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PN15-34 (U.S. NAVY PATUXENT RIVER NAS/HOG POINT BEACH HOUSE) - St. Mary's County

Posted: 5/12/2015

Expiration date: 5/12/2015


               Public Notice                                        

U.S. Army Corps            In Reply to Application Number                          

of Engineers                  CENAB-OP-RMS (U.S. NAVY PATUXENT RIVER NAS/ HOG POINT

Baltimore District          BEACH HOUSE) 2015-60524

                                  

PN 15-34                        Comment Period:  May 12, 2015 to June 12, 2015          

                               

THE PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLIC NOTICE IS TO SOLICIT COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE WORK DESCRIBED BELOW.  AT THIS TIME, NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A PERMIT WILL BE ISSUED.

The Baltimore District has received an application for a Department of the Army Permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), as described below:

APPLICANT:  Department of the Navy

                        Naval Air Station – Patuxent River

                        c/o: Captain Heidi Fleming, Commanding Officer

                        22268 Cedar Point Road, Building 409

                        Patuxent River, Maryland 20670-1700

LOCATION:  At the U.S Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent, from Beach House to Hog Point at the mouth of the Patuxent River, within the larger shoreline from Cedar Point to Fishing Point and located along Cedar Point Road, St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

WORK:  To create a living shoreline along approximately 5,120 linear foot section of estuarine shoreline by emplacing a total of 4,281 linear feet of stone armoring (99,040 square feet); depositing sand nourishment (208,260 square feet); and creating 3.2 acres of low marsh (44,500 square feet) and transitional high marsh (93,665 square feet) habitat.  The total shoreline stabilization and habitat creation project is within an approximately 6.38-acre impact area and divided into six (6) shoreline sub-reaches at the marsh/beach-open water interface as follows: 

Reach A. (3.41 acres): To construct three (3) tombolo connected stone breakwaters, 33-feet wide at the base by 210-feet to 233-feet in length along 673 linear feet of shoreline (20,250 square feet); create three (3) tidal embayments varying 175-feet to 205-feet in width; and to construct a wetland planting terrace by emplacing 10,872 cubic yards of sloped, clean select sand fill (128,110 square feet) stabilized with approximately 4,500 square feet Spartina alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass), 24,040 square feet of S. patens (Saltmeadow cordgrass) wetland plantings, all to extend no more than 163 feet channelward of the approximate mean high water (MHW) shoreline. 

Reach B. (1.46 acres): To construct two (2) continuous stone sills 50-feet wide at the base, one 410-feet and the other 675-feet in length along 1,058 linear feet of shoreline (18,710 square feet) with two tidal vents, one 25-feet wide and the other 35-feet wide; to construct one (1) hook spur 18-feet wide at the base by 230-feet in length (3,000 square feet); and to construct a wetland planting terrace by emplacing 2,430 cubic yards of sloped, clean select sand fill (41,750 square feet) and to stabilize with approximately 22,600 square feet S. alterniflora and 33,625 square feet of S. patens wetland plantings, all to extend no more than 181 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline. 

Reach C. (0.77 acres): To construct one (1) continuous stone sill 50-feet wide at the base along 490 linear feet of shoreline (9,800 square feet); to construct a stone revetment 20-feet wide by 160-feet long (4,000 square feet) at the inlet; and to construct a wetland planting terrace by

emplacing 855 cubic yards of sloped, clean select sand fill (19,600 square feet) and stabilize with approximately 10,200 square feet S. alterniflora and 19,600 square feet S. patens wetland plantings, all to extend no more than 99 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline.   

Reach D. (0.44 acres): To construct one (1) continuous stone sill 50-feet wide at the base along 255 linear feet of shoreline (4,500 square feet) with one 40-foot wide tidal vent; to construct a stone revetment 22-feet wide by 160-feet long (4,000 square feet) at the inlet; to construct one (1) hook spur 25-feet wide at the base by 90-feet in length (21,600 square feet); and to construct a wetland planting terrace by emplacing 1,904 cubic yards of sloped, clean select sand fill (18,800 square feet) and stabilize with approximately 7,200 square feet S. alterniflora and 16,400 square feet S. patens wetland plantings, all to extend no more than 134 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline. Approximately 1,700 square feet of exiting low marsh and 5,050 square feet of high marsh is proposed to be impacted.      

Reach E. (0.25 acres): To repair 900 linear feet of existing stone revetment averaging 25-feet wide at the base(10,800 square feet) by emplacing 1,350 cubic yards of additional stone, and a 10-foot wide splash apron, all to extend no more than 43 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline.

Reach F. (0.05 acres): To repair 238 linear feet of existing stone revetment averaging 25-feet wide at the base(2,380 square feet) by emplacing 357 cubic yards of additional stone, and a 10-foot wide splash apron, all to extend no more than 15 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline.  All work will be completed in accordance with the enclosed plan(s).  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mr. Jason R. Peters of this office at 410-962-5676 or by email Jason.Peters@usace.army.mil.

PURPOSE: To provide shoreline erosion control and establish estuarine marsh habitat.

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 reasonable 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, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The Corps of Engineers 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 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 and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments provided will become part of the public record for this action.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received by the District within the comment period specified above. The purpose of this project is to reduce shoreline erosion and habitat creation at the installation.

MITIGATION STATEMENT:  As part of the planning process for the proposed project, steps were taken to ensure avoidance and minimization of impacts to all waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable. The applicant has stated the project as currently designed seeks to avoid and minimize impacts to regulated resources onsite.  The combined shoreline erosion control and habitat creation project would maintain the natural functions of the aquatic ecosystem; add estuarine wetland and pocket beach habitat; and eliminate the erosion occurring along 5,120 linear feet of shoreline.

The applicant has not proposed compensatory mitigation to offset unavoidable losses to aquatic resources. Approximately 6,750 square feet of temporary marsh impacts are proposed due to construction matting and/or construction access and would be revegetated as necessary and/or transplanted into suitable project areas.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). 

The project site lies in or adjacent to EFH as described under the MSFCMA for the Patuxent River [Scopthalmus aquosos (windowpane flounder) juvenile and adult; Pomatomus saltatrix (blue fish) juvenile and adult; Paralicthys dentatus (summer flounder) juvenile and adult; and eggs, larvae, juvenile and adult stages of Sciaenops ocellatus (red drum), Scomberomorus cavalla (king mackerel), Scomberomorus maculatus (spanish mackerel), and Rachycentron canadum (cobia)]; all managed species under the MSFCMA.

The project has the potential to adversely affect EFH or the species of concern by alteration of spawning, nursery, forage and/or shelter habitat.  The project may have an adverse effect on an approximate by emplacing 5,120 linear feet of stone armoring (99,040 square feet), sand nourishment (208,260 square feet), and to create 3.2 acres of low marsh (44,500 square feet) and transitional high marsh (93,665 square feet) habitat within an approximately 6.38-acre area of EFH as described under the MSFCMA for the species and life stages identified above.  This habitat consists of intertidal and tidal nearshore shallow water habitat which does support SAV. 

Historical SAV data from 2013 to 1984 depicts no SAV at the site. The Baltimore District has made a preliminary determination that site-specific impacts would not be substantial and an abbreviated consultation will be conducted with NMFS.  The proposed work will alter the existing bottom substrate, by filling, shading or disturbances from other construction related activities.  No mitigative measures are recommended at this time to minimize adverse effects on EFH.  This preliminary determination may be modified if additional information indicates otherwise and could change the Corps’ preliminary determination.

The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Any written comments concerning the work described above which relate to water quality certification must be received by the Wetlands and Waterways Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708 within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  The Section 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.

Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.  By this public notice, we are requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.  It should be noted that the CZM Program has a statutory limit of 6 months to make its consistency determination.

The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.

A preliminary review of this application using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service IPaC online screening tool indicates that the proposed work will not affect Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended.  The project location and vicinity is not mapped as critical habitat for any known

Federally-listed threatened or endangered species; however, the larger Chesapeake Bay and the local waterway is known to be utilized by transient individuals of the following species: Caretta caretta (Loggerhead sea turtles); Lepidochelys kempii (Kemp's Ridley sea turtles); Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback sea turtles); Chelonia mydas (Green sea turtles); Acipenser brevirostrum (Shortnose sturgeon); and Acipenser oxyrinchus (Atlantic sturgeon). Although a few transient threatened and endangered species are known to occur in the Patuxent River, no impacts are expected under the proposed action. The proposed action would protect valuable tidal, intertidal and pocket beach habitat utilized by 23 known migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. If the proposed action is not conducted, the shoreline would continue to erode, losing valuable wetland and beach habitats for Chesapeake Bay species. As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.

Review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that there are known registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion, therein, are located at the site of the proposed work.  Currently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the request permit. Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties indicates site number SM-140 encompassed within SM-357 for Patuxent River NAS.

The evaluation of the impact of this project on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. 

Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit may request a public hearing.  The request, which must be in writing, must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, P.O. Box 1715, 21203-1715, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  Also it must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected.

It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.

FOR THE DISTRICT ENGINEER:

                                                                        KATHY B. ANDERSON

                                                                        Chief, Maryland Section Southern

Department of the Navy Naval Air Station Patuxent River