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:
APPLICANT: Parasailing-Destin.com, LLC
c/o Jason Schilder
326 Mountain Drive
Destin, FL 32541
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Santa Rosa Sound. The project is located at 165 Brooks Street SE, in Section 24, Township 2 South, Range 24 West, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Fort Walton Beach, go east on Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast/US Highway 98 past the intersection at Beal Parkway. Turn south on Brooks Street SE and follow the curve to the east approximately 0.3 miles. The site is located to the south along the shoreline.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Overall: Construct a commercial marina on Santa Rosa Sound, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is comprised of a vacant 0.96-acre forested upland waterfront lot with a 196-linear foot natural shoreline. Water depths at the site range from 0 to -12 feet NAVD. A large continuous bed of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is located at the project site in water depths of -1 to -7 feet NAVD and comprised of Halodule wrightii and Ruppia maritima. The site is surrounded by multi-family residential and commercial developments to the north, east and west; Brooks Street SE to the north; and Santa Rosa Sound to the south.
The applicant had SAV surveys conducted in 2019 and October 2021 and the limits of both are shown on the project drawings. A jurisdictional wetland assessment was also conducted in 2019 and no wetlands were found on the site. A mean high water line (MHWL) survey was conducted in 2021.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a 9-slip commercial marina designed to allow for the mooring of up to 29 vessels (with anticipated lengths of 22 to 60-feet). The facility would primarily support the rental of pontoon boats, but is designed to allow for flexible mooring areas that can also accommodate other vessels such as charter boats, catamarans, etc. The docking structure would consist of a 6-foot by 86-foot access pier with 12-foot by 8-foot platform, an 8-foot by 133-foot walkway, two 6-foot by 53-foot catwalks, two 4-foot by 53-foot catwalks, and 16 mooring pilings. A portion of the access pier and slip #9 would be located over seagrass; the access pier and platform would be constructed of grated decking. The proposed work also includes the installation of three sections of riprap revetment (total of 135 linear feet) along the shoreline for protection against further erosion. The riprap would consist of 200 cubic yards of material placed within an 1800 square foot area and would not extend further than 10-feet waterward of the MHWL. Riprap would be installed a minimum of 5-feet from existing seagrass beds. No dredging, fueling systems, permanent sewage pump-out systems, or live-a-board slips are proposed.
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:
“While submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitats are documented within the project area, the docking facility layout incorporates significant avoidance and minimization to minimize potential impacts to the greatest extent practicable. Most notably, the primary access pier, allowing access from the shoreline to the rest of the docking facility, utilizes the least impactful corridor based on the 2021 SAV survey. This primary access pier will feature grated decking to minimize shading and will be 4.5 ft above the MHWL. Timber handrails shall also be installed along both sides of the primary access ramp to deter vessel mooring above seagrass beds. Wrapped timber piles will be used in all locations, with 6 piles sited so as to deter mooring over seagrass beds (along with “Caution Seagrass” signage on these piles). Proposed flexible, temporary mooring areas are located on the northeast side of the docking facility layout above existing SAV. This temporary mooring area’s depth is a minimum of 5 feet. This area will be used primarily for temporary loading/unloading of passengers in order to minimize shading of the SAV. Notably, the slip located over seagrass habitat has been reduced in size to ensure only a single vessel would be moored over seagrass at any given time.
The proposed riprap locations target areas of bare sand void of seagrasses or any other significant natural resources. All impacts to the Santa Rosa Sound associated with the proposed erosion protection measures are correlated with unvegetated surface waters and a 5-ft buffer from any seagrass beds will be maintained at all times. Additionally, all activities will adhere to guidelines set forth in the state and federal environmental permits including best management practices to prevent violation of state water quality standards at the project site. During construction, contractor will install turbidity barriers around the immediate work area to ensure that turbid waters do not escape the project area. The erosion control measures shall be maintained and shall remain in place until all construction is complete and turbidity levels in the project area meet regulatory standards. A biologist will assist the contractor in locating and marking seagrass bed edges prior to construction to ensure existing aquatic resources are protected.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Due to the nature of the project, the applicant did not offer compensatory mitigation.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of recorded historic resources within or adjacent to the permit area and 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 would not likely adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) as determined using the 2013 Manatee Key, following couplets A > B > C > G > H > I > J> L > N > O > P. The Corps has also determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request 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 on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996. The proposal would impact 0.03-acre of estuarine intertidal and subtidal unconsolidated bottom due to the installation of riprap and 0.06-acre of estuarine subtidal unconsolidated bottom due to shading, utilized by various life stages of 3 shark species (blacktip, bull, and spinner), four shrimp species (brown, white, pink, Royal red), coastal migratory pelagic species, red drum, and 43 species of reef fish. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries. 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 75 feet away from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway federal channel.
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.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823, ext. 3.
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.
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) and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
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.