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 Sections 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management
Attn.: Deborah Drum
2300 North Jog Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States located in the Atlantic Ocean, in Palm Beach County within the 31.5-acre area specified below:
NW Corner 26.4533133°, -80.0510000°
SW Corner 26.4481000°, -80.0510000°
NE Corner 26.4533133°, -80.0488167°
SE Corner 26.4480650°, -80.0488850°
Basic: The basic project purpose is to enhance offshore fisheries.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to enhance offshore fisheries in Palm Beach County, Florida.
PERMITTING HISTORY: On September 14, 2018, the Corps issued a Standard Permit to construct a new artificial reef site, referred to as Delray Dredge Hole. The 31.5-acre reef site is offshore of Delray Beach in Palm Beach County. The site is located in depths of -60 feet to -90 feet Mean Low Water (MLW) and -63 feet to -93 feet Mean High Water (MHW). A minimum clearance of 40 feet from the top of the deployed material relative to MLW shall be maintained for the artificial reef site.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Delray Dredge Hole Site is a sand borrow pit where sand was excavated in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The site has a maximum depth of 90 feet and the surrounding area is 60-50 feet deep, resulting in a hole that is approximately 40
acres in size. Any material placed in this area would create habitat for marine fish
and other benthic species.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks a 5-year time extension to continue to carry out reef deployment within the previously authorized 31.5-acre area. Currently, only 0.2 acre of the area is occupied by artificial reef.
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:
1. An environmental resource survey depicting the exact location of the artificial
reef site, locations of observed resources and a stability analysis shall be
submitted 30 days prior to commencement of the artificial reef deployment.
2. All artificial reef material will be placed in unvegetated sandy bottom locations
void of all environmental resources including but not limited to seagrass and
3. All reef materials shall be clean concrete or rock, other clean heavy gauge
steel products with a thickness of ¼ inch or greater, and prefabricated structures that are a mixture of clean concrete and heavy gauge steel.
4. All reef materials shall be cleaned so that they are free of soils, oils and
greases, debris, litter, putrescible substances or other pollutants.
5. At no time shall the distance between the top of the reef and the surface of the water be less than 40 feet. Reef construction shall not occur in a shipping lane or navigation channel.
6. The deployment site shall be clearly marked with buoys before and during material placement to insure containment within the permitted site.
7. Placement of reef material shall be accomplished through the use of tugs and/or barges as the situation requires.
8. Materials used shall be long lasting and of sufficient weight and form to resist migration across the bottom even during severe storm conditions.
9. Material deployment will only be conducted when wave heights are less than 10-feet and short term (day) weather forecasts are favorable.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has not offered compensatory mitigation at this time, as there are no proposed impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation or corals.
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), Swimming Sea turtles: (green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s
Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea),
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta
caretta)); smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata); Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nearshore
Reproductive Critical Habitat; Loggerhead Sea Turtle Foraging Critical Habitat;
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Breeding Critical Habitat, 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 and the 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 31.5 acres of marine substrate 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 a federal navigation channel. Additionally, a minimum clearance of 40 feet from the top of the deployed material relative to MLW would 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 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.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
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 Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 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, FL 33410; by electronic 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. 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.
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