Notice: Notice and Opportunity to Comment on Requests for Consistency - Cape Velero Homeowners Association
On January 10, 1997, the State of Texas received federal approval of the Coastal Management Program (CMP) (62 Federal Register pp. 1439 - 1440). Under federal law, federal agency activities and actions affecting the Texas coastal zone must be consistent with the CMP goals and policies identified in 31 TAC Chapter 26. Requests for federal consistency review were deemed administratively complete for the following project(s) during the period of May 22, 2023 to May 25, 2023. As required by federal law, the public is given an opportunity to comment on the consistency of proposed activities in the coastal zone undertaken or authorized by federal agencies. Pursuant to 31 TAC §§30.25, 30.32, and 30.41, the public comment period extends 30 days from the date published on the Texas General Land Office web site. The notice was published on the web site on Friday, June 2, 2023. The public comment period for this project will close at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, 2023.
FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIONS:
Applicant: Cape Velero Homeowners Association
Location: The project site is located in Port Bay, within an existing dredged canal and along the south and southwest shores of the Cape Velero Estates Development, in Rockport, Aransas County, Texas.
Latitude and Longitude:
Canal: 28.04033, -97.12442
DMPA 1 (upland): 28.04321, -97.12712
DMPA 2 (upland): 28.04545, -97.12324
Channel/Breakwater: 28.03950, -97.12780
Reef Ball Breakwater East End: 28.03964, -97.12790
Reef Ball Breakwater West End: 28.03953, -97.12865
Project Description: The applicant proposes to conduct maintenance dredging of 1.97 acres of an existing boat launch basin and boat canal. The boat launch basin and canal fronting the Cape Velero Subdivision was originally excavated in the mid-1980s. The existing 1.97-acre canal/basin area would be dredged to a depth of -3.0 feet mean sea level (MSL) and would yield an estimated 6,356 cubic yards (CY) of dredged material. In addition, the applicant proposes to establish a dredged-and-marked 30-foot-wide by 150-foot-long access channel into Port Bay from the existing boat canal. The proposed channel would confine boat traffic to a single channel until reaching navigable depths in Port Bay, thus minimizing possible seagrass and bay bottom damage by boat traffic where no channel currently exists. The proposed channel would have a 4- by 185-foot limestone breakwater (740-square-foot) installed on the southeast side to reduce wave energy and bay bottom creep, and to minimize sedimentation and reduce the frequency of future maintenance dredging requirements. This feature would affect 0.01 acre of bay bottom. Four 8-inch-diameter pilings would be installed at 37-foot intervals along the edge of the breakwater as markers to aid navigation. The new 0.11-acre boat access channel would be dredged to a depth of -3.0 feet MSL. The calculated dredge material volume would be 292 CY of material.
The dredged material would be mechanically excavated using a Wilco amphibious excavator. The contractor unit is 16-foot-wide and 32-foot-long with two 5-foot-wide pontoons and weighs 58,000 pounds. The drive system is hydraulic, powered by the Caterpillar 330 Excavator engine and hydraulic system, and has pyramid or flotation shoes on the drive system. This excavator floats in -4.5 feet of water and has a 50-foot operating reach. Dredging would start at the launch ramp basin and then proceed out the boat canal. Initially, the dredged material would be placed within a ring of hay bales on the uplands adjacent to the boat basin for dewatering until the excavator is beyond reach of the shoreline. A backhoe onshore would transfer the dewatered material to a dump truck that would transport the material to one of two upland disposal areas for unloading and leveling. Silt fencing would be utilized at the upland placement areas to hold the material in place until stabilized. When dredging beyond reach of the boat basin shoreline, and through the extent of the boat canal and proposed channel into Port Bay, the dredged materials would be placed on a set of small barges with sidewalls. When barge loading capacity is reached, the individual barges would be pushed by a small outboard motor to the launch ramp and offloaded by backhoe into dump trucks. The dump trucks would relay the material to the upland disposal areas for unloading and leveling. Weighted sediment curtains would be used when working in open waters to minimize turbidity outside the work area. After the material has been placed within the upland disposal areas and one to two weeks of drying time has occurred, a small bulldozer would spread the material evenly within the disposal area. Based upon the anticipated dredge volume, an approximately 1-foot layer of material would be spread within each of the disposal areas. Once settling and conditioning of the materials is achieved over several months, the disposal areas would be seeded with common bermudagrass to establish vegetative cover. The expected time to complete dredging of the canal and associated access channel with breakwater is 22 days.
The applicant also proposes to install a 275-foot-long by 8-foot-wide (2,200-square-foot) breakwater consisting of a double row of 36-inch-diameter reef balls. The reef balls would be installed on a staggered offset with 3 feet of separation. The expected time to complete installation of the reef ball breakwater is 3 days.
In addition, the project would include launch ramp improvements through the addition of a 4- by-25-foot wing pier; a 4- by-60-foot walkway, and three 3- by-20-foot finger piers within the canal.
An estimated 4,585-square-foot of Widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) would be directly impacted from the dredging and placement of the channel breakwater as currently proposed.
The applicant has stated that they have avoided and minimized the environmental impacts by the use of weighted sediment curtains during dredging operations to minimize turbidity outside the work area, and would use an upland contained disposal area for dewatering of dredged material.
Out of Kind – On-Site mitigation is offered to offset the seagrass impacts summarized above. The construction of a breakwater using a double row of 36-inch-diameter reef balls is proposed for the offset of impacts caused by the proposed mechanical dredging. The reef balls would be installed on a staggered offset with 3 feet of separation. This breakwater would dissipate wave energy from the prevailing winds that impact this impaired shoreline and slow or stop scouring of the nearshore water bottom. The shadow effect of the breakwater should allow for the expansion and/or establishment of submerged aquatic vegetation in the shadow of the breakwater within the bare bay bottoms fronting the wetland shoreline, and bare bottoms within the shallow waters behind the wetland shoreline. This action is expected to restore water quality and aquatic function through the re-colonization of seagrasses within the wave energy shadow. The placement of the breakwater would be aligned where areas of bare bay bottom interface with existing submerged aquatic vegetation. An indirect effect of the breakwater would be to slow or stop the continuing loss of the emergent wetlands downwind of the structure and potentially allow for some recovery. The wave energy shadow behind the proposed breakwater covers approximately 5,000-square-foot (0.11 acre) of bay bottom fronting the wetland shoreline.
Type of Application: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit application # SWG-2005-00696. This application will be reviewed pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Note: The consistency review for this project may be conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as part of its certification under §401 of the Clean Water Act.
CMP Project No: 23-1274-F1
Further information on the applications listed above, including a copy of the consistency certifications or consistency determinations for inspection, may be obtained from the Texas General Land Office Public Information Officer at 1700 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701, or via email at email@example.com. Comments should be sent to the Texas General Land Office Coastal Management Program Coordinator at the above address or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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