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).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

Special Issues - These are public notices that involve the Regulatory program but which are generally not limited to one particular geographic area. These would include public notices for the establishment or modification of Restricted Areas/Danger Zones, re-issuance of General Permits or Nationwide Permits, changes to guidance and policies, etc.

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-2023-02525 (SP-MJP)

USACE Jacksonville District, Regulatory Division
Published Dec. 21, 2023
Expiration date: 1/20/2024

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:

University of Miami
c/o Jessica Brumley
1535 Levante Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33146

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Biscayne Bay. The project site is located east of Rickenbacker Causeway and north of Virginia Beach Drive.

Directions to the site are as follows: From US-1 N, use the right two lanes to take the exit toward Brickell Ave. Turn right onto FL-913 S and after approximately 3 miles, turn left onto Virginia Beach Drive. The entrance gate for the site access will be on your left in 0.1 miles.

Longitude –80.160517°


Basic: The basic project proposes to construct an aquaculture and coral research facility.

Overall: The overall project is to construct an aquaculture and coral research facility at the University of Miami located east of Rickenbacker Causeway and north of Virginia Beach Drive.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of a lined aquaculture pond facility and access corridor previously permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on February 5, 1988. This existing pond was built by constructing an upland berm around its perimeter. Today, the berm contains a mix of exotic vegetation dominated by Australian pine with coastal wetlands at the toe of the bank. The areas beyond the footprint of the berm slopes have colonized with significant growth of mangrove vegetation, such as red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle). The abandoned facility also contains a remnant gravel access path leading from the entrance gate.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for the following activities:
• Regrading the existing pond, including removal of the liner, and lowering the perimeter berm to create a level surface at an approximate elevation of 5.0’ NAVD.
• Installing a fish-rearing facility that will consist of a multi-tank recirculating aquaculture system to support the research and grow out of marine finfish and invertebrates.
• Installing two (2) sets of 3” conduits and 1-2” conduit via directional bore cables along 309 feet of coastal wetland habitat in order to provide utility to the facility via 465 linear foot Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD).
• Placement of 325 cubic yards of limerock within 3,441 square foot area to create a new base layer and a top layer in order to stabilize the existing access corridor.

This placement of limerock within the existing access corridor will create a 10-foot-wide driving surface at an elevation of 3.5’ NAVD (see Section C-C on Sheet 5). The side slopes along each edge of the driving surface will be approximately 8 feet wide and graded to match the existing grade at the toe of the slope. The innermost 4 feet of the side slopes will be 4H:1V to an elevation of 2.5’ NAVD, after which the steepness will be increased to 2H:1V until it meets the existing grade. This will impact 3,441 square feet of mangrove wetlands.

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 impacts on the existing coastal wetland areas adjacent to the project footprint have been minimized to the maximum extent feasible by utilizing the existing upland footprint of the abandoned pond facility for the development of the fish-rearing facility and associated infrastructure. The existing upland berm slope adjacent to the perimeter swale of the proposed fill pad will remain in its current condition, thereby avoiding impacts to the existing mangroves and coastal wetland areas that occur at the approximate toe of the bank of the berm slope. It is worth noting that lowering the top of the berm from the existing elevation of 9.0’ NAVD to the proposed elevation of approximately 5.0’ NAVD will result in an overall reduction in the berm slope area. Therefore, the proposed drainage conditions will be improved relative to existing conditions due to the reduction of direct runoff from the existing berm slopes to the adjacent coastal wetlands. The proposed swale between the upland berm and the gravel access path around the perimeter of the fill pad will provide additional stormwater retention and treatment.

Although construction of the proposed gravel access road will incur an unavoidable 3,441 square feet of impacts to the coastal wetland areas and mangrove vegetation, the proposed design includes several components to minimize the potential impact area. Most notably, the project proposes to use the historic flood criteria of 5.0’ NGVD (3.5’ NAVD) for the elevation of the driving surface rather than the newly established criteria that would require an elevation of 6.0’ NAVD. The cross-section below provides a comparison of the proposed fill road impact footprint relative to the potential impact footprint if the project were designed in accordance with the new County flood criteria. Increasing the design elevation to 6.00’ NAVD would result in a 71% increase of fill volume and twice the impact footprint to the mangrove wetland areas.

The proposed narrow driving surface (i.e., 10ft) is also the minimum width practicable to reduce the impact area while still allowing for safe vehicular access. Finally, the widths of the associated side slopes along each edge of the driving surface have also been minimized by proposing an initial slope of 4H:1V immediately adjacent to the driving surface to an elevation of 2.5’ NAVD, then transitioning to an increased steepness of 2H:1V from 2.5’ NAVD until matching of the existing grade. The increased slope for the outermost edge of the side slope will thus further reduce the wetland impact area.

Erosion control measures will also be implemented prior to the commencement of construction and will remain in place throughout the construction phase. These erosion control measures will include the installation of silt fencing to establish the limits of the proposed fill footprint and prevent secondary impacts to the adjacent coastal wetland areas. Silt fencing will also be installed along the toe of the bank of the berm slopes adjacent to the abandoned pond facility.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

The mitigation obligation will be satisfied offsite via the appropriate purchase of coastal credits from the FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank (EMB). Based on the proposed wetland impact area, it has been determined that a purchase of 0.04 EMB coastal credits would be required to fully offset project impacts; however, this preliminary calculation is subject to agency approval and concurrence.


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.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect sea turtles (loggerhead (Caretta caretta), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), and green (Chelonia mydas); smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinate) or its designated critical habitat. The Corps has determined that the project meets JAXBO therefore no further consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service is required. National Marine Fisheries Service has provided programmatic concurrence pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for projects that meet the criteria established in JAXBO.

The proposed activity is located within the Consultation Area for the Florida Bonneted Bat and the South Florida Urban Area. Potential impacts to the species were assessed using the Florida Bonneted Bat Consultation Key, 2019. Based on the guidelines in the key, projects located in the South Florida Urban Bat Area cannot utilize the key. However, based the lack of roosting or foraging habitat in the project area and limited impacts the Corps has determined that the project will have no effect on the species.

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 0.08 acres (3,441 square feet) of coastal wetlands utilized by various life stages of shrimp, Snapper Grouper and Spiny Lobster. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Biscayne Bay Cars Sound Sanctuary. 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 structures are 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 Madison Pollard through the Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Ave, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176 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, Madison Pollard, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Ave, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176; by electronic mail at or, by telephone at (305) 878-0247.

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).

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.