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 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
Manatee County Port Authority
300 Tampa Bay Way, Suite 1
Palmetto, Florida 34221
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Tampa Bay. The project site is located at 300 Tampa Bay Way, in Section 1, Township 35 South, Range 17 East, Palmetto, Manatee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Approaching via US 41 from the north, turn right on Piney Point Road, 9.1 miles past College Avenue in Ruskin. Travel northwesterly on Piney Point Road for approximately 0.42 miles and turn left into the SeaPort Manatee entrance.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Overall: Maintenance dredging of accumulated sediments at the existing berths of SeaPort Manatee.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is an existing deep-water seaport that services cargo vessels and acts a distribution point for materials along the eastern seaboard. The port area includes 10-berths that have been continually maintained to provide ingress/egress of vessels. Sediments accumulate within the berthing areas as part of the natural marine processes as well as shoaling from tropical storm events.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to removal accumulated sediments from non-federal berthing areas to previously authorized depths. Sediment will be removed from ten (10) berthing areas (Berths 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14). It is expected that up to 50,000 cubic yards may be removed during each maintenance event. Dredged material will be disposed in uplands. The applicant would like to request a 10-year permit to cover multiple cycles of maintenance dredging (approximately 6 events; regular maintenance cycles with 3-year intervals and the possibility of 2 off-cycle events for tropical storm impacts).
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: Dredging is limited to previously authorized and constructed areas and discharge is in the historically used upland diked dredged material management facility, same as for prior events and the original construction dredging.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The proposed project will not have an adverse impact on aquatic resources in the area therefore no mitigation is offered.
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, Smalltooth sawfish, swimming sea turtles. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife and 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 25 acres of open water-unconsolidated bottom utilized by various life stages of Penaeid shrimp complex/Red drum/ Reef fish/Stone crab/Spiny lobster/Migratory-pelagic fish/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 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 activity is adjacent to the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway Federal channel.
SECTION 408: The applicant may require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, is adjacent to 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave., Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 or via email to Peter.T.Romano@usace.army.mil 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, Candice Wheelahan, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave., Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at Peter.T.Romano@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7060; or, by telephone at (813)769-7072.
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: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Permitting.
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.