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: City of Port St. Lucie
121 SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34984
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the City of Port St. Lucie D-11 Drainage Canal and the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. The project site is located east of SE Coral Reef Street and within the east to west ditch located west of SE Coral Reef Street, east of SE Floresta Drive, south of Evergreen Terrace and north of SE Chaloupe Avenue, in Section 34, Township 36 South, Range 40 East, in Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-95 to exit 120 onto Crosstown Parkway. Turn right on Crosstown Parkway and continue east for 5.6 miles. Turn left onto SE Floresta Drive and continue for 0.1 miles. Turn right onto SE Chaloupe Avenue and continue for 0.4 miles. Turn left onto SE Coral Reef Street and the destination will be on the right and the left.
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Eastern terminus of proposed improvements
Western terminus of proposed improvements
Basic: Erosion reduction and public safety
Overall: Improve the existing drainage system within the City of Port St. Lucie D-11 Drainage Canal to reduce downstream erosion and sedimentation, in Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project is located within a 2.5 acres area of uplands and waters within and adjacent to the D-11 Drainage Canal. The Corps conducted a site visit to verify the existing conditions on February 25, 2022. The width of the existing drainage canal from SE Floresta Drive to SE Bay Harbor varies in width from 10 feet to 22 feet wide and from SE Bay Harbor to SE Coral Reef Street the canal varies from 7 feet wide to 18 feet wide. The design width of the drainage canal is 10 feet wide.
The western D-11 Drainage Canal starting at SE Floresta Drive and extending 480 feet east, is maintained and an open water freshwater canal, with minimal littoral vegetation. Depths within this portion of the canal, were unable to be determined due to turbidity within the waters. The eastern part of the canal, starting 480 feet east of SE Floresta Drive and extending to SE Coral Reef Street is an unmaintained drainage canal, which resembles a linear freshwater herbaceous wetland. During the site visit on February 25, 2022 Corps staff observed several species of wading birds foraging within this section of the drainage canal. Water depths ranged from 0 to 18+ inches in the deeper sections.
The D-11 Drainage canal located east of SE Coral Street and within the footprint of the existing drainage outfall is directly adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie, an Outstanding Florida Water, and a tidally influenced canal. A review of salinity data shows that there are periods of time where the water supports a saline estuary environment, but also periods within a year, where the area exhibits freshwater waters qualities. Within this area the littoral vegetation consisted of red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle); white mangroves (Languncularia racemosa), pond apple (Annona glabra), with an understory of giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium), pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata), and coinvine (Dalbergia ecastaphyllum). The observed vegetation onsite supports a dominantly freshwater system, though may be able to tolerate short periods with higher salinities. Additionally, the side slopes within this area of the canal are severely eroded and endangering the safety of the adjacent single family homes as erosion at the outfall continues. The City has made multiple attempts to mitigate the erosion issues including the placement of riprap around the outfall. However, flows out the outfall can be extremely high, and the riprap has not stopped erosion along the littoral banks.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant requests authorization to redesign the existing D-11 Drainage Canal and stormwater management system. Project includes backfilling the existing D-11 Drainage Canal from Floresta Boulevard to SE Coral Reef Street and installing a dual piped stormwater management system with inlets within the existing 10-foot-wide canal/linear wetland to increase the efficiency and management of local stormwater runoff; and to re-design the outfall into the North Fork of the St. Lucie, permanently impacting 0.07 acres of tidal mangrove wetland. Specifically, activities include:
(1) Remove the existing 100-ft long 43-inch by 68-inch pipe located under SE Coral Reef St;
(2) Install two (2) 130 foot long, 72-inch diameter culverts under SE Coral Reef St and construct a headwall with manatee grates at the eastern terminus;
(3) Place 1,886 cubic yards of clean fill within 0.55 acres of non-wetland waters within the D-11 drainage ditch starting at Floresta Boulevard and ending at SE Coral Reef Street;
(4) excavate 2,889 square feet (0.07 acres) of an existing tidal mangrove wetland (removal of 783 cubic yards);
(5) Install three seawalls east of SE Coral Reef Street at the D-11 Drainage Canal outfall measuring 109 feet long, 108 feet long, and 24 feet long and place a total of 600 cubic yards of fill behind the seawalls;
(6) Install a 31-inch wide by 241 linear foot concrete cap for the length of the three seawalls;
(7) Install 248 cubic yards of riprap, stone mattressing, and clean fill within a 3,485 square foot area within the created spillway downstream of the headwall.
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:
• Adherence to the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work – 2011
• Adherence to the Protected Species Construction Conditions (2021).
• Appropriate reporting of any collision(s) with and/or injuries to any sea turtle or sawfish occurring during project work.
• All work will occur during daylight hours.
• Turbidity curtains shall be made of material in which protected species cannot become entangled and be regularly monitored to avoid protected species entrapment.
• All turbidity curtains and other in-water equipment shall be properly secured with materials that reduce the risk of protected species entanglement and entrapment.
• In-water lines (rope, chain, and cable, including the lines to secure turbidity curtains) shall be stiff, taut, and non-looping. Examples of such lines are heavy metal chains or heavy cables that do not readily loop and tangle. Flexible in-water lines, such as nylon rope or any lines that could loop or tangle, shall be enclosed in a plastic or rubber sleeve/tube to add rigidity and prevent the line from looping and tangling. In all instances, no excess line shall be allowed in the water and no lines may drag on the bottom. All mooring/anchoring shall be in areas free from hardbottom and seagrass.
• Turbidity curtains and other in-water equipment shall be placed in a manner that does not entrap protected species within the construction area.
• Turbidity barriers shall be positioned in a way that does not block protected species’ entry to or exit from critical habitat and other important habitats, and minimizes the extent and duration of protected species’ exclusion from the project area.
• Use of clean fill/riprap boulders associated with the proposed shoreline stabilization
• Use of erosion control devices adjacent to waters to contain materials within the construction site.
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 mitigation bank credits from a federally approved mitigation bank to offset unavoidable impacts to wetlands.
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 (Trichechus manatus) swimming sea turtles: (green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)); smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata); Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The proposed project may affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana). Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Wood Stork Key dated 18 May 2010, resulted in a path of A-B-C-E for a may affect determination. Currently the applicant has not provided the required documentation for a not likely to adversely affect determination. The key (E) specifically requires the applicant to provide a compensatory mitigation plan includes suitable foraging habitat compensation in accordance with the Clean Water Act Section 4040 (b)(1) guidelines and is not contrary to the Habitat Management Guidelines; habitat compensation is within the appropriate critical foraging area or within the service area of a service approved mitigation bank; and the proposed habitat compensation replaces foraging value consisting of wetland enhancement or restoration matching the hydroperiod of the wetlands affected and provides foraging value similar or higher than the impacted wetlands. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical 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 0.08 acres of tidal mangrove habitat utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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: The proposed work is not located within the setback of a federal project. Furthermore, it will have no effect on the navigability of the adjacent channel.
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 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 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, Jerilyn Ashworth, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Jerilyn.Ashworth@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561)472-3516.
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: Water Quality Certification is required from the South Florida Water Management District. The Project was issued a water quality certification under Individual Environmental Resource Permit No.: 56-102801-P dated April 1, 2020.
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.