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:
EB JV Opportunity Fund, LLC
1440 Main St., 4th Fl.
Sarasota, FL 34236
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Manatee River, a tributary of Tampa Bay, which ultimately empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The project site is located at 215 8th Street East, City of Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida, in Section 25 of Township 34 South and Range 17 East.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of South Tamiami Trail and Manatee Avenue East, travel east on Manatee Avenue East for approximately one-half mile. Turn left (north) on 8th Street East. The facility is located at the end of 8th Street East.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Water access.
Overall: Reconfiguration and expansion of an existing marina.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property historically supported a railroad loading/unloading site and weigh station for shell dredging. A rail line once extended along the eastern portion of the property and across the Manatee River to the north. Currently, the uplands within the site contain a restaurant, shell parking area, fueling facilities, marina office, boat trailer parking area, and a 200-vessel dry storage facility. The site features a load-out area and an 18-slip temporary docking structure that are used in conjunction with the dry storage facility as well as a dock on the northern tip used by restaurant patrons. A forested mangrove fringe extends along the northern and eastern shoreline of the property. An existing concrete seawall extends 266 linear feet along the western portion of the parcel. Along the shoreline of the point, a 156 linear foot “board and batten” wall remains along with 523 linear feet of riprap. Oyster clusters exist along the historic railbed. No seagrasses were located within the project area. The area surrounding the marina features both private residences and public park areas.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to reconfigure and expand an existing commercial marina known as “Tarpon Pointe Marina.” The construction will occur from both land and by barge. All existing in-water docking structures, including the 18-slip temporary docking structure and the structure on the northern seawall, will be removed. The applicant proposes to construct a 220-wet slip marina, including a sheet pile breakwater structure and a floating wave attenuator. The marina structure will contain eight (8) floating docks (Docks A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H). These floating docks will be constructed of floating concrete materials appropriate for in-water use. Docks A, B, C, D, and E will be connected to a main floating dock at the northern portion of the project area. An additional floating dock (Dock F) will extend east from the northern point and Docks G and H will be located along the southeastern shoreline and will contain the eight (8) temporary slips to be used in conjunction with the existing high and dry facility. The existing load-out facility will remain in its current configuration. Of the 220 wet slips, 212 will be permanent and 8 slips will be temporary. The existing 200-slip dry storage facility will remain, for a combined total of 420 wet/dry slips. Approximately 90% of the slips will be available for public rental. Slips will accommodate a number of different vessels, ranging from 40-85 feet in length. Twenty-six (26) of the slips along the east and west sides of Dock C will have the potential to contain boat lifts. Drafts of anticipated vessels range from 3.3 - 5.7 feet. The height of the vessels utilizing the facility will be limited to 39.4 feet due to the height of the U.S. Highway 41 bridges to the west. The applicant proposes to permanently dedicate one 40-foot slip (Slip E11) use by local law enforcement (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Manatee County Sheriff, or U.S. Coast Guard) to promote positive public benefit and provide for enforcement of the Slow Speed Zone to protect the West Indian Manatee. No live-aboards are proposed at this time. Pump-out facilities will be available at each slip if live-aboards are desired and requested in the future. The easternmost area of Dock E has been designed as an over-water fueling dock. As part of this proposal, fueling facilities will occur over water in the fueling slip. Vessels requiring fueling will remain outside the eastern attenuator until access to the fueling dock becomes available.
The applicant proposes to replace 266 linear feet of concrete seawall and 156 linear feet of “board and batten” retaining wall with 789 linear feet of new seawall. Minimal impacts (965 ft2 or 0.022 ac) to the mangrove fringe will occur to install this wall at the northern point and along the eastern side of the project uplands. The existing riprap located along the point and the eastern shoreline will be reinstalled after the installation of the new seawall to provide protection for the wall.
Finally, the applicant proposes to dredge 3.2 acres (or 139,991 ft2), encompassing 11,818 cubic yards, to facilitate adequate water depths for mooring, ingress, and egress. Dredging will be conducted using either clamshell or hydraulic operations and the specific methodology will be determined by the chosen contractor. All dredging activities will occur during daylight hours. Spoil material will be placed in watertight containers on a barge and will be transferred to the uplands for dewatering. The upland dewatering site will be located west of the existing restaurant. The upland site will contain staked silt fence (two rows) to contain the material. When dry, the material will be utilized on the project site for fill in uplands.
The proposed work requires permanent impacts to 1,140 ft2 of mangroves, 965 ft2 for seawall installation and 175 ft2 for an access walkway.
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: Tarpon Pointe Marina will be an active participant in FDEP’s Clean Marina program. The applicant has developed and proposed a Spill Response Plan and Hurricane Preparedness Guidelines. The marina proposes to have pump-outs available for each slip to protect water quality, will have SOS pedestals in case of an emergency. Proper waste measures will be implemented in uplands and monofilament recycling containers will be placed at each marina entrance to protect sea life and water quality.
All fueling activities will be conducted by a trained employee of Tarpon Pointe Marina. Employees will be educated on fueling, pump-outs, waste management, and facility maintenance. A plan has been developed for garbage to prevent disposal into wetlands and surface waters. Fish cleaning is not proposed over water and no in-water maintenance or hull cleaning will occur. All maintenance activities will occur in uplands as part of the high-and-dry facility operation. No overboard disposal of trash or waste is allowed at the facility.
To protect shallow areas and seagrasses from boaters and to protect boaters while traveling through waters near the marina, five (5) buoys are proposed to be installed at the marina and the relocation of a “Manatee Zone-Slow Speed-Minimum Wake to Shore” sign is proposed. In addition, due to limiting water depths, a “Keep Out” buoy will be installed inside the marina breakwater to limit passage through the northern portion of the marina. In the event of an emergency, this area will be utilized as secondary egress in the marina which will allow vessels to exit the marina from both the east and west entrances. Otherwise, vessel access will be limited to the east and west sides of the marina, depending on the assigned vessel slip location. “No Mooring” signs will be placed in areas where permanent or temporary mooring is prohibited. “No Mooring” signs will also be placed along the breakwater and wave attenuator to preclude mooring in those areas.
To avoid unintentional prop dredging of the bottom during in-water construction, the fully loaded barge will maintain one foot of clearance between the propeller in the down position and the substrate. The construction staging area will be located in uplands near the existing restaurant. No construction materials will be placed or stored in wetlands or surface waters. Existing paved roads or the Manatee River will be used to move equipment to the work site. The old docking material and pilings will be removed from the site and disposed of properly at an approved landfill.
To minimize impacts to resources in the Manatee River and reduce the amount of dredge material required to be removed, the area to the north of the northern attenuator was eliminated from the dredging plan. To further decrease the amount of dredge material to be removed, the docking structures were modified and were shifted west approximately 160 feet to allow for mooring in deeper waters. Vessels will navigate around the northern breakwater to enter the marina on the west and east sides where adequate water depths are located. To protect vessels from shallow water along the old railway line area, three (3) “Shallow Water” buoys are proposed.
Proper Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be utilized during dredging activities. Prior to commencement of dredging, weighted turbidity curtains will be installed, in stages, as shown on the attached project plans. These curtains shall be maintained until construction in the specific sections is completed. Background and compliance turbidity monitoring will be performed. A logbook of monitoring documentation will be kept and will be provided to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). If at any time the water quality exceeds 29 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTUs) above natural background levels upstream or downstream from the dredging activities, dredging will cease until the water levels return to less than 29 NTUs. A specific monitoring plan outlining sampling locations and monitoring methodology will be provided and implemented by the chosen dredging contractor.
In order to construct the marina, access gangways will be installed in four (4) locations along the shoreline. Two (2) of the access gangways will impact a mangrove fringe located along the eastern edge of the uplands which is currently being maintained at six (6) feet under a General Permit for Trimming of Mangroves (41-0169753-012) issued by FDEP on August 12, 2021. The northernmost gangway/platform access will provide access to Docks A, B, C, D, and E. The mangrove fringe in the area of the northernmost gangway will not be removed and will be traversed by an elevated gangway resulting in shading impacts only. The second access gangway will provide access to Dock F will require mangrove removal. The third and fourth access gangways will provide access to Dock G and Dock H, respectively. Both access walkways are located in areas of existing gangways, so no mangrove impacts are proposed at those two locations.
During construction activities, Standard Manatee Construction Conditions, Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, and the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake will be implemented. If protected species are observed, work shall cease until the individual has exited the area of its own volition. Educational signage will be installed at the marina for sea turtles, manatees, whales, and smalltooth sawfish.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant proposes to purchase forested estuarine mitigation bank credits to offset the functional loss associated with the mangrove impacts. The applicant also proposes to relocate the oyster clusters (0.63 ac) on the old railbed that is proposed to be dredged. The oyster clusters are proposed to be relocated to an area within the Manatee River watershed prior to or concurrent with the commencement of dredging activities.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of recorded historic resources within or adjacent to the permit area and 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: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the West Indian manatee or its designated critical habitat, the smalltooth sawfish and sea turtles, and the wood stork. The Corps will request concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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 5.986 acres of mangrove fringe, oyster bars, and surface waters utilized by various life stages of marine species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Manatee 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 over 800 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Manatee River 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, may 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.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida, 33610, 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 waters of the United States. 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, Tracy Hurst, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida, 33610; by electronic mail at Tracy.E.Hurst@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813) 769-7060; or, by telephone at (813)769-7063.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. 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.
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 may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection under File No. 41-0169753.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved 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.