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: Lieutenant Colonel Brandon R. Rocker
103 Mississippi Avenue, Building 36234
Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida 32403
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect jurisdictional wetlands associated with St. Andrew Bay at the Beacon Beach Marina in Section 45, Township 4 South, Range 14 West at Tyndall Air Force Base, Bay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Tyndall Air Force Base (TAFB) Visitors Center, head west for one mile on Highway 98 and turn left on Sabre Drive. Enter the base through the Sabre Gate and continue 1.75 miles on Sabre Drive. Turn left on Prime Beef Road and continue to the T-intersection. Turn right on Beacon Beach Road. Continue east for 0.33 mile and turn left on Eagle Drive. Follow Eagle Drive for 0.1 mile and turn left on Beacon Beach Marina Road. The project is located at the end of this road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.092780°
Basic: Parking lot expansion
Overall: To improve access to the existing Marina Outdoor Recreation Facility at TAFB, Bay County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Marina Outdoor Recreation Facility, is located adjacent to the Beacon Beach Marina, south and east of the on-base housing area. The project area includes a non-tidal wetland area that is hydrologically connected to St. Andrew Bay. Vegetation in the area is maintained in a mowed condition and is dominated by herbaceous species. The project area has historically been surrounded by pavement but has maintained hydrologic flow from an area of jurisdictional wetlands to the north, across the existing drive, into the project area and then southeast to the larger wetland that is adjacent to St. Andrew Bay. There is an approximately 162-acre undeveloped natural area with boardwalks and trails located east of the marina. This area borders St. Andrew Bay and supports estuarine marsh, intertidal areas and wetland and upland habitats. The eye of Hurricane Michael passed very close to TAFB and the storm damaged or destroyed most structures on the base. The Beacon Beach Marina Facility was heavily damaged during the storm. The boat ramp and parking area remain; however, all of the previously existing buildings were destroyed.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill material in 0.20 acre of non-tidal wetlands in order to repair and expand the parking lot for the Marina Outdoor Recreation Facility and the Beacon Beach Marina.
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:
Impacts associated with the proposed project would be limited to the area surrounded by the previously existing parking lot and access road at the Marina Outdoor Recreation Facility and Beacon Beach Marina. Original project design included impacts to 1.36 acres of wetland impacts. Proposed impacts to areas adjacent to the tidal marsh on the east side of the project area were removed from the project plans.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The wetland within the project area is regularly mowed and is dominated by torpedo grass. It is entirely surrounded by an existing roadway and parking lot and received a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) score (ID) of 0.43. The proposed 0.20-ac impact would result in a Functional Loss (FL) of less than 0.1 and is not anticipated to adversely affect the surrounding existing habitat. Therefore, no compensatory mitigation is proposed.
As Lead Federal Agency, TAFB is evaluating the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Their 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.
As Lead Federal Agency, TAFB initiated consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). TAFB has determined that the proposed actions may affect and is likely to adversely affect the endangered plant telephus spurge (Euphorbia telephioides). By letter dated March 25, 2020, the USFWS concurred with this determination and concluded that the Action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the E. telephioides. Consultation for listed species is complete and concurrence of effects determinations have been received. No further consultation is required.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): There is no Essential Fish Habitat within the project area. No consultation is required.
Navigation: The proposed structure is not located in the vicinity of a federal navigation 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. 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 Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407, 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, Tracey Wheeler, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407; by electronic mail at email@example.com; or, by telephone at (850)287-0138.
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.
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).
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved 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.