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:
APPLICANT: Felipe Sixto c/o Sixto Sunshine Properties LLC
5645 SW 110th Avenue
Miami Florida 33173
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Atlantic Ocean. The project site is located within the Sand subdivision in Section 25, Township 66 South, Range 29 East, Big Pine Key, Monroe County, FL 33043. (MM31)
Directions to the site are as follows: US Highway No 1 South to mile marker 31. Right at 1st Street. Right at Avenue G. Canal 295 is on the North side of the street.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 24.67404°
Basic: To improve water quality
Overall: To improve water quality in Canal 295 in Big Pine Key, Florida
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a saltwater system. The project is located perpendicular to the dredged canal system referred as Canal #295 in the Atlantic Ocean. No mangroves were identified in the project footprint. A benthic survey was performed on March 24, 2022. According to that survey, shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) is located within project footprint, and near the project area, a manatee was observed. Scattered dead Siderastrea corals were identified in a survey.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to install a 50 linear foot air curtain system at the mouth of the dredged channel consisting of steel bases with 2-12 inch membrane diffusers on each base, to install 265 linear foot permanent seaweed barrier consisting of a mesh fabric attached to a float with helical anchors every 25 feet, to install 5. 6 by 175 LF of tubing placed along the bottom for a total of 875 LF of tubing, to install 2, 24 inch diameter buoys near air curtain and seaweed barrier attached to stainless steel cable and helical anchors (consisting of 11, 8 inch disks with 1.25 shaft diameter helical anchors hand placed by diver every 25 feet along the seaweed barrier and into substrate), install 11, 6 inch beacons directly onto the permanent seaweed barrier floats and 20 LF of temporary hay bales around air compressors in the upland to prevent sedimentation in the surrounding waters or wetlands, and to temporarily deploy turbidity curtains for the duration of all in-water activities in/over waters of the United States. All construction activities will be performed via shallow draft barge from the existing dredged channel and temporary staging areas will be located within 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: Prior to the start of construction, turbidity curtains will be deployed to isolate the construction site from ambient waters. These will remain in place until all
construction induced turbidity has subsided and water quality has returned to pre-construction conditions. The applicant agrees to comply with the “Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work – 2011”. The applicant agrees to comply with the “Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions”.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If it is determined that the issuance of a DA permit is appropriate, mitigation will be required. The applicant has indicated that the mitigation proposal will be based on the Keys Restoration Fund (KRF). Time lag and risk will be a required component of any mitigation requirement.
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) or its designated critical habitat. This determination partially was based on the implementation of the Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) species. A no effect determination was reached on Acorpora sp. and its critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, Mycetophyllia ferox). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The project is located within American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) the designated critical habitat area. According to the 28 October 2014 American Crocodile Key, the property does not support suitable nesting habitat for the crocodile. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence #2 may affect, not likely to adversely affect. Therefore, the Corps has reached a “may affect not likely to adversely affect” determination on the American crocodile and its suitable nesting habitat.
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 1.34 acres of submerged bottom utilized by various life stages of marine life. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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 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 Florida Keys Permits Section 9900 Southwest 107 Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida, 33176, within 21 days from the date of this notice (i.e. on or before November 29, 2022)
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, Maena C Angelotti, in writing at the Florida Keys Permits Section 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida, 33176; by electronic mail at Maena.C.Angelotti@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (305)-526-7183.
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 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.