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: Buckeye Partners, L.P.
Attention: David Martin
2617 Zoo Parkway
Jacksonville, Florida 32226
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located in the St. Johns River at 2617 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville, Florida 32226.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Downtown Jacksonville, travel east on East Union Street toward North Ocean Street. Turn left onto North Ocean Street and turn left onto East State Street. When the road forks, keep right onto Old Kings Road. Turn right to merge onto Interstate (I) 95 North and continue for approximately 5.1 miles. Take Exit 358A to merge onto Zoo Parkway. After approximately 4 miles, the project site will be on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.411585°
Basic: The basic project purpose is access to navigation.
Overall: The overall project purpose is improvements of the dock and access walkway at Buckeye terminal facility, Jacksonville, Duval County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is an existing oil import/export facility located along the St. Johns River. The project site includes the existing marine terminal dock which includes a loading dock, timber approach trestles, mooring buoys, and breasting dolphins. The project area can be characterized as deep-water tidal habitat waters with depths to -39 feet mean lower low water (MLLW). The mooring area is devoid of submerged aquatic vegetation and is approximately 1,500 feet from existing shorelines. The land community type has been characterized pursuant to the Florida Land Use Cover Classification System (FLUCFCS). The St. Johns River is a tidal, estuarine riverine system that is categorized as Streams and Waterways (FLUCCS code 5100).
PROJECT HISTORY: On 7 January 2022 the Corps previously authorized work at Buckeye Terminal facility, including after-the-fact authorization for the existing 20-foot by 713-foot dock extension, new construction of a 3-foot by 6-foot access walk from the existing dock to a new breasting dolphin on the western end of the existing dock, installation of 2 mooring dolphins, one on the east side of the existing dock and the other on the west side of the existing dock. The dock was authorized for one slip. The Permittee was also authorized to remove the existing west breasting dolphin and access walkway. All work has been completed. On March 7, 2023, Corps Regulatory Compliance confirmed that the authorized work is in compliance.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to modify the existing permit to authorize the following proposed work:
1. Removal of an existing 16-foot by 14-foot breasting dolphin.
2. Removal of the associated existing 15-foot by 3-foot breasting dolphin access walkway.
3. Removal of piles supporting the existing breasting dolphin and access walkway. Existing piles would be cut at the existing mudline. Existing dolphin and access walkway would be removed at the mudline. Existing structures would be disposed of offsite at an upland approved facility.
4. Installation of a new 15-foot by 14-foot breasting dolphin supported by one (1) 66-inch-diameter pile and two (2) 54-inch-diameter batter piles.
5. Installation of a new 3-foot by 20-foot access walkway, which would adjoin the existing approach trestle.
There would be five 24-inch concrete piles installed by impact hammer and three steel pipe piles (one 66-inch-diameter king pile and two 54-inch-diameter batter piles) 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:
“No discharges of fill material within waters of the United States, including wetlands or special aquatic sites are required for the proposed project.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
As the proposed project is limited to the removal and replacement of the existing breasting dolphin, Buckeye anticipates no more than minimal environmental effects would occur as a result of the proposed project. As such, Buckeye is not proposing compensatory mitigation for the proposed project.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has previously evaluated the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and has followed the guidelines of 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C. The Corps has determined that the project would have No Potential to Cause Effects to Historic Properties.
The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on 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 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) previously indicated that they concur with determinations of no effect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). 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 habitat as the proposed work is in water. 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, but would not be likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). The Corps evaluated 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. Use of this key resulted in the sequential determination A > B > C > G > N > O > P > 3 > may affect, not likely to adversely affect as the proposed is not located in an Important Manatee Area, there would be no new access for watercraft, and the improvements to the existing watercraft access structures do not allow increased watercraft usage. However, the 13 May 2019 additional conditions do apply, as the project incorporates the installation of metal pilings by impact hammer. Therefore, the Corps will request initiation of informal consultation with the USFWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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 Corps evaluated the proposed work utilizing the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) dated 20
November 2017. The JAXBO analyzes the effects from 10 categories of minor in-water
activities occurring in Florida and the U.S. Caribbean on sea turtles (loggerhead,
leatherback, Kemp's ridley, hawksbill, and green); smalltooth sawfish; Nassau grouper;
scalloped hammerhead shark, Johnson's seagrass; sturgeon (Gulf, shortnose, and
Atlantic); corals (elkhorn, staghorn, boulder star, mountainous star, lobed star, rough
cactus, and pillar); whales (North Atlantic right whale, sei, blue, fin, and sperm); and
designated critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass; smalltooth sawfish; sturgeon (Gulf
and Atlantic); sea turtles (green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead); North Atlantic right
whale; and elkhorn and staghorn corals in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered
Species Act. The proposed work would include installation of five 24-inch concrete piles installed by impact hammer and three steel pipe piles (one 66-inch-diameter king pile and two 54-inch-diameter batter piles) installed by impact hammer. The proposed work does not meet the criteria of the JAXBO; however, the applicant would adhere to the NMFS Protected Species Construction Conditions, National Atmospheric and Oceanic Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, dated May 2021, perform work during daylight hours, adhere to the Vessel Strike Avoidance Measures and Reporting for Mariners, revised May 2021 for marine turtles and marine mammals, would limit number of steel pipe piles installed to no more than one per day, and would utilize a cushion block and bubble curtain during pile installation. The Corps will request initiation of informal consultation with the NMFS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
On 5 December 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 0.07 acres of open, tidal water utilized by various life stages of bull shark, summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, blue fish, spiny lobster, snapper/grouper, and shrimp. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species, Gulf Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. 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 216 feet from the near bottom edge of the Intracoastal Waterway federal channel.
SECTION 408: The applicant will 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 32202; 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.