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: Lee County Natural Resources Division
c/o Michael Campbell
1500 Monroe Street
Ft. Myers, Florida 33901
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Gulf of Mexico and Blind Pass, between Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Roosevelt Channel. The project site includes the Gulf of Mexico shoreline between R-110 and R-118 on Sanibel Island. The project site is located in Sections 2, 11, 13, and 14, Township 46 South, Range 21 East, in Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 S or N, take Exit 131 toward Cape Coral, merge onto Daniels Parkway, turn left onto 6 Mile Cypress Parkway, continue onto Gladiolus Drive, merge onto County Road 869 S/Summerlin Road via the ramp to Ft Myers Beach/Sanibel/Captiva, continue on Summerlin Road, continue onto McGregor Boulevard, continue onto Sanibel Causeway, continue onto Causeway Boulevard, turn right onto Periwinkle Way, slight right onto Palm Ridge Road, continue onto Sanibel Captiva Road, continue onto Blind Pass Bridge, destination will be on the left.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.48515°
Basic: Inlet maintenance and beach renourishment
Overall: To maintenance dredge the Blind Pass Channel, sediment basin, and the connection to Roosevelt Channel and renourish approximately 1.5 miles shoreline on Sanibel Island, Lee County Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Project consists of an inlet and nearshore coastal saltwater system. The Blind Pass channel runs between Sanibel and Captiva Islands and extends from the nearshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico, under the Sanibel-Captiva Bridge, and generally northeast toward the junction with Roosevelt Channel. The beach fill area is located on the downdrift side of the inlet and extends over 7,500 feet along the Sanibel Island shoreline between R-110 and R-118. Within the northern half of the beach fill area, the upland area is developed with single and multi-family homes and commercial development with direct access to the beach. Coastal armoring was recently installed in the vicinity of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Reference Monument R-111 due to critical erosion threatening the evacuation route. There are no hardbottom resources adjacent to or within the beach fill area. Seagrass beds are located adjacent to the interior channel.
The southern half of the beach fill area is undeveloped but is a heavily used recreational area. A dune system is present along some sections of the shoreline. The most commonly observed dune vegetation species include sea oats (Uniola paniculata), sea purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), and salt-grass (Distichlis spicata). The sediment from the channel is characterized by medium to fine-grained gray sand, which contains low silt concentrations less than 5%.
BACKGROUND: The original Corps permit SAJ-2006-3865 (IP-MFN), dated July 28, 2008, authorized maintenance dredging of Blind Pass and Roosevelt Channel and beach nourishment from R-112 to R-114. Subsequent Corps Permit SAJ-2006-03865 (IP-LBD), dated January 17, 2012, authorized dredging a sediment basin adjacent to the channel and beach nourishment between R-116 to R-118, with a modification dated January 8, 2016, extending the expiration date to January 17, 2019.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for periodic maintenance dredging of the Blind Pass Channel, sediment basin, and the connection to Roosevelt Channel for a 15-year period. The dredging limits extend from approximately 1,000 feet seaward of the bridge into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately 3,500 feet landward of the bridge into the interior waters. The channel width varies from 285 feet in the Gulf, to 100 feet at the bridge, to 46 feet in the interior waters. The maximum dredge elevation varies from -11 feet NAVD88 over a 2,150-foot long segment from the Gulf into the interior waters, to -10 feet NAVD88 over a 350-foot interior waters segment, to -9 feet NAVD88 over the remaining interior waters segments including Roosevelt Channel. The sand placement area on Sanibel Island extends from R-110 to R-118. It is estimated over 120,000 cubic yards will be available for dredging within the dredge template per maintenance event. The method for excavation and sand placement is a hydraulic cutterhead dredge with a direct sediment pipeline.
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 applicant has designed the project to avoid impacts to seagrass beds adjacent to the channel. The applicant has designed the project to have a net increase in improved beach habitat. Beach fill placement shall not occur during the sea turtle nesting season, May 1st through October 31st, inclusive, of any year.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required. No compensatory mitigation is required for maintenance dredging of a previously dredged channel. The project will result in a net increase of enhanced dry beach habitat. Compensatory mitigation is not warranted for the proposed project as the adjacent seagrass beds will not be disturbed.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. 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 determined the proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the endangered West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), endangered red knot (Calidris canutus), and the endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus). The Corps has also determined that the proposed project may affect the threatened/endangered nesting sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys coriacea, Caretta caretta). The Corps will initiate ESA consultation as required with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the above listed species.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect the threatened/endangered swimming sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys coriacea, Caretta caretta). The Corps has also determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect, the endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will initiate ESA consultation as required with the National Marine Fisheries Service for the above listed species.
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 10.0 acres of marine habitat utilized by various life stages of Penaeid Shrimp Complex, Reef fish (various spp.), Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria), Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus), Migratory/Pelagic fish (various spp.), 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 Blind Pass and Roosevelt Channel. 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 over two miles from the near bottom edge of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel. The proposed work will temporarily impact the navigable capacity of the channel; however, work will not preclude the movement of vessels within the entire channel and navigation will be maintained.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida, 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, Stephen Fleming, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 310, Fort Myers, FL 33919; by electronic mail at Stephen.J.Fleming@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at 239-334-1975 x0003.
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, aesthetics, 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. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
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 Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The project is being reviewed under FDEP application no. 0265943-009-JN.
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.