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: PGA Partners 100, LLC
Attention: Nicholas Mastroianni
115 Front Street, Suite 300
Jupiter, FL 33477
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States including waters in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The project is in the ICW and adjacent to property address, 11511 Ellison Wilson Road, known as Hattie’s Landing, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida. (Section 5, Township 42 South, Range 43 East).
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, find PGA Boulevard and proceed east approximately 2.3 miles. The project is located on the southeast corner of the PGA Bridge spanning the ICW.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is water access.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to provide water access for a multi-family residential development and the public in Palm Beach County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS and Project History: The overall 6.4-acre project area is located along an approximate 600-foot section of the ICW with 1.1 acres located within tidal waters, and uplands comprising the remaining 5.3 acres. The previous land use has included previously developed uplands with restaurants and parking facilities, residential homes, and unauthorized dock structures and bulkheads. Within the ICW, the bottom contours range from 14-feet to 3-feet. The bottom is mostly sand with areas of contiguous seagrass beds. Within the overall location, the applicant identified approximately 0.33 acres of seagrass including Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) and paddle grass (Halophila decipiens), and within the project area, approximately 0.09 acres of seagrass was observed. Along the inter-tidal zone, the applicant identified approximately 0.036 acres of mangroves, including red (Rhizophora mangle), black (Avicennia germinans) and white (Laguncularia racemosa). The Corps issued a Department of Army (DA) Permit on December 18, 2015, authorizing the creation of a 26 slip facility that includes removal and installation of structures, seawall installation, upland excavation and dredging. The applicant is requesting a reauthorization of the existing DA permit with no changes to the scope of work.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks reauthorization of an existing DA permit to create a 26 slip facility by conducting the following activities:
1. Remove the existing 615-feet of seawall and dock structures (approximately 4,366 square feet) currently providing 26 in-water vessel slips;
2. Dredge approximately 0.79 acres of tidal waters and 0.79 acres of uplands to the depth of -3 feet, -5 feet and -8 feet MLW;
3. Install an approximately 786 linear foot seawall with cap;
4. Install a 640-foot by 8-foot marginal dock with twelve 40-foot long floating finger piers (9,516 square feet) and 7 boatlifts;
5. Install 35 mooring piles;
6. Install approximately 202-linear feet of steel, vinyl or composite sheet-pile with a top elevation matching the existing grade to stabilize the northernmost and southernmost slips.
The waterward terminal end of the finger piers shall be setback 62.5-feet from the near bottom edge of the federal channel, and mooring piles shall be setback 48-feet from the near bottom edge of the federal channel. The project will impact 0.036 acres of mangroves and 0.236 acres of onsite seagrass. As compensatory mitigation to offset mangrove impacts, the applicant will purchase 0.02 credits from the FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank and 0.10 credits from the Bear Point Mitigation Bank. To offset impacts to seagrass 0.118 acres uplands will be excavated and 0.03 acres of tidal water will be scraped down. Onsite seagrass mitigation also includes enhancing 0.065 acres of seagrass habitat by lowering existing barren submerged bottom and removing existing docks and slips from areas which will not be dredged, all resulting in vegetative characteristics that are similar to and that would provide ecological functions and services commensurate with those of the seagrasses within the proposed dredge area. The total onsite seagrass mitigation area is 0.213 acres for which a conservation easement will be placed over 0.117 acres.
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 project site has had a long-term existing marina and is well suited for development of a marina. No other sites were available at the time of the existing permit was authorized that would achieve the overall project purpose, with access to the ICW and space to accommodate expansion of the project. The project will be constructed in accordance with the 401 Water Quality Certification and best management practices will be implemented during construction to avoid water quality degradation. The project proposal was modified to minimize impacts during the original permit authorization process to reduce the amount of in-water slips and further setback the project from the federal channel to reduce navigational hazards and channel maintenance concerns.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: To offset mangrove impacts the applicant has purchased 0.02 federal estuarine credits from the FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank and 0.10 federal estuarine credits from the Bear Point Mitigation Bank. To offset impacts to seagrass 0.118 acres of uplands will be excavated and 0.03 acres of tidal water will be scraped down. Onsite seagrass mitigation also includes enhancing 0.065 acres of seagrass habitat by lowering existing barren submerged bottom and removing existing docks and slips from areas which will not be dredged, all resulting in vegetative characteristics that are similar to and that would provide ecological functions and services commensurate with those of the seagrasses within the proposed dredge area. The total onsite seagrass mitigation area is 0.213 acres for which a conservation easement has been prepared and recorded over 0.117 acres of tidal waters. The above referenced compensatory mitigation for impacts to mangroves and seagrass was previously approved and a requirement of the existing DA permit authorization
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. Corps previously consulted with State Historic Preservation Officer who concurred that there are no known historic properties within the permit area. 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 is not likely to adversely affect the threatened West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and would not adversely modify its designated critical habitat. The existing authorization was previously coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services who has given concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and no further consultation is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the threatened and endangered swimming sea turtles; loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), and the threatened smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and may affect but is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the threatened Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) or its designated critical habitat. The existing authorization was previously coordinated with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) who provided a Biological Opinion pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA and no further consultation is required.
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 0.236 acres of vegetated bottoms, mud, sand, shell and rock, estuarine water column, and approximately 0.036 acres of mangrove habitat EFH. The habitats within the project area would be utilized by various life stages of the penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. To offset the seagrass impacts, the applicant stated seagrass would colonize newly created shallow areas or re-establish in areas that will be dredged as depicted on the proposed plans. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Division. 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, no portion of the finger pier shall extend closer than 62.5 feet from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway (federal channel) and no portion of the mooring piles shall extend closer than 48 feet from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway (federal channel).
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/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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 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, Linda Knoeck, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Linda.C.Knoeck@usace.army.mil.
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.