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: Port of Palm Beach District
Attn.: Ronald Coddington
One East 11th Street, Suite 600
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Intracoastal Waterway. The project site is located at One East 11th Street, Section 33, Township 42 South, and Range 43 East, Riviera Beach, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: To improve water access.
Overall: To improve water access at an existing port berth (Berth #1), at the Port of Palm Beach, in Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located at to the Port of Palm Beach on a corner adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and Palm Beach Inlet, which are tidal waters assessable to fish and aquatic wildlife species as well as federally listed species such as manatees, sea turtles, smalltooth sawfish, and giant manta rays. A bathymetric survey reported that the water depths at this project site are at -25 feet NAVD88. The Corps did not request a benthic survey, as these depths are not suitable habitat for resources, such as seagrasses and corals. Furthermore, these depths are a result of dredging operations that were previously authorized under the same file number.
The project site is located at Berth #1, which is 1 of a total of 17 berthing areas at the port. Berth #1 currently consists of two berthing spaces for vessels.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to install a 7,840 square foot L-shaped concrete floating dock with a 400 square foot gangway. The dock would create an additional 4 berthing areas (6 total) to accommodate vessels 100 – 250 feet length overall (LOA).
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:
• Turbidity curtains would be used during construction;
• Applicant would adhere to the Standard Manatee Conditions.
• Steel piles would be installed via vibratory hammer
• Navigation warning lights to be installed around the perimeter of the dock
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –
The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The project would not result in adverse impacts to aquatic resources.
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), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), and Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtles, Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), the Giant Manta Ray (Mobula birostris) and the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis). 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 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 0.16 of an acre of barren submerged bottom 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 project would occur within the setback of a federal navigation channel.
SECTION 408: The applicant will require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, would 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 33410 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 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, Christian Karvounis, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by e-mail at Christian.G.Karvounis@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561)472-3508.
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.
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.