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:
Bureau of Land Management- Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area
c/o Peter DeWitt
600 State Road 707, Unit B
Jupiter, Florida 33469
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the shoreline of the Intracoastal Waterway and segments of shoreline along the Indian River Lagoon and the Loxahatchee River. The project site is located adjacent to 500 Captain Armours Way in Section 31, Township 40 South, Range 43 East, Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95 take exit 87A, turn left onto Center Street and continue for 2.3 miles. Turn left onto FL-811 North/Florida A1A Alt North. Continue straight onto South Beach Road. Turn right onto Captains Armours Way, turn left and continue onto Captain Armours Way. Turn right and arrive at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is shoreline stabilization, public recreation, and habitat creation/enhancement.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to provide additional shoreline enhancements and fish habitat enhancements adjacent to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area in Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed project is located along the 3,500 linear foot shoreline of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) and Museum, a Palm Beach County public park, located 0.7 miles northwest of the Jupiter Inlet. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as it was designated part of the National Conservation Lands. The shoreline along the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA abuts the Loxahatchee River and the Indian River Lagoon, collectively part of the Intracoastal Waterway, of which is visited daily by land and by boaters of local residents as well as travelers to the area.
The shoreline of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA has three different types of habitat throughout the proposed project. The three types of habitats are submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), mangrove swamps, and saltwater marshes which were determined by the wetland communities set by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCCS). The wetland community FLUCCS 612 mangrove swamp is predominantly red, black, and white mangroves and FLUCCS 642 saltwater marsh is dominated by salt marsh cordgrass, sea ox-eye, and saltmarsh fingergrass. Overtime the shoreline along the eastern side of the property has eroded with steep drop offs from the landward/uplands portion of the natural area.
PROJECT HISTORY: On 09 March 2012, the Corps issued an initial proffered permit for the stabilization and restoration of the eroding shoreline by placing approximately 2,500 cubic yards of sand and 2,569 cubic yards of limerock bedding stone and riprap within a 0.71-acre area below the highest annual tide line in order to construct a 705 linear foot, three-tier sheet pile retaining wall/seawall, five segmented breakwaters totaling approximately 826 linear feet, a 72 linear foot riprap revetment, and a 560 linear foot submerged toe wall, and to create approximately 0.19-acre of mangrove wetland habitat, 0.16-acre of high marsh wetland habitat, and 0.36-acre of shallow water habitat for seagrass recruitment. The Department of Army (DA) permit was proffered on 05 August 2015 and all work has commenced.
On 30 July 2019, the Corps verified a Nationwide Permit (NWP) 27 and a Regional General Permit (RGP) 20 for the construction of a living shoreline restoration project along approximately 600 linear feet of shoreline. The work included the placement of 377 cubic yards of limestone boulders within a 0.133-acre area in a series of eleven (11) nearshore breakwaters at 2H:1V with 6-foot gaps between structures and crest elevation(s) of 0.95 feet Mean High Water Elevation. The living shoreline included the installation of native plantings landward of the breakwaters and the installation of 1,400 square foot grated wood dock consisting of an 8-foot by 100-foot access walkway with an 8-foot by 50-foot terminal platform (SAJ-2019-01674(NWGP-LCK)). This work has commenced and completed.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a living shoreline restoration project that also promotes public utilization of the area along approximately 3,500 linear feet of shoreline by conducting the following activities:
1. The placement of 5,523 cubic yards of limestone boulders within a 0.95 acre area in a series of 30 nearshore breakwater structures and crest elevation(s) of +2.5 feet mean high water line (MHWL).
2. The placement of 2,507 cubic yards/0.47 acres of armor stone across 1,034 linear feet in a series of five stone revetments.
3. Installation of 18,636 square feet/ 0.43-acres native plantings of mangroves and vegetation landward of the breakwaters.
4. Installation of 74 pilings between breakwaters to allow for optimal restoration of plantings.
5. Installation of a 1,252 square foot floating dock that contains a 54 ft ADA compliant gangway, a 60-foot by 10-foot access walkway, a 8-foot by 62-foot terminal platform, a 8-foot by 28-foot landing, and one boatlift. The dock will have a total of 4 slips for USCG,
6. Removal of existing piles
7. Installation of fixed 8,511 square foot boardwalk which varies in width from 8 to 16 ft, consisting of open grated decking and 180 10-in pilings.
8. Possible installation of two SeaHive experimental stabilization structures and five 10-inch timber pilings for the installation of Ecodisk artificial reef systems
On-shore/Above MHWL features:
9. Installation of two 846 linear foot retaining wall, as well as beach access points and kayak launches for public access.
10. Installation of approximately 232 linear ft. of railed/fence pathway connecting separated 7 staircases along the terrace providing connection to shoreline elements from existing pathways.
11. Installation of approximately 2,811 sq. ft., 0.06 ac. of vegetation removal and grading to create an expanded beach area adjacent to S. Beach Road Bridge.
12. Installation of approximately 13,283 sq. ft., 0.30 ac. of native planting (typical hardwood hammock species) on and above the retaining wall terraces.
13. Installation of approximately 430 linear ft. of concrete ADA-accessible pathway connecting the existing pedestrian pier with the pavilion and existing ADA-accessible pathways.
14. Installation of approximately 150 linear ft. of improved trail to provide access to the shoreline.
15. Renovation and expansion of an existing pavilion from 270 sq. ft. to 740 sq. ft. (including installation of electrical and water services).
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 applicant performed two surveys in July 2022 and June 2023 which identified 2.69-acres of SAV, 0.32-acres of mangrove habitat and 0.01-acres of saltwater marsh. Direct impacts to the 0.01-acres of saltwater marsh would occur from the proposed installation of a revetment. In addition to avoiding direct impacts to the SAV and mangrove habitats, the proposed breakwater system, mangrove planters, and restoration activities are designed to enhance the aquatic habitat shoreline.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The project proposed the creation/enhancement of 5,718 square feet (0.13-acres) of mangrove habitat and 4,085 square feet (0.09-acres) of saltwater marsh behind the breakwaters and sills in five (5) locations along the southern shoreline stabilization area, which is proposed to restore the eroded shoreline and will help aid the natural recruitment of coastal plants overtime. Therefore, no compensatory mitigation is proposed.
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 is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana); Florida’s Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus); Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi corais); West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) and it’s designated critical habitat (DCH); Swimming Sea Turtles: Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii); Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata); North Atlantic Right whale (Eubalaena glacialis); and the Giant Manta Ray (Mobula birostris). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/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 with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. Two resource surveys were conducted in July 2022 and June 2023 that indicated the presence of seagrass and wetlands within the survey area. All seagrass occurs waterward of all proposed activities. The proposal would impact approximately 2.69-acres of sandy substrate void of seagrass as well as 0.33-ares of wetland habitat utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. By planting native species such as mangroves and grasses, the mangrove swamp and saltwater marsh wetland communities will be enhanced to allow for natural recruitment and creation of more wetland communities. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in 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, portions of the proposed structures are located within the 100 foot setback of the near edge of the federal channel and coordination with the Corps’ Navigation Division is required.
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 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 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, Kaitlyn Mallett, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Blvd, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Kaitlyn.M.Mallett@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561)545-4885.
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 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The project is being reviewed under FDEP application no. 50-0374419-005-EM.
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.