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) as described below:
Roberts Development Corporation
c/o Donald R. DeLuca, Vice President
7290 College Parkway, Suite 400
Fort Myers, Florida 33907
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States, including wetlands, associated with Punta Rassa Cove. The project site is located at 14341 Port Comfort Road, in Section 10, Township 45 South, Range 23 East, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Fort Myers Field Office, take McGregor Boulevard south, turn right to stay on McGregor Boulevard, turn right onto Port Comfort Road. Project is located on the left and right of Port Comfort Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Marina reconfiguration
Overall: Marina reconfiguration including additional retaining wall at Port Sanibel Marina
PROJECT HISTORY: A Corps Letter of Permission was issued on April 17, 1995, for the replacement of an existing 1,315 square foot dock, 930 square foot harbormasters’ office, and 58 linear foot seawall with 26 cubic yards of riprap. Additionally, the authorization included maintenance dredging at the base of the existing boat ramp. A standard permit was issued on November 19, 1996, which authorized the construction of 49 additional slips, 1 floating dock, 1 canoe launch area, and the replacement of an existing 97 linear foot wood seawall with a concrete seawall. In addition, the permit authorized the dredging of 3.0 acres of navigable waters within the access channel and 3.76 acres of the existing boat basin. A modification was issued on June 11, 1998, for additional dredging within the location of Dock A and its associated access channel to a depth of -5.0 NGVD. On June 18, 2020, a permit was issued for the construction of a 180-slip dry boat storage building and stormwater management system in uplands; installation of a riprap revetment shoreline stabilization; construction of a travel lift launch pad; replacement of an existing dock (Dock G) and the addition of a floating dock. The total square footage of overwater structures associated with the reconfigured Dock G is 2,850 square feet. The total number of slips at the marina increased from 233 slips (100 wet slips and 133 dry slips) to 415 slips (102 wet slips (79 permanent/23 temporary) and 313 dry slips). On September 1, 2021, a Nationwide Permit was issued for the replacement of a fixed dock (Dock E) with a floating dock; a modification of a fixed covered dock (Dock A) to reduce the overwater coverage; re-decking of all fixed wooden docks with composite materials; removal of a section of boardwalk and repurposing of two aluminum gangways and an existing floating dock; there was no change to the total number of slips.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Port Sanibel is an existing marina with both wet and dry storage. There is currently approximately 29,900 square feet of existing overwater structures, 79 permanent wet slips, 23 temporary wet slips, and 313 dry slips.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct 800 linear feet of vertical retaining wall separating the upland dry storage building, parking areas, and stormwater management system from the adjacent mangrove wetlands. All work is located above the mean high water line. Work includes filling 3,844 square feet (0.09 acres) of mangrove wetlands and excavating 1,569 square feet (0.05 acres) of uplands in front of the retaining wall to create mangrove habitat. All work will be performed from the uplands. Compensatory mitigation will be via the purchase of credits from the Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank; the proposed creation of mangrove habitat is not meant to compensate for proposed wetland impacts.
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 applicant has provided a description of efforts to avoid and minimize impacts resulting in a modification of the stormwater management system and reduction in parking impacts. The applicant has agreed to utilize best management practices during all phases of construction to prevent turbidity and additional fill material from entering the adjacent wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: A functional assessment of wetland impacts was performed using Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank criteria, resulting in a Wetland Functional Capacity of 0.71. Compensatory mitigation will be required through the purchase of 0.06 forested saltwater mitigation credits.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the activity is of such limited scope there is little likelihood of impact upon a historic property; therefore, the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect”.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Florida, January 2010 (Wood Stork Key). Use of the Wood Stork Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A>B>Project impacts to suitable foraging habitat (SFH) is less than ½ acre. The project lies within the buffer for the colony site(s) but affects less than ½ acre of SFH. No further consultation with the Service 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 proposal would impact 3,844 square feet of non-tidal mangrove wetlands. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 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, Steven Rabney, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida, 33910; by electronic mail at Steven.J.Rabney@usace.army.mil or, by telephone at (239) 334-1975 x0009.
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, aesthetics, 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.