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: Windward Shipyard Landholdings, LLC
c/o Robert Finvarb
2999 NE 191st Street, Suite 800
Aventura, Florida 33180
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands and open water) associated with the San Sebastian River. The project site is located at 1510 Arapaho Avenue and Lot 13, Arapaho Avenue (St. Johns County Property Appraiser – Parcel Identification Numbers 1347900000 and 1347800000), in Section 19 and 40, Township 7 south, Range 30 east, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown, Jacksonville, take Interstate 95 south and exit onto FL-16. From FL-16 take 4 Mile Road. At the traffic roundabout take 2nd exit onto N. Volusia Street. Turn left onto W. King Street, then turn right onto S. Ponce De Leon Boulevard. Then take a left onto Arapaho Avenue and proceed to the site.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.875410°
PROJECT PURPOSE: The purpose is development of a residential subdivision and access to navigable waters.
Basic: The basic project purpose is a residential subdivision.
Overall: The overall project purpose is a residential subdivision with access to navigable waters in the southwest St. Augustine area
a. General: The 18.00-acre Serendipity project site is located adjacent to a portion of the San Sebastian River that has high boat use and is considered St. Augustine’s working waterfront. It is an urban infill parcel surrounded by commercial and residential development to the north and west and the river to the east and south. The elevations of the property range from approximately +10 feet to +2 feet NAVD88. Elevations in the wetlands are approximately 1 to 2 feet lower than the adjacent uplands.
b. Soils: The Soil Survey of St. Johns County, Florida (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 2004) identifies the following soil types within the property (reference attached Figure 2):
i. Astatula-Urban Land Complex, 0 to 8 percent slopes (Map Unit 54): This map unit consists of nearly level to sloping, excessively drained Astatula soils on broad upland ridges and urban land. Astatula soils have a water table at a depth of more than 72 inches. Typically, Astatula soils have a surface layer of very dark grayish brown fine sand about six inches thick. Below that is fine sand, which extends to a depth of 80 inches or more. It is yellowish brown and has pockets of very dark grayish brown in the upper 11 inches. Below that, the material is strong brown and has
pockets of light yellowish brown.
ii. Admasville variant fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (Map Unit 57): Adamsville Variant fine sand is a somewhat poorly drained, nearly level soil on low knolls adjacent to tidal marshes, streams, and estuaries, near the Atlantic coast and Atlantic Inland Waterway. In most years the water table is at a depth of 20 to 40 inches for two to six months. It rises to within a depth of 10 to 20 inches for up to two weeks during the rainy season in some years. It is within a depth of 60 inches for more than nine months in most years. Typically, the surface layer, about 10 inches thick, is very dark grayish brown fine sand containing oyster shells 1/4 inch to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Below this is pale brown, brown, light brownish gray, and light yellowish brown fine sand that extends to a depth of 60 to 80 inches.
iii. Pellicer silty clay loam, 0 to 1 percent slopes (Map Unit 24): frequently flooded, is a very poorly drained, nearly level soil that is in low tidal marshes along stream estuaries near the Atlantic coast. This soil is flooded twice daily by normal high tides. The water table fluctuates with the tide. Typically, the surface layer is very dark brown silty clay loam about 10 inches thick. Between depths of 10 and 55 inches, the material is dark greenish gray clay loam.
c. Vegetative Communities: This site contains XX generalized community types or land uses characterized by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System [(FLUCFCS) Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), State Topographic Bureau, Thematic Mapping Section, 1999] (reference attached Figure 3):
i. Vacant Land (FLUCFCS 190) - This category includes undeveloped land within urban areas and inactive land with street patterns but without structures. Open Land normally does not exhibit any structures or any indication of intended use. Often, urban inactive land may be in a transitional state and ultimately will be developed into one of the typical urban land uses.
ii. Hardwood-Conifer Mix (FLUCFCS 434) – This community has a canopy of live oak (Quercus. virginiana), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Ground cover consists of bahiagrass (Taxodium distichum) and other grass species.
iii. Hydric Improved Pasture (FLUCFCS 211W) – This is an area of mowed grasses and herbaceous wetland species with hydric soils. Lake < 10 acres (FLUCFCS 524) – This area is a 0.39-acre man-made excavated pond. The pond banks are clear of vegetation.
iv. Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) – This community has a mixed canopy slash pine (Pinus elliottii), laural oak (Q. laurifolia), red maple (Acer rubrum) and
cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto).
v. Vegetated Non-Forested Wetlands (FLUCFCS 640) – This community has a very limited canopy and understory of cabbage palm, wax myrtle and eastern red
vi. Saltwater Marshes (FLUCFCS 642) - The communities included in this category will be predominated by one or more of the following species: Cordgrasses, Needlerush, Seashore Saltgrass, Saltwort, Glassworts, Fingerush, Salt Dropseed, Seaside Daisy or Salt Jointgrass.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks a 10-year authorization to discharge clean fill material over a total of 0.18 acres of wetlands within Federal jurisdiction for development of a residential subdivision. In addition, the project proposes to remove the existing dock and to construct a 50 boat slip multi-family dock. The dock would consist of a 6-foot by 452-foot access pier, a 10-foot by 808-foot pier leading to the boat slips. Boat slip numbers 1-28 will be 16-feet by 40-feet with fifteen 2-foot by 40-foot finger piers with one on the north end of the dock and between every two slips. Boat slip numbers 29-50 will be14-feet by 30-feet with eleven 2-foot by 30-foot finger piers with one on the south end of the dock and between every two-slips. The dock will cross a salt marsh and mangrove area and will follow the Construction Guidelines in Florida for Minor Piling-Supported Structures Constructed in or over Submerged Aquatic (SAV), Marsh or Mangrove Habitat U.S. Army Corp of Engineers/National Marine Fisheries Service November 2017. There would be 390 wood pilings, totaling 390-square-feet of in-water impacts, installed by a vibratory hammer.
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 original plan included a bulkhead that required 0.06 acre of salt marsh fill. These impacts were eliminated, and the bulkhead design was moved landward to an upland retaining wall, one foot or greater landward of the wetland line. The remaining wetland fill, 0.18-acre, is to relatively lower value freshwater wetlands (FLUCFCS 630 and 640) whose functional loss will be offset by credits at a mitigation bank. The applicant would implement best management practices to minimize secondary impacts and follow the Construction Guidelines in Florida for Minor Piling-Supported Structures Constructed in or over Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, Marsh or Mangrove Habitat Corps/National Marine Fisheries Service August 2017.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
In consideration of the work proposed, the applicant proposes to purchase 0.12 Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) bank credits from a federally approved mitigation bank with a service area encompassing the project site.
The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
a. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichecus manatus). The project site is within an area accessible to manatees; therefore, this species may be present at the project site. 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 sequential determination A-B-C-G-H-I-J-L-N-O-P1 – May affect, not likely to adversely affect for the multi-family dock. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) previously indicated that they concur with determinations of May affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for manatees; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
b. The Corps has determined the proposed project is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana). The project site is within 1.73 miles from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Nesting Colony, and, within the Core foraging area of this colony. The work proposed would not affect suitable foraging habitat (SFH). In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized 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, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) previously indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
c. The Corps has determined the proposed project is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The proposed work is connected to an upland area; therefore, potential impacts to the eastern indigo snake were evaluated using Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Determination Key 2013. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-NLAA-may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, as the applicant has agreed 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.
d. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the smalltooth sawfish, Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon, hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and whales (North Atlantic right whale, sei, blue, fin, and sperm):. 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 (ESA). 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 verification, 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 will be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. 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.
e. The Corps executed a Resources at Risk (RAR) report on July 2, 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 0.18 acres of salt marsh and open water utilized by various life stages of clearnose skate, windowpane flounder, shrimp, snapper grouper, spiny lobster, sailfish, and various shark species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the San Sebastian 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.
NAVIGATION: Based on the Florida State Plane coordinates provided by the applicant, the waterward edge of the proposed structure is 45 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel. The X,Y State Plane Coordinates Survey has been sent to the Corps’ Navigation Section for review and the need for further coordination will be determined.
SECTION 408: The applicant may require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, may alter, occupy, or use a Corps Civil Works project. The X,Y State Plane Coordinates Survey have been sent to the Corps’ Navigation Section for review and determination as to whether Section 408 is warranted.
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.
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, Janice Price, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at Janice.R.Price@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1904; or, by telephone at (904)570-4542.
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.
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.