The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Regulatory Division, has received a new Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO), referred to as ‘JaxBO,’ from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The main aim of PBO is to address consultation requirements for certain activities that may affect federally listed threatened and endangered species occurring throughout the State of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
JaxBo was issued November 20, said USACE.
This latest Programmatic Biological Opinion is the result of years of interagency coordination focusing on improving efficiencies with respect to consultation requirements pursuant to Section 7, Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973.
It addresses ESA requirements for ten categories of regulated activities including, but not limited to shoreline stabilization, construction of docks and other pile supported structures, maintenance dredging, boat ramps, and water-management outfall structures, etc.
JaxBO streamlines consultation requirements by the ESA and covers all Federally protected species under NMFS purview throughout the State of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It addresses consultation on approximately 43,000 projects over the next five years and requires adherence to certain project design criteria (PDCs) for each activity, including those for all projects, as well as those specific to addressing the effects of noise, vessel strikes, entanglement and entrapment, and the direct and indirect effects on aquatic resources such as Johnson’s seagrass.