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: Fincantieri Marine Systems N.A.
Attention: Ryan Smith
2060 East Adams Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located at 2060 East Adams Street, at the terminus of East Adams Street with the St. Johns River, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. There is no Section, Township, Range at this location.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Jacksonville District Office on the south bank of downtown Jacksonville, travel north over the St. Johns River on the Main Street Bridge. Take a right onto East Bay Street and continue east onto Gator Bowl Boulevard. Take a right onto Talleyrand and take an immediate right onto East Adams Street to reach the security gate.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.318632°
Basic: The basic project purpose is to improve water access of a commercial facility.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to improve water access through new dredging, maintenance dredging, movement of an existing dry dock to a new location, and installation of a dry dock at the commercial facility, Commodores Point, in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located at the Commodores Point commercial facility on the western shore of the St. Johns River. The site is located just northeast of the Hart Bridge. The shoreline is lined with an existing bulkhead constructed in the 1960s and 1980s. There is no existing submerged aquatic vegetation, marsh, or mangroves located within the project area. The surrounding project area is commercial development along the St. Johns River. The site currently accommodates six slips and one existing dry dock. The existing dry dock is 390-feet-long by 84-feet-wide. The site has been classified according to the Statewide Land Use Land Cover layer as 8150: Port Facilities and 5100: Streams and Waterways.
PROJECT HISTORY: The Corps previously authorized the following work:
1.90IPH-03767 for construction of a dock, installation of two breasting dolphins, replacement of bulkhead with associated backfill, and maintenance dredging along the shoreline on November 30, 1982. This authorization expired on November 30, 1995.
2, 89IPI-90973 for maintenance dredging to a depth of -34 feet along the Commodores Point shoreline on September 27, 1990. This authorization expired on September 27, 2000.
3. SAJ-1990-03767 Nationwide Permit 35 for maintenance dredging on October 21, 2011. This authorization expired on March 18, 2012.
4.SAJ-1990-03767 for bulkhead improvement on October 3, 2022. This authorization will expire on October 3, 2027.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for the following:
1. Proposed New Dredging Dry Dock Area: Conduct new dredging of a 169,340-square-foot area at a proposed dry dock location north of the bridge and perpendicular to the shoreline to remove 126,185-cubic-yards of sediment and rock from a 555-foot by 330-foot dredge pocket in the St. Johns River to a depth of -53 feet below Mean Low Water (MLW) [-54.2 NAVD88]. The dredging would provide adequate depth for a proposed new dry dock. The dredged material would be removed by a mechanical dredge with a clamshell and placed at the Harbour Waterway Special District Upland Disposal Site.
2. Proposed Maintenance Dredging and New Dredging North Segment: Conduct maintenance dredging and new dredging of 53,897-cubic-yards of sediment material from a 330,293-square-foot area (296,295-square-feet and 46,268-cubic-yards of maintenance dredge and 33,998-square-feet and 7,629-cubic-yards of new dredge) north of the bridge along the shoreline to a depth of -32-feet MLW [-33.2-feet NAVD88]. The north area hosts proposed maintenance dredge segments that would measure approximately 1,508-feet-long by 113-feet-wide to 153-feet-wide, 493-feet-long by 51.3-feet-wide, 301.5-feet long by 69.7-feet-wide and 328-feet-long by 150-feet-wide. The north area hosts proposed new dredge segments that would measure approximately 471.6-feet-long by 18.3-feet wide and approximately 646-feet long by 48.9-feet-wide. The dredged material would be removed by a mechanical dredge with a clamshell and placed at the Harbour Waterway Special District Upland Disposal Site.
3. Proposed Maintenance Dredging South Area: Conduct maintenance dredging of 5,403-cubic-yards of sediment from a 19,028-square-foot area south of the bridge along the shoreline to a depth of -24-feet MLW [-25.3-feet NAVD88]. The area measures 300-feet-long by 80-feet-wide. The dredged material would be removed by a mechanical dredge with a clamshell and placed at the Harbour Waterway Special District Upland Disposal Site. Historic maintenance dredging was 150-feet-wide; therefore, a portion of the dredging in this area is considered new dredging.
[The total proposed dredging amount for the dry dock, maintenance dredge, and new dredge areas (1-3 above) would be 518,661-square-feet and 185,505-cubic-yards.]
4. Placement of an existing dry dock at a new location parallel to the shore. The existing dry dock is 390-feet-long by 84-feet-wide.
5. Installation of a new 495-foot, 4-inch by 137-foot, 6-inch dry dock perpendicular to the shore. The dry dock would be self-contained with wastewater (stormwater or any water used to wash down ships as they are being repaired) collections systems that would pump off when the tanks are full and the water would be sent to a wastewater treatment facility. Electrical power will be provided to the dry dock from shore. The dry dock would have two vehicular/pedestrian ramps that would be placed in position over the water when the deck of the dry dock is above water. There would also be a rail transfer bridge that can be lowered into position to allow the ships to be pulled off the dry dock to an upland location. The dry dock would include installation of a gripper system designed to allow the ship to lower, pick up a vessel and lift the vessel above the water level for maintenance, while maintaining its location in the river. The gripper system extends approximately 7 feet from the face of the proposed dolphin piles.
6. Installation of two mooring dolphin piles related to the dry dock to maintain the ship’s location relative to the newly proposed bulkhead. The dolphin piles will also have 24' x 36' x 6' concrete caps with 13, 36-inch-diameter steel pipe piles at each dolphin (26 total piles) that would be installed by impact hammer.
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:
“Several alternatives for the orientation and location of the Dry Dock were considered. The Dry Dock orientation affects the amount of structures required to accommodate the Dry Dock. We investigated a completely offshore arrangement and a version that had the Dry Dock parallel with the bulkhead, along with various perpendicular locations along the wall. However, as we investigated each alternative location for the Dry Dock, each had limitations as to the usability of the Dry Dock. Mostly by not allowing the direct transfer of the ships onto the uplands.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“There is no need for Compensatory Mitigation because there is no impact to previously undisturbed wetlands. All of the work associated with this project is within the working are of the Shipyard that has existed on this site for many years.”
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.
The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) due to the proposed work including 189-616-cubic-yards of dredging. The Corps reviewed potential effects to the West Indian manatee using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013; however, the key is not for use in dredging over 50,000-cubic-yards of material. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). 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 > no effect as the project would not affect suitable foraging habitat. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of no effect based on that key; therefore, no additional consultation is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis) or its designated critical habitat. Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands; and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species; and, consultation with the USFWS is not required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect the Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The proposed work would include installation of 26 steel pipe piles installed by impact hammer, which does not meet the Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion. The proposed work would include new dredging, which does not meet the Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
On 18 November 2022, the Corps executed a 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 5 acres of open water and unvegetated substrate utilized by various life stages of bull shark, summer flounder, bluefish, shrimp, 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 Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the Atlantic Highly Migratory Management 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: Based on the Florida State Plane coordinates provided by the applicant, the waterward edge of the proposed structure is set back approximately 2 feet from the near edge of the federal channel. The Corps Navigation Section has objected to the proposed plans and Corps Regulatory Division is continuing coordination with Corps Navigation Section for alternatives.
SECTION 408: The applicant would 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. 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 32202 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; by electronic mail at Terri.M.Mashour@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 251-9179.
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.
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.