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:
Town of Fort Myers Beach
c/o Chadd Chustz
2525 Estero Boulevard
Ft. Myers Beach, Florida 33931
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Gulf of Mexico and Matanzas Pass ebb shoal. The project site includes the Gulf of Mexico shoreline lying approximately between C-174A and R-198 and between R-203 and R-207 on Estero Island. The project site is located in Sections 23 and 24 Township 46 South, Range 23 East, and Sections 19, 28, 29, 30 and 33 Township 46 South, Range 24 East, in Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 South take Exit 131 onto Daniels Parkway, heading west. Turn left onto Tamiami Trail, also known as Cleveland Avenue and U.S. 41. Continue for approximately one mile before turning right onto Gladiolus Drive. Continue for approximately one mile before merging left onto Summerlin Road via the ramp to Ft. Myers Beach. After approximately four miles, turn left onto San Carlos Boulevard. Continue to Ft. Myers Beach.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Beach renourishment
Overall: To renourish approximately 6 miles of shoreline on Estero Island, Lee County Florida over a 15-year period.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Project consists of a beach and nearshore coastal saltwater system. Estero Island is fully developed and includes single family, multi-family, and condominium residences; three Lee County beach parks and one Town beach park; and commercial development. The beach within the project area is publicly accessible. Structures along Estero Island include the terminal groin adjacent to Matanzas Pass, seawalls, revetments, and dune walkovers.
A dune system is present along some sections of the beach fill areas. The most commonly observed dune vegetation species include sea oats (Uniola paniculata), Dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis var. vestitus), panic grass (Panicum amarum), and
Railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae). New dune plantings will be installed at grade along segments of shoreline that receive beach fill and do not currently have dune vegetation.
The Project includes a nearshore borrow area located within the Matanzas Pass ebb shoal complex in state waters, which was utilized for prior restoration on the beach fill areas. The sediment from the ebb shoal borrow area is characterized by medium to fine-grained gray sand, which contains low silt concentrations less than 5%. A compatibility analysis was completed comparing the native beach data and borrow area data which indicates that the sand from the borrow area is compatible with the native beach sand. Sediment pipeline corridors have been mapped from the nearshore borrow area to each beach fill area. Detailed cultural resource geophysical surveys and biological surveys were conducted. The corridors have been thoroughly surveyed for depth, sonar targets, and magnetic anomalies, and sited to avoid potential cultural resource targets. There are no hardbottom resources or seagrass beds adjacent to or within the beach fill areas, nearshore borrow area, and pipeline corridors.
The Project includes an offshore borrow area located on the Outer Continental Shelf in federal waters. The sediment from the offshore borrow areas is characterized by medium to fine-grained gray sand, which contains low silt concentrations less than 3%. A compatibility analysis was completed comparing the native beach data and borrow area data which indicates that the sand from the borrow area is compatible with the native beach sand. There are no hardbottom resources or seagrass beds adjacent to the offshore borrow area.
Inland sand mines within the vicinity of the project area including but are not limited to Stewart Mining Industries’ Immokalee Mine, Vulcan Materials Company’s Witherspoon Mine, E.R. Jahna Industries’ Ortona Mine, and CEMEX Lake Wales Mine are proposed to address hot-spot maintenance and assist with post-storm recovery efforts over the 15-year permit duration.
BACKGROUND: The original restoration project took place in 2011. Approximately 403,000 cubic yards (CY) of sand were excavated and placed in the beach fill area between C-174A and R-182. A terminal groin was constructed in the vicinity of C-174A. The Corps permit SAJ-2000-03017 (IP-MN), dated February 24, 2004, authorized beach restoration of Estero Island.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for periodic beach renourishment of Estero Island for a 15-year period. The applicant proposes additions to the previously permitted work to include the following:
- North Beach Area: Provide routine beach renourishment; raise berm elevation to account for sea level change.
- Central (R-182 to R-198) and South (R-203 to R-207) Beach Fill Areas: Add new Beach Fill Areas; Provide initial restoration and routine beach renourishment.
- Borrow Area: Expand previously permitted dredge limits westerly approximately 300 feet; remove three original avoidance areas that were culturally cleared and received concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Office.
- Sediment Pipeline Corridors: Add new Sediment Pipeline Corridors from Borrow Area to Beach Fill Areas.
- Upland sand quarries: Add inland mines to provide beach compatible sand for future hot-spot maintenance and post-storm recovery.
The beach fill limits extend from approximately C-174A to R-198 and from approximately R-203 to R-207. The volume proposed for the event is approximately 1,092,000 CY. Future renourishment volumes will be based upon monitoring results of Project performance, and are anticipated to be 700,000 CY per event.
Two construction methods for excavation of the offshore borrow area are proposed including the hydraulic cutterhead dredge and scow barge method and the hopper dredge method. One construction method, specifically the hydraulic cutterhead dredge direct discharge method, is proposed for excavation of the nearshore borrow area.
For all three methods (hopper, cutterhead-scow barge, cutterhead-direct), the dredged sediment will be transported through the submerged sediment pipeline which will exit the Gulf and come onto the dry beach, then discharged into the fill template, where it will be graded using conventional earth moving equipment. Multiple booster pumps may be required for the process.
The corridors do not require any excavation for pipeline installation, as the weighted sediment discharge pipelines will be placed directly on the sea floor. Anchoring limits shall be confined to the areas that have been surveyed and culturally cleared.
The in-water work will be conducted using barge/vessel-based heavy equipment (vessel draft: 3 feet to 7 feet offshore, 3 feet to 4 feet inshore) with no blasting. The land-based work for beach fill construction, hot-spot maintenance, upland sand truck hauls, and maintenance grading would be conducted by bulldozers, excavators, front-end loaders, dump trucks, and off-road vehicles.
Work will be conducted 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Work is proposed to be conducted during sea turtle nesting season for the North and Central Beach Fill Areas. No work is proposed for the South Beach Fill Area during the main part of shorebird nesting season and sea turtle nesting season (May 1 through October 30).
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 applicant has designed the project to have a net increase in improved beach habitat. There will be no impacts to hardbottom resources or seagrass beds.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required. The project will result in a net increase of enhanced dry beach habitat. Environmental protection plans are proposed to implement best management practices during nesting season.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. 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 determined the proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the endangered West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), endangered red knot (Calidris canutus), and the endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus). The Corps has also determined that the proposed project may affect the threatened/endangered nesting sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys coriacea, Caretta caretta). The Corps will initiate ESA consultation as required with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the above listed species.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect the threatened/endangered swimming sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys coriacea, Caretta caretta). The Corps has also determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect, the endangered smalltooth sawfish
(Pristis pectinata) and Giant manta ray (Manta birostris). The Corps will initiate ESA consultation as required with the National Marine Fisheries Service for the above listed species.
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. 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.
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.
BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT (BOEM): A lease for use of Federal sand resourcesfrom the Outer Continental Shelf Lease Block 606 is required from BOEM. If you have any questions concerning the lease application, you may contact Brian Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please furnish BOEM a copy of all public notice comments. Copies can be emailed to Tershara Matthews, Chief, Office of Emerging Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at Tershara.Matthews@boem.gov.
Note: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has sole regulatory authority over the use of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand resources and conveyance on the OCS under the OCS Lands Act. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) requires a permit for all other aspects of the project, including dredging of any state water bottom areas, as well as conveyance and placement of sand resources. BOEM and the Corps are working collaboratively to ensure effective implementation of the required National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) process, the required Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultations, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act Essential Fish Habitat consultation (Section 305), the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process, and the Coastal Zone Management Act Section 307 consistency determination.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida, 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.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Stephen Fleming, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 310, Fort Myers, FL 33919; by electronic mail at Stephen.J.Fleming@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at 239-334-1975 x0003.
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, aesthetics, 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.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The project is being reviewed under FDEP application no. 0413684-001-JC.
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.