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: Jacksonville Port Authority
Attn: Mr. James Bennett
2831 Tallyrand Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32206
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located at 500 Williams Mills Street in Sections 24 and 25, Township 1 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 362A. Proceed onto Interate-295 and take Exit 41. Take a left (east) on Heckscher Drive. Proceed until the intersection of Blunt Island Boulevard and turn right. Proceed until the intersection of William Mills Street and turn right. The project is at the end of the roadway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.396396°
Basic: The basic project purpose is access to navigable waterways.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the expansion of an existing port facility at the Jacksonville Port Authority on Blount Island.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area consists of an open water saltwater system with a berthing structure for accessing navigable waterways. The area surrounding the project area consists of an existing port facility.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to modify and expand an existing berth to accommodate larger vessels. The proposal includes the 8,896 square-foot landward expansion of a section of an existing pier, adding an additional 954 square-foot breasting dolphin, and adding an additional 970 square foot mooring dolphin with catwalk to the existing dolphin, as well as necessary repairs to the underdeck concrete spall, piles (jacket installation), bollards and fenders of the existing structure. In addition, the applicant would use hydraulic and mechanical methods to expand the dredge template by 66,888 square feet to include removal of additional 17,650 cubic yards of the sediments to a depth of 38 feet below the mean low water line (with 2 feet of allowable overdredge) from 1.536 acres of the aquatic substrate. The dredge material would be disposed of at an approved JaxPort Upland Disposal 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:
“All work will be conducted in the waters of the St. Johns River; however, the project will entirely avoid impacts to wetlands or submerged resources. There are also no new slips (temporary/permanent), no new access to water, or fishing piers proposed. All activities will adhere to guidelines set forth in the state and federal environmental permits including best management practices to prevent violation of state water quality standards. All in-water activities will follow Standard Manatee Construction Conditions for In-Water Work, Sea Turtle & Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, and Vessel Strike Avoidance Measures. Upland work (during dredge material disposal) will comply with standard indigo snake protection measures.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“While the project includes an expansion of the authorized dredge template (SAJ-2001-06043-(SP-TMM)), there are no impacts to natural resources, essential fish habitat, or listed species, and no changes to the construction methods or dredge depths authorized by that permit. In particular, dredging will be limited to hydraulic or mechanical means, and as in the existing maintenance dredging permit, the proposed project will comply with all applicable project design criteria within the South
Atlantic Regional Biological Opinion (SARBO) for dredging and disposal in an authorized upland containment system (Bartram/Buck Islands). Similarly, while the construction of the proposed pile supported structures is specifically excluded for authorization under the Jacksonville Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO), the contractor will nevertheless comply with all applicable PDCs in order to minimize the potential for impact to listed species or essential fish habitat.”
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris). The Corps utilized programmatic biological opinion for a determination on the Wood Stork and will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for concurrence with determination on the West Indian manatee. The Corps will consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service for concurrence with the determinations on the sea turtles, smalltooth sawfish, and sturgeons pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the programmatic keys; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
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 1.536 acres of aquatic substrate utilized by various life stages of shrimp, grouper, and snapper species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns 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 0 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel.
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, 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 been verified by Corps personnel.
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.
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS concerning this application or potential authorization of the work should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at Brad.J.Carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days from the date of this notice.
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.
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.