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: Palm Beach County
2300 N Jog Road, 4th Floor
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Worth Lagoon. The project site is located within a 25.1 acre area east of the federal channel within the Lake Worth Lagoon, adjacent to Currie Park at 2400 North Flagler Drive, Section 10, Township 43 South, Range 43 East, West Pam Beach, Palm Beach County
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95, exit onto 45th Street. Continue east on 45th Street until US1 (2 mi). Turn south on US1 and continue 1.2 mi. Turn left onto 25th Street. Turn right on Poinsettia Avenue. Turn left on 23rd Street and continue straight until entering Currie Park. The Currie Park East Dredge Hole Restoration Project area is immediately east of Currie Park.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Aquatic habitat restoration
Overall: Aquatic habitat restoration within the existing Currie Park East Dredge Hole, Lake Worth Lagoon, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area consists of a 25-acre historic dredge hole within Lake Worth Lagoon where depths range from -3.54 feet to -22.54 feet mean low water and consist of barren substratum of primarily sand and silt.
A benthic resource investigation was conducted on September 10, 13, and 23, 2021 encompassing approximately 200 acres around the prosed fill sites. The survey area is located approximately 271 m (900 ft) waterward of Currie Park extending approximately a half mile north and south of the park. Seagrass was observed throughout the investigation area finding approximately 80 acres of seagrass. Data was collected through the use of a towed video transects and spot dives. Comparisons to the bathymetric data, collected on October 20-21, 2021, showed that seagrass areas were typically identified in depths ranging from -3.54 to -11.54 ft. MLW. Seagrass resources observed at each of the four dive locations consisted of one species: paddle grass (Halophila decipiens). The seagrass abundance ranged from sparse (1% cover) to dense (60% cover) and the substrate consisted of sand/silt, shell, and shell hash with a thin layer of cyanobacteria at each of the dive locations.
The applicant proposes habitat aquatic restoration. The restoration fill areas were designed to exclude areas surveyed to contain seagrasses and to include a 50-foot buffer away from the surveyed. The fill templates are defined by a crest elevation of ‐6 feet Mean Low Water (‐8.46 feet NAVD88) and side slopes of 1 foot vertical to 8 feet horizontal (1:8). Additionally, the restoration fill locations were designed with a 100-foot buffer away from the Intracoastal Waterway.
Within the Currie Park East Dredge Hole Restoration site, seven areas have been identified for filling with beneficial reuse material. These areas are based on the September 2021 benthic survey and the October 2021 bathymetric survey. The seven sub‐areas have a fill capacity of approximately 267,000 cy. The future locations of fill limits and capacity will be based on benthic and bathymetric surveys conducted prior to
As the Currie Park East Dredge Hole Restoration Project is intended to accommodate multiple filling events of varying nature, the filling methods may vary. Possible placement methods could include pumping of material using hydraulic placement methods (hydraulic dredge, floating pipelines, boosters, spill barge etc.) and/or direct placement from a floating barge with excavator bucket or clamshell. For direct placement, material could be lowered into the water in the excavator bucket prior to dumping to minimize dispersion. Fill material used for the restoration project will consist of clean fill free from items such as trash, debris, automotive parts, asphalt, construction materials, concrete block with exposed reinforcement bars, and soils contaminated with any toxic substance in toxic amounts and/or beneficial reuse from dredged material within Lake Worth Lagoon.
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:
Prior to any restoration activities, a seagrass survey will be conducted to identify locations of existing aquatic vegetation. Refinement of the fill placement areas will occur following the surveys, whereby a minimum 50‐ft buffer from all existing seagrasses and side slopes of 1V:8H up to an elevation ‐6 feet Mean Low Water (‐8.46 feet NAVD88) will be utilized. This adaptive management strategy will promote the best use of the proposed restoration site. It is not the intent of the project to place material over existing seagrass. Additionally, the 1V:8H side slope will minimize the diffusion of placed materials to areas outside of the placement areas within the restoration area. Furthermore, prior to construction activities, turbidity control devices will be installed in a manner to contain disturbed sediments within the limits of construction of the Project. Standard manatee conditions for in-water work and sea turtle and smalltooth sawfish construction conditions will also be implemented during project construction.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The project purpose is aquatic habitat restoration that will have an overall benefit to the aquatic environment, therefore no compensatory mitigation should be required.
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 U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the proposed project may affect, but not likely to adversely affect the threatened West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and would not adversely modify its designated critical habitat. Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, (the Key) dated April 2013 and May 2019 Addendum, results in the following sequential determination: A-B-C-G-N-O-P, paragraph 5 “may affect, not likely to adversely affect.” Applicant will adhere to the “Manatee construction conditions.” Therefore, no further coordination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect swimming sea turtles [green (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)]; smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris). Smalltooth sawfish, and swimming sea turtles may be affected by being unable to use an area for forage or refuge habitat due to potential avoidance of construction activities caused by the installation of the seawall. Since these species are motile and likely to leave the area during construction, the risk of injury from this type of construction activity is minimal. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service’s concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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 25 acres of unvegetated benthic substrate, which are utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries within the South Atlantic 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 project more than 100 feet away from the near bottom edge of the 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. 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 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, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Patricia Clune, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Patricia.R.Clune@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561)785-3261.
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 is required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The project is being reviewed under FDEP application no. 50‐0423503‐001‐EI.
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.