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:
APPLICANT: Island Homes of the Keys Inc.
C/o Steven Hotz
P.O. Box 179
Medford, NJ 08055
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The projects would affect waters of the United States associated with the Florida Bay. The project site is located on an undeveloped lot legally described as Gov Lot 1 and Gov Lot 4 (F/K/A Phase v (The Island) Seawatch at Marathon Condo) in Section 05, Township 66 South, Range 33 East, Marathon, Monroe County, FL (RE#00104135-000000).
Directions to the site are as follows: Take U.S. 1 South to MM 53. Turn right onto 1st Avenue (AKA 117th St.); Continue to gated entrance for Seawatch Condo.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: To construct an access road.
Overall: To construct an access road to connect a proposed single-family residence in Marathon, Monroe County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a saltwater system. The property is located on an island with limited development for an existing marina utilized by Seawatch at Marathon Condo community. The property supports a disturbed and undisturbed salt marsh, mangrove shoreline, and hammock community.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place 530 cubic yards of fill within a 7,150 square foot disturbed salt marsh area to provide access to a proposed single-family residence.
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: Prior to the start of construction, silt fencing will be deployed to isolate the construction site from ambient waters. The applicant proposes to avoid the remaining wetland and hammock area.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation will be required. The applicant has indicated that the mitigation proposal will be based on the Keys Restoration Fund (KRF). Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement.
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 real estate parcel number is 00104135-000000 and is not on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suitable Habitat List, dated August 2010, for Monroe County.
The project is located within American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) the designated critical habitat area. According to the 28 October 2014 American Crocodile Key, the property does not support suitable nesting habitat for the crocodile as the shoreline is heavily vegetated or hardened. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence #2 may affect, not likely to adversely affect. Therefore, the Corps has reached a “may affect not likely to adversely affect” determination on the American crocodile and its suitable nesting habitat.
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 7,150 square feet of disturbed salt marsh 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 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.
SECTION 408: The applicant will not 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 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176 or via email at Maria.I.Bezanilla@usace.army.mil (preferred) within 30 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, Maria Bezanilla, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida, 33176; by electronic mail at Maria.I.Bezanilla@usace.army.mil; by by telephone at (786) 795-1976.
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.
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 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.