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Application by the City of Ocean Springs to fill wetlands for road improvements along Washington Ave near Front Beach Dr, Jackson Co

PUBLIC NOTICE OF APPLICATION
FOR COASTAL WETLANDS PERMIT
AND WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION

The City of Ocean Springs has filed an application requesting permission to conduct regulated activities under the provision of the Coastal Wetlands Protection Law Act, Title 49, Chapter 27, Mississippi Code of 1972.

The City of Ocean Springs is requesting a 10-year permit for road improvements located just north of La Fontaine Avenue and continuing along Washington Avenue, ending at Front Beach Drive, near an unnamed tributary adjacent to Mississippi Sound, Ocean Springs, Jackson County, MS. The proposed road improvements include elevating the road by approximately three feet, installing improved/enlarged storm drains to facilitate drainage along the roadway, installing three new stormwater inlets and new piping underneath the roadway, and installing a bulkhead on the west side of Washington Avenue to provide stability for the roadway and prevent sheet flow from the road into the adjacent wetland habitats. To accomplish the road improvements, the applicant is proposing to fill 462 square feet of Coastal Wetlands and 833 square feet of non-tidal wetlands. The applicant proposes to conduct permittee responsible mitigation for proposed impacts to Coastal Wetlands by removing debris from Coastal Wetlands located west of the Fort Bayou Bridge on Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs. To mitigate impacts to non-tidal wetlands, the applicant proposes to purchase an appropriate number of credits from an approved mitigation bank. View the full application at the link(s) below. A copy can also be mailed upon request.

The applicant has requested variances to: Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, The Coastal Program, Chapter 8, 103.03 which states, “Vertical face structures must be aligned no further waterward that the current mean high tide line, and constructed so that reflective wave energy does not damage adjacent wetlands habitat.”; Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, The Coastal Program, Chapter 8, 114.01 which states, “Permanent filling of coastal wetlands below the mean high tide line because of potential adverse and cumulative environmental impacts is not authorized”; Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, The Coastal Program, Chapter 8, 114.03 which states, “Sensitive coastal wetlands must not be filled”. The applicant justifies these requests under Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, The Coastal Program, Chapter 8, 118.03 by stating that no feasible, alternative sites or construction techniques are available; there is a significant public benefit in the activity; and a public hearing will be held.

In compliance with Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, 1341), as amended by PL 95-217, the applicant will request certification from the Office of Pollution Control that the above mentioned activity will be in compliance with applicable provisions of Section 301 (33 U.S.C. 1311), Section 302 (33 U.S.C. 1312), Section 303 (U.S.C. 1313), Section 306 (U.S.C. 1316), and Section 307 (U.S.C. 1317) of the Act and appropriate requirements of the State Law.

Any person wishing to make comments or objections to the proposed regulated activity must submit those comments in writing to the Department of Marine Resources by mail to 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530; by fax to 228-374-5008; or by email to katie.nelson@dmr.ms.gov before 5:00 p.m. on the day July 17, 2024.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, at 5:30 p.m. in the Bolton Building Auditorium at 1141 Bayview Ave, Biloxi, MS, 39530. The public hearing will not be a question-and-answer session but will be a medium for concerned parties to make comments about the proposed project for the public record.

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You should receive an acknowledgement of your comment from Katie Nelson by email. If you do not receive this acknowledgement, please contact katie.nelson@dmr.ms.gov.