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: Jacksonville Port Authority
Attn: Mr. James Bennett
2831 Talleyrand Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32206
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located at 9790 August Drive in Sections 22 and 23, Township 1 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 362A. Proceed onto Interate-295 and take Exit 41. Take a left (east) on Heckscher Drive. Proceed until the intersection of August Drive and turn right. The project is at the end of the roadway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.405886°
Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline stabilization.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the stabilization at an eroded area along the St. Johns River at the Jacksonville Port Authority.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is a riverine saltwater system known as the St. Johns River. The estuarine wetlands are sparsely vegetated with saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) and salt grass (Distichlis spicata). The area surrounding the project site consists of an existing port facility.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 422 cubic yards of clean-fill material (riprap) into 0.046-acres of estuarine wetlands and 0.43-acres of surface waters to facilitate the stabilization of 700 feet of shoreline. In addition, the applicant would excavate 1,721 cubic yards of sediment to a depth of -6.8 feet below the mean low water line from 0.15 acres of the aquatic substrate within the St. Johns River. The dredged material would be dewatered on site and then used as backfill for the construction of the revetment. The unused excess dredged material would be stored at Bartram Island.
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 project has been sited to avoid salt marsh impacts to the maximum extent practicable, with mitigation proposed for unavoidable impacts. There are also no new slips (temporary/permanent), no new access to water, or fishing piers proposed. All activities will adhere to guidelines set forth in the state and federal environmental permits including best management practices to prevent violation of state water quality
standards. All in-water activities will follow Standard Manatee Construction Conditions for In-Water Work, Sea Turtle & Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, Vessel Strike Avoidance Measures, and applicable JAXBO PDCs. See the Permit Drawings, Extra Sheet Block 23, and the Supplemental Information for details.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The applicant has offered to purchase mitigation bank credits from a bank with the appropriate credit type and a service area encompassing the project site.
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 Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta),
hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris). The Corps utilized programmatic biological opinion for a determination on the Wood Stork and West Indian manatee. The Corps used the Jacksonville Biological Opinion supersede process for a determination on sea turtles, smalltooth sawfish, and sturgeons. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service previously indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the programmatic keys; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
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 0.476 acres of aquatic substrate utilized by various life stages of shrimp, grouper, and snapper species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns 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 more than 500 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel. The Corps has initiated consultation with the Navigation Section.
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, 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.
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.
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS concerning this application or potential authorization of the work should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at Brad.J.Carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days from the date of this notice.
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 may be required from the certifying authority.
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.