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: Four Mile Holdings, LLC
2050 W. County Highway 30A, M1-117
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Choctawhatchee Bay and River Watershed. The project site is located at 454 Hansen Road in Walton County, Florida. The proposed impacts would occur within the surface waters and wetlands adjacent to Four-Mile Creek, within Section 22, Township 1 South, Range 19 West in Freeport, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Freeport, travel west on Highway 20 to East Bay Loop Road/County Highway 83A East. Turn south (left) on East Bay Loop Road/County Highway 83A East and travel approximately 1 mile to Hansen Road. Turn east (left) on Hansen Road and travel approximately 0.30 mile to Alligator Alley. The site is located to the east of Hansen Road and Alligator Alley.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Vessel Storage Facility.
Overall: Construct a dry dock vessel storage and launching facility within the existing marine industrial area of Four-Mile Creek in Walton County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is a 23.5-acre parcel adjacent to Four-Mile Creek, which is located on the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County and consists of both uplands (15.5-acre) and wetlands (7.95-acre). The wetlands are situated along and adjacent to Four-Mile Creek and are typical of riparian wetlands associated with stream and riverine systems. The on-site wetland vegetation includes Tupelo (Nyssa spp.), wetland oaks (Quercus spp.), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), red maple (Acer rubrum), and Cypress (Taxodium spp.). According to the NRCS soil map, the peri-jurisdictional area is underlain by Dorovan (hydric) and Foxworth (non-hydric), and Pamlico (hydric) soil types. The upland portion of the parcel has been mowed but is undeveloped. This section of Four-Mile Creek is an industrial zoned area in the City of Freeport that has historically been used by barge transport associated with various types of industrial operations. The surrounding area includes several existing industrial operations such as the Freeport Shipyard, Cemex Operations, and Murphy Oil Depot.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a series of floating docks in addition to a navigation channel connecting Four-Mile Creek to a proposed dry stack vessel storage facility in uplands. Specifically, the impacts would consist of dredging 9,863 cubic yards of material below the mean high-water line (MHWL), including 0.58-acre of wetlands to a depth of -10 feet at mean high water, and filling 0.06-acre of wetlands for the installation of sheet pilings within the channel. The excavated and dredged material would be placed in an upland disposal area with no return water into waters of the United States. The temporary docks will extend along the water’s edge to allow for temporary mooring of boats during the launching and loading process and to allow boat users to embark and disembark. No permanent slips are proposed. The facility would also include amenities within the upland area such as buildings for boat service and sales, areas for lift truck travel and boat wash down racks, offices for marina operations, a ship store to service customers, dockside fuel service for boats and lift trucks, restrooms, stormwater facilities, and customer vehicle and trailer parking.
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:
Wetland impacts have been limited to 0.64-acre out of a total of 7.95 acres of onsite wetlands. The remaining wetlands (7.31 acres) will be undisturbed. Additionally, floating turbidity curtains would be utilized to minimize turbidity outside the immediate dredge and construction areas. Silt fencing would be utilized to prevent sediment runoff to nearby wetland areas.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The applicant proposes to purchase 0.50 palustrine forested mitigation bank credits from the Nokuse Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL 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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) and the following species of swimming sea turtles: green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta). 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.
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 0.64-acre of emergent wetlands utilized by various life stages of red drum, reef fish, coastal migratory pelagic and shrimp. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 25 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal 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 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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502, 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, Steve Andrews Jr., in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32502; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at 850-433-8160; or, by telephone at 850-439-0707.
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.
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.
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 Florida 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.