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: St. Johns County
Attention: Duane Kent, Public Works
2740 Industry Center Road
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The proposed project site is located along the beach shoreline and in the navigable waters of the Atlantic Ocean, parallel to the Old State Road A1A right-of-way, within the Pedro Menendez Land Grant, between Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) beach range (R) monuments R-202 and R-208.5, in Section 30, Township 9 South, Range 31 East, Summer Haven St. Johns County, Florida. The borrow areas associated with this project are Florida Inland Navigation District's (FIND) Dredge Material Management Area (DMMA) St. Johns Number 1 (SJ-1 ), DMMA FL-3 at Latitude 29.634384° and Longitude -81.226541°, and the dredge template of the Summer Haven River as found in Corps permit SAJ-2012-02400.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the north at the intersection of State Road (SR) 206 and A1A, drive around 6 miles south. Take a left on Old A1A and drive north. The project lies to the east along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.682280°
Longitude - 81.217979°
Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline protection.
Overall: The overall project purpose is shoreline stabilization in Summer Haven, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The beach ecological community found within the Project Area, R-202 through R-208.5 at Summer Haven occupies approximately 19 acres (reference Figure C-2 Key Map and General Notes of the permit). The beach is constantly affected by wave and tidal action. No vegetation occurs apart from that which is washed ashore as part of the daily tide cycle. The material is composed of fine and coarse sand and shell fragments and is subject to wind and water erosion. This location has a history of severe erosion and is identified as “Critically Eroded Beach” in the DEP Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, Strategic Beach Management Plan for the Northeast Atlantic Coast Region (2008). Currently, there is a breach connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Summer Haven River at approximately R-205.
Limited dunes are found at the site. Vegetation is found on the dunes, sparsely populated, from R-205 south to R-208. Vegetation species include sea-oats (Uniola paniculata), dune sunflower (Healianthus debilis), sea purslane (Portulaca oleracea), railroad vine (Ipomoea pescaprae), and shoreline seapurslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum). From R-205 north to R-202 solely sand exists on the beach front. From R-202 – R0203 there are mangroves west of the houses along the Summer Haven River.
From R-202 through R-208.5 there are approximately 25 houses from the intersection of A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway and Old A1A. Access to the houses is available by turning north on Old A1A from the intersection of A1A and Old A1A. From R-205 north to R-200, Old A1A is completely gone.
Borrow Areas: The Summer Haven River borrow area footprint is located adjacent to the west of the beach front template (reference Figure 2019 Conditions Summer Haven River Restoration). The river has mangroves bordering the shoreline and the river has a sandy bottom. The river hosts sand frequently blown over in heavy winds and pushed over from storm surge during large storm events. The DMMA FL-3 Borrow Area is located just over 2.5 miles southeast of R-208 in Flagler County off North Old Kings Road (reference Figure DMMA FL-3 Borrow Area). The site is an existing borrow pit.
PROJECT HISTORY: The Corps issued a permit for the work in 2012. At that time, the Summer Haven River was full of sand washed out from the adjacent beach front. Work to dredge the river and place the dredge material on the beach from R-200 to R-202 was set to begin November 1, 2016. However, in October 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit the area and a breach was created and water flowed over the sand that covered the Summer Haven River. The 0.25-mile-wide breach was located just south of R-204 connecting the ocean to the Summer Haven River. An emergency permit SAJ-2016-03083 was created to dam the Summer Haven River with a geotextile tube to facilitate construction to close the breach. At the beginning of September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the coast of Florida causing erosion of the newly placed beach sand south of R-204 and moving that sand into the Atlantic Ocean. In early September 2019, Hurricane Dorian brought winds, rain and storm surge to the northeast Florida coast pushing beach sand into the river. On October 7, 2020, the permit underwent Modification #1 to utilize the Summer Haven River dredge template and Florida Inland Navigation District Dredge Material Management Area St. Johns Number 1 (SJ-1) as sand sources, allow for work during sea turtle nesting season. Most recently, a nor’easter storm in November 2021 caused a breach in the berm connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Summer Haven River at R-205. To date, beach nourishment has been conducted under permits SAJ-2012-02400 and SAJ-2016-03083, but no work has been conducted under SAJ-2010-03050.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to modify the existing Department of the Army permit SAJ-2010-03050 by extending the time frame in which to complete the work by 5 years. The final expiration date would be September 19, 2027. All previously permitted work would remain the same.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION – The applicant formerly indicated that the “no action” alternative would likely result in continued beach erosion and, potentially, damage to the remaining local residences. The applicant further indicated that any reduction in the scope of work could prevent the attainment of project goals.
No hardbottom impacts are proposed or anticipated. Additionally, the applicant has provided the following information in support of efforts to minimize impacts to the aquatic environment:
Sand: The applicant has tested the material from the proposed Summer Haven River and DMMA SJ-3; and, indicates that the material meets the standards for beach nourishment material.
Wildlife: In order to minimize potential impacts to nesting female and sea turtle hatchlings, the originally proposed beach fill design will be utilized for the proposed modification. The seaward slope should minimize the potential for escarpment formations, prevent ponding on the new beach berm, and assist in directing hatchlings seaward to the ocean. Protective measures found in the Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion (SPBO) would be followed to minimize impacts to federally listed species.
Aesthetics: Best management practices would be executed to minimize the presence of equipment and personnel in the Project Area and related habitats.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The formerly provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“The work would not adversely affect dune or aquatic habitats. Therefore, the applicant previously expressed an opinion that mitigation for the work proposed is not warranted.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps previously evaluated the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and has followed the guidelines of 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C. The Corps determined that the project would have No Potential to Cause Effects to Historic Properties.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has evaluated the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and has followed the guidelines of 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C. The Corps has determined that the project would have No Potential to Cause Effects to Historic Properties.
NMFS: National Marine Fisheries Service
USFWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
T: Federal Listing Status Threatened
E: Federal Listing Status Endangered
SPBO: Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion 2015
SARBO: South Atlantic Region Biological Opinion 1997
P³BO: Piping Plover Programmatic Biological Opinion
MANLAA: May Affect, Not Likely to Adversely Affect
MALAA: May Affect, Likely to Adversely Affect
NLAM: Not Likely to Adversely Modify
NE: No Effect
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 fill seaward of the Mean High Water Line is 12.3 acres within a nearshore habitat utilized by various life stages of species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. 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.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207 within 15 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, Terri M. Mashour, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207; by electronic mail at Terri.M.Mashour@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 570-4512.
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.
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.
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.