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: Emerald Coast Utilities Authority
c/o Tom Dawson
P.O. Box 17089
Pensacola, Florida 32522
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Santa Rosa Sound. The project is located at 425 Pensacola Beach Road, in Section 28, Township 2 South, Range 26 West, in Pensacola Beach, Escambia County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola, go east on US-98 across the Pensacola Bay Bridge to Gulf Breeze. Continue southeast on US-90 then merge onto Highway 399/Pensacola Beach Boulevard. Proceed southeast through the Pensacola Beach Bridge Toll Booth and the site will be located on the west side of the road (approximately 700 feet south of the toll both) at 425 Pensacola Beach Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude 30.339417° North
Longitude -87.147808° West
Basic: Shoreline stabilization and land reclamation
Overall: Stabilize the shoreline and reclaim land for the replacement and upgrade of potable water storage tanks serving Pensacola Beach, Escambia County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 2.5-acre subject site contains four potable water ground storage tanks that provide potable water to Pensacola Beach. The shoreline has been stabilized with a riprap revetment. There is submerged aquatic vegetation at the northern end of the project site but no emergent aquatic vegetation in the vicinity of the project. The site is surrounded by Little Sabine Bay Inlet/Santa Rosa Sound to the west, Pensacola Beach Boulevard (CR-399) to the east, and undeveloped lots to the north and south.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a 640 linear foot seawall, install 0.14 acre of riprap, and backfill 0.22 acre of open water behind the seawall to reclaim land to accommodate the replacement and upgrade of two of the existing (upland) water storage tanks. The work includes impact to 0.06 acre of submerged aquatic vegetation within the fill footprint. The existing steel water tanks are dated and undersized (for future demand) and would be replaced with a new 3 million gallon ground potable water storage tank. The proposed work is necessary to provide protection for the new, larger tank and to accommodate incidental site requirements such as underground equipment (piping, valves, etc.) necessary for the operation and transmission of the facility.
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: “Impacts to the waters of the United States have been avoided and minimized in the conceptual site layout by locating the future Public Potable Water infrastructure as far inland (east) as practicable.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: “Seagrass mitigation is proposed in compliance with FDEP requirements. A Uniform Mitigation Assessment (UMAM) is currently being performed on the SAV’s that will be impacted by the proposed improvements. After the UMAM is complete, results and mitigation plans will be made available to the USACE staff for review.”
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 proposed project may affect, but would not likely adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) as determined using the 2013 Manatee Key, following couplets A > B > C > G > N > O > P. The Corps has also determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request the National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 proposed project would impact approximately 0.36 acre of estuarine intertidal and subtidal habitat utilized by various life stages of 3 shark species (blacktip, bull, spinner), four shrimp species (brown, white, pink, Royal red), coastal migratory pelagic species, red drum, and 43 species of reef fish. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries. 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.
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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.