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: City of Panama City
501 Harrison Avenue
Panama City, Florida 32401
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Watson Bayou. The project site is located at 1800 E. Business Highway 98.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Downtown Panama City, east on US Hwy Bus 98 E thru Harrison Avenue intersection across Watson Bayou bridge, then continue for approximately 0.4 miles to Maple Avenue and the project area is located at the intersection of US Hwy Bus 98 and Maple Avenue - 1800 US Hwy Bus 98 E.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.156438°
Basic: Public Water Access
Overall: To construct a public water access facility consisting of multiple boat ramps, parking, and stormwater management, providing water access to the citizens of the City of Panama City.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is the site of a previous commercial marina facility that operated circa 1989 until approximately 2007. The applicant acquired the property in 2016. The existing facility consists of a dilapidated seawall and a few remnant pilings. All other structures have been removed. The surrounding area consists of the right-of-way of Business US Highway 98 to the north, the waters of Watson Bayou to the south, the right-of-way of Maple Avenue to the east, and a government office building to the west.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a public boat ramp facility, including the replacement of an existing dilapidated seawall, new riprap shoreline stabilization along the western shore of the basin, two (2) boat ramps, one dock on either side of the ramps, fixed and floating marginal docks, boat trailer parking spaces, regular parking spaces with two (2) being designated as handicap, upland trailer wash-down area, and stormwater infrastructure, as shown as the project drawings.
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:
Pilings will be installed using low pressure jetting to reduce sediment displacement. Turbidity curtains will be installed as needed during construction to prevent turbid discharge from project area.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
No wetlands are being impacted for the proposed project.
The Corps is evaluating the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This public notice serves to inform the public of the proposed undertaking and invites comments including those from local, State, and Federal government Agencies with respect to historic resources. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts may be subject to additional coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and other interested parties.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
Manatee: Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > G > H > I > N > O > P > “may affect, not likely to adversely affect.” This determination is based on the applicant following the standard manatee construction precautions for the proposed activity. By letter dated 25 April 2013, the FWS stated that for proposed in-water activities analyzed with the April 2013 version of this key in which the Corps reaches a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination with respect to the manatee and/or its designated critical habitat, the FWS hereby concurs with the Corps determination in accordance with 50 CFR 402.14(b)1 and no further consultation with the FWS is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and the Gulf Sturgeon, (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) or its designated critical habitat. The Corps would request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) or its designated critical habitat.
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 have a minor adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in Watson Bayou. 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 1,200 feet away 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 not been verified by Corps personnel.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Panama City Permits Section, 41 N. 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, Matt Dimitroff, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 41 N. Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502; by electronic mail at Franklin.M.Dimitroff@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (850) 433-8732 Ext. 7.
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 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.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This public notice serves as the notification to the EPA pursuant to section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act. Water Quality Certification was granted under Florida Department of Environmental Protection Permit No.: 0358573-001-EI/03 issued May 11, 2018.
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.