Public Notice Notifications

The Jacksonville District currently has five categories of public notice notification mailing lists. If you wish to receive email notifications when new public notices are added to this page, please send a request to Regulatory Webmaster.  Each category is described below. Be sure to specify which list(s) you want to be included on.

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-2012-03221 (SP-RDS)

Jacksonville District
Published April 4, 2024
Expiration date: 4/22/2024

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:

 

APPLICANT: Okaloosa County

                       1540 Miracle Strip Parkway SE

                        Fort Walton Beach, FL  32548

 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  The project site is located in the Gulf of Mexico, 10.2

nautical miles southwest of Destin pass, 3.3 nautical miles north of the East-West Safety Fairway, and 1.8 nautical miles south of Okaloosa Island off of Okaloosa County, Florida.

 

APPROXIMATE COORDINATES:

 

Fish Haven #14

Latitude

Longitude

 

Decimal Degrees

Decimal Degrees

Northeast Site Comer

30.3667°

-86.7041°

Northwest Site Comer

30.3667°

-86.7083°

Southeast Site Comer

30.3630°

-86.7041°

Southwest Site Comer

30.3630°

-86.7083°

 

PROJECT PURPOSE:

 

Basic:  Artificial Reef

 

Overall:  Re-authorize an existing offshore artificial reef site in the Gulf of Mexico that provides reef habitat, recreational fishing, and diving opportunities off the coast of Okaloosa County, Florida.

 

EXISTING CONDITIONS/PERMIT HISTORY:

The project site is an existing 40-acre offshore artificial reef site, known as Fish Haven #15. The reef was authorized by the Corps on March 10, 2014, under a Standard Permit and expired on March 10, 2024. The applicant has conducted numerous deployments within the existing reef footprint since 2014. The habitat within the artificial reef site contains medium to coarse grained sands, with a surficial layer of microalgae/cyanobacteria. There are no natural rock outcrops, hard bottom formations or submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV's) located within the reef deployment areas. Water depths range from -68 feet to -70 feet at mean lower low water (MLLW).

 

PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant seeks to re-authorize the existing artificial reef area (Fish Haven #15) in order to continue deployment activities. There are no changes proposed to the originally authorized work. The work consists of a ¼ by ¼ nautical mile deployment area, totaling 40 acres, which would continue to provide enhanced habitat and recreational fishing and diving opportunities. Additionally, there is a deployment buffer of 50 feet from the perimeter to ensure that deployed materials would remain within the deployment area. Material to be deployed will consist of clean concrete or rock, heavy gauge steel products (¼-inch thickness or greater), and prefabricated structures that are a mixture of clean concrete and heavy gauge steel. The material to be deployed would have a maximum profile height of no more than 30 feet in order to maintain a minimum clearance of 38 feet between the top of deployed materials and/or structures and mean lower low water MLLW. The applicant would implement a monitoring plan. The applicant is requesting a permit duration of 10-years.

 

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 selected a site that is devoid of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and where there are no natural rock outcrops or hard bottom formations.

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:  Impacts to special aquatic sites are not proposed. Therefore, the applicant did not provide a compensatory mitigation plan.

 

CULTURAL RESOURCES:  The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area.  By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for review.  Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect swimming sea turtles, including green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), giant manta ray (Mobula birostris) and the endangered West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), threatened Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), and endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with these determinations 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. The proposal would impact unvegetated marine bottom utilized by various life stages of species within the following Fisheries Managements Plans (Shrimp, Reef Fish, Stone Crab and Coastal Migratory Pelagics). Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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.

 

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. 

 

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES:  Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.

 

COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 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, Rylee Simon, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Rylee.D.Simon@usace.army.mil,  or by telephone at (850) 266-8176. 

 

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.  A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

 

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.  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.