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: Attention: Commanding Officer Mark Sohaney
Naval Air Station Key West
Key West, FL 33040
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Garrison Bright Channel. The project site is located at Demolition Key, in Section 19, Township 67 south, Range 25 east, Monroe County, Key West Florida RE number (00002340-000000).
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 24.59818°
Basic: The basic project purpose is the installation of a concrete and steel underwater target.
Overall: The overall purpose is the installation of a concrete and steel underwater target, to conduct subsurface detonation of limpet mines in the Demolition Key channel.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Demolition Key is an offshore island located in Key West, owned by the U.S. NAVY. The site is open water, there are no documented coral, or mangroves on site, there are documented seagrasses on site.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicants seek authorization to complete the following work:
install an underwater target structure (128 square foot) with a concrete pad (16 ft. by 8 ft.) and an attached vertical steel frame in the Demolition Key channel. Naval Special Warfare (NSW) will install the structure using a Navy vessel fitted with a davit (small crane) to lower the structure to the channel bottom. Navy divers will position the structure in the required orientation and mount the replaceable metal plates. The target structure will be approximately 5 ft. off the channel bottom in water approx. 10 ft. deep at mean low water (MLW).
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: Turbidity curtains will not be deployed; turbidity is expected to be minor due to the minor amount of bottom disturbance. Approx. 128 sf. Of channel bottom habitat consisting of open sand, algal mats and sparse seagrass will be permanently displaced by the placement of the concrete pads. The applicant agrees to comply with the "Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work – 2011" and the "Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions."
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION- The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If mitigation is required by the ACOE the applicant will consider making a payment to the Keys Restoration Fund Program, subject to the provision of the Anti-Deficiency Act.
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.
West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus): The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee or its designated critical habitat. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence A-B-1 may affect. This determination partially was based on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work. The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to the Effect Determination Key for the manatee dated April 2013.
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus): The project site is within the American Crocodile critical habitat. By letter dated 28 October 2014, the FWS issued programmatic concurrence for projects in the Keys south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and State Road 905 in Key Largo. The letter states that projects located in this range are unlikely to adversely affect the American crocodile if it meets one or more of the listed criteria. By using the programmatic letter by paragraph 2, considering that the proposed project does not contain suitable nesting habitat that is accessible to the crocodile, the Corps’ initial determination is the project “may affect but is not likely to adversely affect” the American crocodile and its critical habitat. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation with the Service is required.
Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) and Roseate tern (Sterna dougallii): According to the Multi species recovery plan the aforementioned species do not breed in Florida but may winter in Florida. The PCEs for the species are found in geographically dynamic coastal areas that support intertidal beaches and flats (between annual low tide and annual high tide), and associated dune systems and flats above annual high tide. The project site is not within optimal habitat for these species as the project is located within a canal system. Based on information available a no effect determination has been reached on these species and its native habitat.
Stock Island tree snail (Orthalicus rese, not incl. nesodryas): The proposed project is not removing or making modifications to the Stock Island tree snail native habitat. Potential impacts to the Stock Island tree snail were evaluated using the Stock Island tree snail Species Key, dated 29 July 2013, and resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B (2), “may affect, but not likely to adversely affect” for the listed species. The Corps received programmatic concurrence from the FWS for projects that have a NLAA determination; therefore, no incidental take will occur and no further consultation with the FWS is required.
Key tree cactus (Pilosocereus robinii): The proposed project is not removing or making modifications to the Key tree-cactus native habitat. Potential impacts to the Key tree cactus were evaluated using the Key Tree Cactus Species Key, dated 29 July 2013, and resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B (1), “may affect, but not likely to adversely affect” for the listed species. The Corps received programmatic concurrence from the FWS for projects that have a NLAA determination; therefore, no incidental take will occur and no further consultation with the FWS is required.
Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): The subject parcel is listed on the FWS 2011 Suitable Habitat List for the Eastern Indigo snake. Since critical habitat has not been designated for the indigo snake, potential impacts to D. c. couperi were evaluated using the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key dated August 1, 2017 (Snake Key). Due to the work being located solely over open water and salt marsh, use of the Snake Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A (2), “no effect”. Therefore, pursuant to the Snake Key, no further consultation with the FWS is required.
The real estate parcel number is 00002340-000000 and is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suitable Habitat List, dated August 2010, for Monroe County for the following species.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and their designated critical habitat, hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), and the Giant Manta ray species (Manta birostris). A no effect determination was reached on Acorpora sp. and its designated critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, Mycetophyllia ferox). The Corps will request 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 proposal would impact approximately 225 square feet of submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marine life. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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. 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176 within 21 days from the date of this notice (i.e., on or before March 30, 2021).
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, Danielle D’Amato, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by telephone at (904)-232-2166 or by electronic mail at Danielle.S.D’Amato@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. 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 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.