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: David Sutherland
297 34th Avenue South
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Hopkins Creek Tributary. The project site is located at the terminus of Seagate Avenue into Hopkins Creek Tributary on the south side of the road, parcel number 1787450505R, Section 38, Township 2 South, Range 29 East, Jacksonville Beach, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Downtown Jacksonville, travel east onto Atlantic Boulevard. At the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and A1A, take a right and travel south onto A1A. Take a right and travel right onto Seagate Avenue. The site is located at the terminus of Seagate Avenue into the Hopkins Creek Tributary on the south side of the road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.304247°
Basic: Shoreline stabilization.
Overall: Shoreline stabilization at a private residence at the terminus of Seagate Avenue into the Hopkins Creek Tributary on the south side of Seagate Avenue.
a. Existing Conditions: The wetland system consists of an estuarine system. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of a residence that is under construction. The Corps has verified that the project site location is located in tidal waters within jurisdiction of the Corps 404 program.
b. Vegetative Communities: On-site vegetative communities were classified using the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS, 1999). The on-site wetlands were flagged pursuant to U.S. Army Corps of Engineering (USACE) criteria. The on-site wetlands are classified as follows:
i. Mixed Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 438) 0.27 acre – Vegetation within on-site uplands includes live oaks (Quercus virginiana), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), and southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). A single-family residence is currently under construction on the property.
ii. Saltwater Marshes (FLUCFCS 642) 0.02 acre– The project area includes a marsh community associated with a tributary of Hopkins Creek. This community is dominated by a mix of black needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) and sand cord grass (Spartina alterniflora).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to install a bulkhead structure into waters of the United States (mud flats and open, tidal water). The applicant also seeks authorization to backfill 97-cubic-yards of fill over 0.2 acres of waters of the United States (mudflats and open, tidal water). The bulkhead would be made of 2-inch marine grade pressure treated wood that would be 12-inches-wide and 117-feet-long and installed by jetting and utilization of a vibratory hammer. The proposed wall would be placed approximately 7-feet waterward of the mean high-water line. The bulkhead would include installation of an integrated tieback system into the uplands.
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 is necessary in order to stabilize the bank which is located within 20 feet of the side of the residence. This seawall will not only eliminate potential siltation into the waterway but will protect the home from storm driven tides and wave action. The seawall can’t be located any further landward based on the proximity of the home and the need to install tie backs to prevent potential bowing or wall collapse. The site was selected as it was the only lot available to the owner at the time of purchase within the vicinity that provided the necessary acreage and that didn’t require even more wetland impact. The owner of the property restricted wetland impacts to only those necessary to allow for protection of the property and the waterway. The location of the seawall squares off the lot and provides the room necessary for proper construction techniques, such as tie back installation. Other site plans considered by the owner was to place the driveway and garage along the western edge of the site, necessitating more fill to allow for the proper stabilization required for nonstatic loads and for the installation of a backyard pool, which would have required more fill to be brought in. Considering these alternatives our client is proposing the alternative that provides for the least amount of impacts to onsite wetlands.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The applicant would purchase 0.02 credits of salt marsh credits from North Florida Saltwater Marsh Mitigation Bank.”
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.
a. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus). The work proposed would result in the installation of a structure with backfill of 3-feet – 7-feet of the Hopkins Creek Tributary. However, the impacts to saltmarsh vegetation would be discountable. Use of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Manatee Key Florida, April 2013 resulted in the sequence A > B > C > G > N > O > P4 > may affect, not likely to adversely affect. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.
b. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). The project site is within the 13-mile United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) North Florida core foraging area for a Wood Stork nesting colony. The Corps evaluated potential effects to Wood Stork using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008. Use of this key resulted in the sequential determination A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect, as the project would affect less than 0.5 acres of suitable foraging habitat. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.
c. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps utilized the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key January 25, 2010, addendum August 13, 2013, which resulted in the sequence A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect as there are no gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped or injured during project activities. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.
d. The Corps has determined the proposal may affect, but would be not likely to adversely affect the Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). However, the proposed work does not fall under the Jacksonville Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) due to the proposed bulkhead extending waterward 3-feet to 7-feet into Hopkins Creek Tributary and the JAXBO limit for new seawalls and footers 1.5 feet. The Corps will request initiation of consultation under the Supersede process with the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
e. On 21 April 2022, the Corps executed a Resources at Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed threatened or endangered species, other than those mentioned above. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed, threatened, or endangered species, other than those mentioned above.
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 0.02 acre of open water/mud flats utilized by various life stages of shrimp, snapper/grouper complex, and spiny lobster. 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.
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 Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207 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, Terri M. Mashour, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207; by electronic mail at Terri.M.Mashour@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 570-4512.
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: 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 and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
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.
EQUEST 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.