Starlight Tower December 2011

December 2011 Starlight Tower Express Newsletter in St Pete Beach Pinellas County FloridaPublic Comments Needed ASAP Supporting the Upham Beach Permanent T-Groins  

December 2011 Starlight Tower Express Newsletter in St Pete Beach Pinellas County Florida

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Public Comments Needed ASAP Supporting the Upham Beach Permanent T-Groins
Public Comment Submission Deadline: January 8, 2012

On December 9, 20011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the attached Public Notice soliciting comments from the public regarding the Permit Application that has been filed for the granting of a permit to replace the temporary geotextile T-Groins on Upham Beach with permanent rock structures.
As set forth in the Public Notice, the USACE's decision whether or not to grant the permit will be based on a variety of factors and a balance of the benefits of the project against its "reasonably foreseeable detriments", including such factors as property ownership, economics, historical properties, flood hazards, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, and the general needs and welfare of the people.
The deadline for submission of public comments in support (or in opposition) to this project is January 8, 2012.
The local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has prepared an engineering report in opposition to the project which the Surfriders will most likely submit to the US Army Corps of Engineers in opposition to the the granting of the permit.

It is therefore critical that anyone who supports the Upham Beach Permanent Groin project (i.e. anyone wants the yellow, temporary T-Groins to be replaced with durable, permanent rock structures) should submit their comments and statements of support to the USACE on or before January 8, 2012.

If you wish to submit a public comment in support of the Upham Beach Permanent Groin Project, please send such comments to:

Tracey E. Hurst
Tracy.E.Hurst@usace.army.mil
or by fax to (813) 769-7061.
Comments can also be submitted by Telephone at (813) 769-7063.

Thank you for your consideration.


  PUBLIC NOTICE
Permit Application No. SAJ-2011-02914(IP-TEH)
 
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This district 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: Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
14 South Fort Harrison Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33756

WATERWAY & LOCATION: The project is located on Upham Beach at the north end of the
barrier island of Long Key, immediately south Blind Pass, on the Gulf of Mexico, in the City of
St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida. The project lies within Section 36 of Township 31
South and Range 15 East and Section 1 of Township 32 South and Range 15 East.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg, take exit 17 for the
Pinellas Bayway (Florida 682 W). Proceed approximately 4.4 miles and then turn right on Gulf
Boulevard. Proceed 2.1 miles on Gulf Boulevard and then turn left on 69th Avenue. Proceed
straight ahead to the beach.
LATITUDE & LONGITUDE: Latitude 27.735589 North
Longitude 82.75226 West

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: Shoreline erosion control.

Overall: Shoreline erosion control of Upham Beach.

RELATED WORK: In 2003, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) granted Pinellas
County a permit (SAJ-1997-07475) to construct 5 (temporary) geotextile tube groins within the
same project area as the work considered in this public notice. This work was completed 2005-
2006.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to construct a project known as “Upham Beach
Permanent Groins” entailing the removal of 5 geotextile tube groins (authorized by Corps permit
SAJ-1997-07475) and replacement with 4 permanent rock groins in a modified layout.

Modifications include shifting the head of groin T1 offshore by approximately 50 feet, adjusting
the angle of the head of groin T2, removal of groin T3, and a relocation of groin T4 by
approximately 100 feet to the north.

The applicant proposes gaps between the groin structures ranging from approximately 250 to 500
feet. The shore parallel, or head portion, will be constructed with a seaward slope of 1V:3H. All
other slopes on the head and stem portions (shore perpendicular) will be constructed at 1V:2H.
The shore perpendicular length of the groin crests will range from 55 to 205 feet. The material
used will be limestone rock boulders. The average limestone armor unit sizes will be 2.4 tons in
the stem and 6.9 tons in the head portion. The estimated tonnage of armor stone is 38,500 tons.
Approximately 70,000 square feet of 1-ft thick marine gabion mattress will be used as a
foundation under the groins. The traditional method of groin construction entails trucking in
materials to the project area and building seaward from the land. However, considering the
location, the contractor may choose to barge in materials and/or construct from the offshore
terminus toward the land. Considering the high erosion rates and variable nature of the beach, the
applicant proposes to leave the specific construction methods to the Contractor’s discretion based
upon the conditions of the beach at the time of construction. Construction areas will be roped off
to the general public. Equipment and staging will be similar to the areas approved for
installation/repair of the geotextile tubes, which will be limited to the greatest extent practiable
during sea turtle nesting season. Sea turtle and manatee protection measures will be in place
during construction.

The applicant is requesting a 10-year permit to allow for the potential of phased or delayed
construction of the structures. Phased construction of the groins, with initial construction of the
two northernmost rock structures may be considered as a potential option. The applicant intends
on commencing work in 2012-2013 to coincide with a renourishment projects at Treasure
Island/Long Key.

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:

  • Equipment and staging will be similar to the areas approved for installation/repair of the
    geotextile tubes, which will be limited to the greatest extent practiable during sea turtle
    nesting season.
  • Sea turtle and manatee protection measures will be in place during construction.








Compensatory Mitigation: The applicant has provided the following explanation why
compensatory mitigation should not be required:
No mitigation should be required for this project as there will be no impacts to sensitive
aquatic habitat. No submerged aquatic vegetation or hardbottom habitat is located in the
project area.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: Upham Beach is located immediately downdrift of the Blind Pass
inlet and is starved of sediment due to the combined effect of sediment trapping by the Blind
Pass jetties, a growing ebb shoal, and periodic dredging of the inlet. The southern Blind Pass
jetty, located immediately north of the project area, was constructed in 1986 and consists of a
rubble-mound breakwater.

Upham Beach has been renourished 8 times (1975, 1980, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2004, and
2006). In 2005-2006, five geotextile tube groins were installed at the project area. These
geotextile tubes were buried by the renourishment activities of 2006.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) during the review of permit SAJ-1997-07475 to construct 5 (temporary) geotextile
tube groins within the same project area as the work considered in this public notice. By letter
dated March 23, 1999, the USFWS concurred with the Corps’ determination that the temporary
groins may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect, the West Indian manatee (Trichechus
manatus). By letter dated August 25, 1999 (FWS Log No. 99-164 St. Petersburg), the USFWS
also rendered a Biological Opinion based on the Corps’ finding that the project may affect
nesting loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). The
USFWS concluded that the proposed work was not likely to jeopardize the continued existence
of the loggerhead and green sea turtles and is not likely to adversely modify designated critical
habitat (of which none has been designated in the continental United States).

Regarding the current proposal of removing the 5 temporary groins and replacing them with
4 permanent rock groins in a modified layout, the Corps has made preliminary determinations
that the project 1) may affect nesting loggerhead and green sea turtles, and 2) may affect, but is
not likely to adversely affect, the West Indian manatee, smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) ,
Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata),
Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), and leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys
coriacea), The Corps will finalize these determinations after additional field investigation and
coordination with the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

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 1.6 acres of intertidal and
subtidal marine habitat utilized by various life stages of marine species. 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. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps
personnel.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: The Florida Department of Environmental
Protection, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, is currently reviewing the proposed work
under file number 0308348-001-JC.

Comments regarding the application should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at
the above address within 30 days from the date of this notice.


If you have any questions concerning this application, you may contact Tracy Hurst at the
letterhead address, by electronic mail at Tracy.E.Hurst@usace.army.mil, by fax at 813-769-7061,
or by telephone at 813-769-7063.


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.

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates an
Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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.

IMPACT ON CULTURAL RESOURCES: Review of the latest published version of the National Register
of Historic Places indicates that no registered properties or properties listed as eligible for inclusion
therein are located at the site of the proposed work. Unknown archaeological, scientific, pre-historical, or
historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished.

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 of 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 on
endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public
interest factors listed above.
Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment
and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
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.


                                                                

                                                                

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Please submit your comments ASAP, to:

Tracey E. Hurst
Tracy.E.Hurst@usace.army.mil

or by fax to (813) 769-7061.
Comments can also be submitted by Telephone at (813) 769-7063.

Remember the deadline is January 8, 2012 and Act Now!!!


 
Molon Lave   Semper Fidelis
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