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SAW-2005-00748

Posted: 10/30/2018

Expiration date: 11/29/2018


PUBLIC  NOTICE

Issue Date: October 30, 2018

Comment Deadline: November 29, 2018 Corps Action ID Number: SAW-2005-00748


The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from the United States Coast Guard seeking Department of the Army authorization to modify an existing authorization in order to conduct new and maintenance dredging within the existing mooring basin, associated with the US Coast Guard Sector Field Office at Fort Macon, in Carteret County, North Carolina.

Specific plans and location information are described below and shown on the attached plans. This Public Notice and all attached plans are also available on the Wilmington District Web Site at:  http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryPermitProgram.aspx

 Applicant:                             

United States Coast Guard Commanding Officer

5505 Robin Hood Road, Suite K Norfolk, Virginia 23513

 AGENT:                                

US Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Resources Section

Attn: Ms. Emily Hughes

69 Darlington Avenue

Wilmington, NC 28403

 Authority

The Corps evaluates this application and decides whether to issue, conditionally issue, or deny the proposed work pursuant to applicable procedures of the following Statutory Authorities:

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344)

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403)

Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1413)

 
Location

Directions to Site: The project site is located within the existing US Coast Guard Sector Field Office Fort Macon mooring basin, in Atlantic Beach, Carteret County, North Carolina. From Morehead City, travel west on US Highway 70 (Arendell Street) to South 24th Street, turn left to take the Atlantic Beach Bridge over Bogue Sound, continue on Atlantic Beach Causeway and make a left at the stoplight onto NC Highway 58 (East Fort Macon Road), continue for approximately 3.3 miles, the project site is on the left, just before Fort Macon State Park.

Project Area (acres):  19 acres                                 

Nearest Town: Atlantic Beach
Nearest Waterway:  Fort Macon Creek  

River Basin: White Oak

Latitude and Longitude: 34.69761N, -76.68371W

Existing Site Conditions

The project site is located within the existing US Coast Guard Sector Field Office Fort Macon mooring basin. The site contains existing infrastructure including a road network, utility lines, a boat ramp, boat slips, parking areas, and multiple structures.

The site is bordered to the north by Morehead City Channel, to the south by Onslow Bay, to the west by a salt marsh, and by the Fort Macon Visitor and Education Center to the east. Topography is characterized as relatively flat terrain with elevation at an average of 4 feet above mean high sea level.

Applicant’s Stated Purpose

The applicant proposes to conduct maintenance dredging in the outer mooring basin and deepen the dredge depths of the center mooring basin in order to homeport two Sentinel- class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) vessels.

Project Description

The applicant proposes to expand the previously modified, authorized dredge depth of the center basin from -14.5 feet MLW with 1.0 foot allowable over-dredge to -17 feet MLW with 2 feet over-dredge, and to maintain the entire outer basin to a depth of -22 feet + 2 feet over-dredge. The dredge depth of the inner basin would remain -12 feet + 2 feet allowable over-depth. The total proposed amount of material to be removed is approximately 44,000 cubic yards from the outer basin and 8,900 cubic yards from the central basin. Dredged material consists of sand, silt, and clay. The proposed dredge method would be by hydraulic cutterhead or by mechanical dredge (bucket to barge).

Depending on the dredge method, dredged material would be piped from the dredge area to Brandt Island Disposal Area by floating pipeline, taken to an upland disposal area via truck, or loaded onto scows and transported offshore to the Morehead City Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS).

 
The US Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with Section 103(c) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended issued concurrence dated March 9, 2018 for the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Fort Macon to utilize the Morehead City ODMDS, based on conditions and restrictions established pursuant to Sections 102(a) [environmental criteria] and Section 102(c) [disposal site designation and management] of the Act. This concurrence expires March 9, 2021.

Avoidance and Minimization

The applicant provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment: The mooring basin has been historically dredged as authorized by previous Department of the Army (DA) authorizations. The first authorization was in 2005, with later modifications in 2012, 2015, and 2017.

Dredging activities last occurred within the project area in 2012. The previous authorizations contained special conditions such as restricting in water work between February 1 and July 31 to protect anadromous fish, requiring compliance with Manatee Guidelines, and a section 401 water quality certification, along with a number of other special conditions referenced in the most recent permit modification request (attached). The applicant is asking for advanced moratorium relief for both mechanical and pipeline dredge methods, based on the lack of presence of anadromous fish within the mooring basin. A revised moratorium of April 1-July 31 is proposed at this time. The applicant otherwise proposes to conduct the work in accordance with the previously authorized projects.

Compensatory Mitigation

The applicant offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Compensatory mitigation is not proposed based on the nature and location of the work proposed.

Essential Fish Habitat

Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, this Public Notice initiates the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation requirements. The Corps’ initial determination is that the proposed project may affect, but not likely to adversely affect EFH or associated fisheries managed by the South Atlantic or Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Councils or the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Cultural Resources

Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Appendix C of 33 CFR Part 325, and the 2005 Revised Interim Guidance for Implementing Appendix C, the District Engineer consulted district files and records and the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places and initially determines that:

No historic properties, nor properties eligible for inclusion in the National Register, are present within the Corps’ permit area; therefore, there will be no historic properties affected.  The Corps subsequently requests concurrence from the SHPO (or THPO).

The District Engineer’s final eligibility and effect determination will be based upon coordination with the SHPO and/or THPO, as appropriate and required, and with full consideration given to the proposed undertaking’s potential direct and indirect effects on historic properties within the Corps-indentified permit area.

Endangered Species

Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Corps reviewed the project area, examined all information provided by the applicant and consulted the latest North Carolina Natural Heritage Database. Based on available information:

The Corps determines that the proposed project may affect, not likely to adversely affect federally listed endangered or threatened species or their formally designated critical habitat. The Corps initiates consultation under Section 7 of the ESA and will not make a permit decision until the consultation process is complete.

Other Required Authorizations

The Corps forwards this notice and all applicable application materials to the appropriate State agencies for review.

North Carolina Division of Water Resources (NCDWR): The Corps will generally not make a final permit decision until the NCDWR issues, denies, or waives the state Certification as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (PL 92-500). The receipt of the application and this public notice, combined with the appropriate application fee, at the NCDWR Central Office in Raleigh constitutes initial receipt of an application for a 401 Certification. A waiver will be deemed to occur if the NCDWR fails to act on this request for certification within sixty days of receipt of a complete application.  Additional information regarding the 401 Certification may be reviewed at the NCDWR Central Office, 401 and Buffer Permitting Unit, 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27604-2260. All persons desiring to make comments regarding the application for a 401 Certification should do so, in writing, by NOVEMBER 29, 2018 to:

 NCDWR Central Office

Attention: Ms. Karen Higgins, 401 and Buffer Permitting Unit

(USPS mailing address): 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1617

North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (NCDCM):

The application did not include a certification that the proposed work complies with and would be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the approved North Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program. Pursuant to 33 CFR 325.2 (b)(2) the Corps cannot issue a Department of Army (DA) permit for the proposed work until the applicant submits such a certification to the Corps and the NCDCM, and the NCDCM notifies the Corps that it concurs with the applicant’s consistency certification. As the application did not include the consistency certification, the Corps requests, via this Public Notice, concurrence or objection from the NCDCM.

Evaluation

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts 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 benefit 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 the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values (in accordance with Executive Order 11988), 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. For activities involving the discharge of dredged or fill materials in waters of the United States, the evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 404(b)(1) guidelines.

Commenting Information

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State and local agencies and officials, including any consolidated State Viewpoint or written position of the Governor; 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 of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, 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 (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider the application. Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing. Requests for a public hearing shall be granted, unless the District Engineer determines that the issues raised are insubstantial or there is otherwise no valid interest to be served by a hearing.

 
The Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District will receive written comments pertinent to the proposed work, as outlined above, until 5pm, November 29, 2018. Comments should be submitted to Ms. Liz Hair, Wilmington Regulatory Field Office,69 Darlington Avenue, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403 , at (910) 251-4049.