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SAJ-2013-02583

Posted: 7/25/2017

Expiration date: 8/24/2017


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a complete prospectus proposing the establishment of a mitigation bank pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:

APPLICANT:  J.R. Paul Enterprises, Inc.
                       P.O. Box 2357
                       LaBelle, Florida 33975-2357

LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 760.3-acre Tippen Bay Wetland Mitigation Bank (TBWMB), is located in the southeast corner of DeSoto County just north of the Charlotte County line within Sections 27-29 and 32-34, Township 39 South, and Range 27 East, DeSoto County, Florida.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude: 27.0404278°
                                                                          Longitude: -81.6189694°

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the TBWMB prospectus online so that it is available for review by the public. The prospectus may be downloaded from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) at web address: https://ribits.usace.army.mil.

Once on the RIBITS homepage, select "Jacksonville" from the "ALL DISTRICTS" drop down menu located in the lower left corner of the screen. Once the district filter has been selected, click on the “Banks & ILF Sites” link located in the Navigation box (upper left corner). This will generate a list of projects, scroll down the list and click on the “Tippen Bay Wetland MB” link. On this page, click on the "Cyber Repository" link located on the menu bar above the General Information box, then click on the PROSPECTUS folder to access the prospectus associated with the project.

If you are unable to access the web address, a copy of the prospectus is available upon request to the project manager listed at the end of this public notice.

PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: The applicant seeks authorization to enhance, restore, preserve and protect wetlands, creating conditions similar to those that historically existed on the 760.3-acre property. The goals of the TBWMB include the restoration of 602.1 acres of herbaceous wetlands and 24.9 acres of forested wetlands. Specific restoration objectives include rehydration, invasive species removal, feral hog control, removal of livestock, and prescribed burns. Additionally, management efforts will be concentrated on the removal and continued maintenance of limpograss (Hermarthria altissima) by applying various management strategies as necessary, including improvements in hydrology. The goal of these efforts will be to shift the land from historical uses in cattle grazing to more ecologically beneficial wetlands.

ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of the earliest known historic aerial imagery from 1943 indicated very little alteration of native habitats on site except for some ditching activity on the main central north/south flow way. By 1968, the Montgomery Canal, which borders the east, west, and south boundaries of the bank was constructed and subsequent ditches were created along the canal. These alternations to the land effectively drained the majority of the bank property and caused a reduction in the overall acreage of wetlands and slough marshes. While much of the site has been drained since 1943, a significant amount of native habitat remains. The TBWMB is located entirely within the Cow Slough Drainage Basin in the Shell Creek sub-basin of the Peace River Watershed. The area is flat, with contour maps displaying an elevation of approximately 60 feet above mean sea level at the highest elevations in the north, and low elevation of about 50 feet above mean sea level in the south. Both forested and herbaceous vegetation occur on the project site, although herbaceous wetlands occupy the greatest percentage of land cover. The site is comprised of a mosaic of generally intact but grazed native ecosystems including dry prairie, shallow and deep marshes, forested wetlands, and hardwood forests. Disturbed habitats include improved pasture, channelized drainage ways, and wetland areas. Upland communities on the TBWMB include dry palmetto prairie, live oak hammock, and cabbage palm hammock.

ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed TBWMB would be established and operated by J.R. Paul Properties, Inc. as the Sponsor with the assistance of Environmental Consulting and Design, Inc. The property that comprises the TBWMB is owned by J.R. Paul Properties, Inc. (“Property Owner”). There are currently a number of encumbrances on the parcels which will be reviewed during the evaluation process.

The TBWMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following TBWMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of TBWMB. In addition, J.R. Paul Properties, Inc. will provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed TBWMB.

PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project lies wholly within the Peace River Sub-basin (HUC 03100101). The Applicant proposes a Mitigation Service Area (MSA) that is coincident with the Peace River Sub-basin. The Applicant anticipates that the proposed TBWMB MSA includes wetland habitat communities that could reasonably be expected to occur on the TBWMB.

NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. This information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program.

Comments regarding the proposed mitigation bank should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the address below within 30 days from the date of this notice.

If you have any questions concerning this proposed project, you may contact Ms. Amy Thompson by electronic mail at Amy.D.Thompson@usace.army.mil, by fax at 904-232-1904, or by telephone at 904-232-3974 or at the following address:

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
P. O. BOX 4970
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32232-0019

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Services, and other Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and concerned citizens generally yields pertinent environmental information that is instrumental in determining the impact the proposed action will have on the natural resources of the area. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat

EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. That determination will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, 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.

The Corps 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 proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.

DeSoto County Jacksonville District mitigation bank public notice U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE