Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

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Administrative Penalty - These public notices provide information associated with Administrative Penalties. An Administrative Penalty can be assessed to address violations associated with issued Department of the Army permits.

SAJ-2012-01045 (SP-BMC)

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published July 21, 2023
Expiration date: 8/21/2023
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: Tom Bennett, Speckled Trout Boatyard Inc.
343 Bayshore Drive
Palm Harbor Florida 34683
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with St. Joseph’s Sound.  The project site is located at 370 Bayshore Drive, in Section 10, Township 28 South, Range 15 East, Palm Harbor, Pinellas County, Florida. Directions to the site are as follows: From US HWY 19, take Tampa Road west to Orange Street. Take Orange Street north to Bay Street. Take Bay Street west till it turns slightly south to become Bayshore Drive. Destination will be on the right.
Latitude 28.069586°
Longitude -82.780619°
PROJECT PURPOSE: Basic: To expand an existing docking facility. 
Overall: The overall project purpose is to expand an existing commercial marina in St. Joseph’s Sound to meet public boating needs.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: St. Joseph’s Sound is mapped on the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) as E1UBL ((E) Estuarine, (1) Tidal, (UB) Unconsolidated Bottom, (L) Subtidal) and is directly connected to the Gulf of Mexico. A submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) survey, conducted for the project area, indicated seagrass is only located at the western edge of the project site and extends to the adjacent property west of the project site. Uplands surrounding the project area are paved with concrete and no natural vegetation remains on site.
The project is located in St. Joseph’s Sound at an existing commercial marina, the Speckled Trout Marina. In 2012, the docking facility received Corps authorization to reconfigure an existing marina and in 2015 the facility received authorization to expand with the addition of three (3) wet slips. The marina directly abuts a concrete-stabilized shoreline and currently hosts a 2,326 square foot dock facility with fourteen (14) permanent wet slips, each with a boat lift, a private boat ramp, and six (6) temporary mooring areas for vessels utilizing the boat ramp. Directly across Bayshore Drive from Speckled Trout Marina, the associated Speckled Trout Boatyard hosts 149 dry slips and a boat trailer parking area.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct 1,260 square feet of new dock structure to accommodate eight (8) new wet slips each with a boat lift. The proposed expansion includes construction of:
  1. A 5-foot by 21-foot approach dock with grated decking and handrails
  2. A 6-foot by 98.5-foot fixed access dock with handrails
  3. Four (4) 2.5-foot by 30-foot finger piers
  4. Installation of eight (8) 13-foot-wide 13-foot-long boat lifts
  5. Installation of ninety (90), 12-inch diameter pilings via jetting where possible impact hammer if necessary

With the proposed expansion, dock structures will cover a total of 3,586 square feet over water and allow the facility to accommodate a total of twenty-eight (28) wet slips to include twenty-two (22) permanent and six (6) temporary slips. No changes to the upland dry slip storage facility 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: The proposed dock was designed to avoid SAV to the extent possible. According to a 2022 SAV survey for the project area, seagrass is located at the western edge of the applicant’s submerged land lot and extends to adjacent property west of the project site. To avoid SAV, docks and wets slips will be positioned in deeper water, past the nearshore SAV beds, with no portion of the main dock, wet slips, or mooring spaces located over seagrass. An approximately 20-foot-long segment of the access dock would be the only part of the structure positioned over SAV. This section of the dock would be narrowed to 5-feet-wide and decked with grated decking with all remaining decking to have a minimum of ½-inch spacing. Additionally, handrails and no mooring signs will be installed on the western side of the main dock, and the structure will be elevated 5-feet above mean high water (MHW).

Best Management Practices (BMP) implemented during and after construction would include turbidity controls, a monofilament recycling bin installed on one (1) of the docks, all work to occur during daylight hours, and implementation of NOAA’s Protected Species Construction Conditions, NOAA’s Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Construction Conditions, and Standard Manatee Conditions for In‐Water Work.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The project has been designed to avoid and minimize adverse effects to aquatic resources and will not cause a loss of aquatic resource function, therefore, no mitigation should be required.

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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectintata), Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and/or Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. 

The Corps has determined the proposed activity may affect but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA) the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) due to avoidance and minimization measures proposed by the applicant. Use of the Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 with May 2019 Addendum (Key), resulted in the following sequential determination: A>B>C>G>H>I>J>L>M: the number of slips exceeds the residential dock density threshold > “may affect.” Per Key stipulation, the Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter for the West Indian Manatee. 

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 0.02 acres of unconsolidated bottom potentially utilized by various life stages of marine life. An evaluation of the project site using the Corps National Regulatory Viewer for the South Atlantic Division (SAD), and data including NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service: Seagrasses and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s: Seagrass Habitat In Florida, indicated SAV occurs in areas adjacent to the project site but is mainly absent within the project footprint. Based on avoidance and minimization measures discussed above, our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in St. Joseph’s Sound.  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: The proposed marina expansion 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave., Suite 120, Tampa FL 33610, 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, Barbara M. Cory, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave., Suite 120, Tampa FL 33610; by electronic mail at; or by telephone at (813) 697-2870. 

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.

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.