St. Johns River and is classified as Streams and Waterways (FLUCFCS code 510). The surrounding land-use types are Residential, High Density (FLUCFCS code 130), Commercial and Services (FLUCFCS code 140), Institutional (FLUCFCS code 170), Marinas and Fish Camps (FLUCFCS code 184), and Roads and Highways (FLUCFCS code 814).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to install a concrete boardwalk structure along the river’s edge for 1,000 feet. The 16-foot-wide structure would extend 15 feet waterward from the existing bulkhead or mean high water line. The structure would provide a designated water taxi access and two temporary private recreational boat (<30-foot vessel) mooring areas.
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 contractor will be required to implement appropriate Best Management Practices such as turbidity curtains to protect water quality. Turbidity will be visually monitored during all in-water work and work will be ceased if increased turbidity occurs. The contractor will abide by the USGWS Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work (2011), NMFS JAXBO PDCs, and the NMFS Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions (2006).”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“Compensatory mitigation should not be required because there are no benthic resources beneath the proposed structure, and no impacts to wetlands are proposed. Upon completion of the Riverwalk, the open water habitat will remain accessible to fish and aquatic wildlife.”
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: The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta), Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus), Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request the initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter. In addition, the Corps has determined the proposal may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) and the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps used Programmatic Effect Determination Keys to determine these affects.
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 St. Johns River. 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 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 may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
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.
COMMENTS and QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at Brad.J.Carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days from the date of this notice.
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.
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 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.