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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

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SAJ-2017-02361(SP-DEB)

Posted: 12/6/2017

Expiration date: 1/5/2018


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344):

APPLICANT: Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Chairman Billy Cypress
P.O. Box 440021
Miami, Florida 33144

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Everglades. The project site is located along Snake Road (BIA 1281) from the I-75 exit (Exit 49) in Broward County, Florida, to just over 6 miles north to the Tribe’s boundary with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The assessment area is within the Miccosukee Alligator Alley Reservation which sits within and is surrounded by the Everglades wetland system.

DIRECTIONS TO THE SITE: From Fort Lauderdale (east coast of Florida): Take I-595 west to I-75 (Alligator Alley) north towards Naples, exit I-75 at exit 49 (Snake Road). From Naples (west coast of Florida): Take I-75 (Alligator Alley) south towards Miami, exit I-75 at exit 49 (Snake Road). The proposed project begins at Snake Road I75 Interchange and continues north on Snake Road for 6 miles, terminating at Seminole Tribe’s Big Cypress Reservation.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:

Latitude: 26.237993°
Longitude: -80.855639°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are requesting to widen and improve Snake Road to address safety concerns.

Overall: The Applicant is proposing to widen approximately six miles of Snake Road (BIA 1281) beginning at the intersection with I-75 north to the Tribe’s boundary with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Broward County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: Snake Road sits within the larger Everglades region in close proximity to urbanized areas of Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Florida. However, the project area along Snake Road falls within primarily agricultural lands. The project corridor traverses wetlands and converted pastureland, and is lined with canals created for flood control. Pasture lands along Snake Road are leased for agricultural use, primarily cattle ranching. The wetland system consists of a freshwater system. The project area consists primarily of mowed roadway right-of-way. In places, the adjacent canals are lined with wetland scrub vegetation such as willow, saltbush, cattail and primrose willow. Areas to the south support small fragmented forested wetlands containing cypress, red maple, Brazilian pepper and other wetland hardwoods. The following table identifies those habitat types identified within the project area according to the Florida Land Use Coding and Classification (FLUCCS) System:

 

Land Use

FLUCCS

Code

FLUCCS Description

National Wetlands Inventory Code

Description

Upland herbaceous (dry prairie)

310

Upland prairie grasses occurring on non-hydric soils but may be occasionally inundated with water.

NA

 

Brazilian Pepper

422

Upland populated with this exotic, pestilent tree species

NA

 

Canal

512

Streams and Waterways— includes channelized, linear waterbodies.

R2UBHx

Riverine, Lower Perennial, Unconsolidated Bottom, Permanently Flooded, Excavated

Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (and with 5-50% exotics)

617, 617- E1, 617-E2

Wetland hardwood communities which are composed of a large variety of hardwood species with an ill-defined mixture.

PFO1C

Palustrine, Forested, Broad- Leaved, Deciduous, Seasonally Flooded

Willow

618

Willow and Elderberry-in this community willow is the pure or predominant species

PSS1Cd

Palustrine, Shrub-Scrub, Broad-leaved Deciduous, Seasonally Flooded, Partially Drained/Ditched

Cypress (and cypress with mixed scrub)

621, 6126

This community is composed of pond or bald cypress which is either pure or predominant.

PFO2C/PSS2C

Palustrine, Forested, Needle- leaved Deciduous, Seasonally Flooded

Wetland shrub/scrub (and with 26-50% exotics, or disturbed)

631, 631-

E2, 6319

Wetland Scrub associated with topographic depressions and poorly drained soils, includes species such as willow and other low scrub in which no species dominates

PSS1Cd

Palustrine, Scrub-Shrub, Broad-Leaved Deciduous, Seasonally Flooded, Partially Drained/Ditched

Hydric Right of Way

6409

Vegetated non-forested wetlands, disturbed.

 

 

Freshwater Marsh

641, 6412,

6413, 6417

Freshwater Marsh, with cattail, spike rush, or emergent herbaceous with shrubs

PEM1F

Palustrine, Emergent, Persistent, Semi-Permanently Flooded

Roadway fill Snake Road slope

744

Fill Area (highways-railways)

NA

 

Snake Road

8144

Roads and Highways rural, two lane

NA

 

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for placement of fill in 10.70 acres of freshwater wetlands to widen the existing travel lane width from 10 feet to 12 feet. The proposed expansion will add 5-foot paved shoulders to each travel lane to address road shoulders that are either lacking, or are unpaved and unsafe for vehicles.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: The applicant has provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment:

Avoidance Measures: Where the plan lines shown in Annex 1 of Attachment A of the permit application cross into surface waters (i.e., canals), the actual design will be pulled back so that the as-built slope will not encroach beyond the existing Top of Bank. Direct fill in surface waters will be avoided. Fill stockpiles and staging areas will be placed to avoid wetlands.

Minimization Measures: All fill stockpiles and staging areas will be protected with a staked silt fence (Type II). A double floating turbidity barrier will be placed between project activities and adjacent canals. The erosion control plan for the project can be found attached to this PN. Additionally, protective measures must be demonstrated for the project to receive a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Water Quality Certification (33 USC 1251) from the Miccosukee Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA).

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

Compensation for the loss of functional habitat value of lands affected by the Project will be through the mitigation plan developed for Sherrod Ranch. Sherrod Ranch encompasses 2,434 acres within southern Hendry County. The property is immediately north of the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Big Cypress Reservation “native area,” which is the location of the Seminole Advanced Mitigation Program. The Tribe purchased Sherrod Ranch in 1998 with the intent that the property would be utilized as a source of mitigation for tribal projects within their other reservations. In 2005, the BIA approved the Tribe’s application to bring the property under federal trust status. Sherrod Ranch contains the Tribe’s most diverse range of habitats, from cypress stands/domes to wet prairie to upland hardwood forest. Portions of Sherrod have been physically and hydrologically altered by canals and prior agricultural practices, which were in place prior to the Tribe’s purchase of the property. The dominant invasive species on site includes melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), and Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum). The Tribe has utilized this property in the past to mitigate for projects authorized by the Corps. Previously, compensatory mitigation was identified in terms of acres (as opposed to wetland credits), with the bulk of the mitigation requiring strictly removal of the invasive exotic melaleuca.

 
The Sherrod Ranch Mitigation Plan provides approximately 137.8 credits based on the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM). UMAM assessments for Snake Road wetland impacts would result in a Functional Loss of 3.84 credits, most of which occur within the area classified as “hydric right-of-way”, as shown in the table below. This classification includes the swale area from the roadway toe-of-slope to the canal top-of-bank, in most places, and is considered part of the roadway drainage system. The 3.84 credits will be debited from the Sherrod Ranch mitigation credit ledger.

FLUCFCS Code

FLUCFCS Description

Acres Impacted

Functional Loss (from UMAM)

617

Mixed wetland hardwoods

0.03

0.02

618

Willow

0.08

0.06

621

Cypress

0.13

0.10

630

Wetland forested, mixed

0.05

0.04

631

Wetland shrub

0.32

0.20

6409

Hydric Right-of-Way

9.78

3.26

641

Freshwater marsh

0.25

0.16

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area. Previous coordination with SHPO and THPO was conducted for the 2006 Snake Road PD&E Study. No historic or cultural resources have been identified in the project area.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined that the proposed work may affect threatened and endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as follows:

Common Name

Latin Name

ESA

listing

Effect on Species

Critical Habitat Designation

Effect on Critical Habitat

Eastern Indigo Snake

Drymarchon corais couperi

T

NLAA

No

--

Everglades Snail Kite

Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus

E

NLAA

Yes

[42 FR 47840 47845

September 22, 1977]

NE

Florida Bonneted Bat

Eumops floridanus

E

NE

No

--

Florida Panther

Puma concolor coryi

E

MA

No

--

Northern Crested Caracara

Caracara cheriway

T

NLAA

No

--

Wood Stork

Mycteria americana

T

NLAA

No

--

E= endangered; T= threatened; NLAA = May affect, Not Likely to Adversely Affect; MA = May Affect, likely to adversely affect; NE = No Effect

By way of separate letter, the Corps will request consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA. The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The proposal would impact approximately 10.70 acres of freshwater wetlands. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Everglades basin. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification is being sought from the Tribe’s Water Resources Department. The project will be reviewed by the Tribe’s Water Control Officer in its Water Resource Department to ensure that the project will not impact water quality as set forth in the Miccosukee Water Quality Standards, and identifies the appropriate pollution reduction controls and storm water management procedures. MEPA will then issue a Water Quality Certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, 1341) following standard public notice and opportunity for public hearing. 401 Water Quality Certifications are conditioned upon compliance with EPA Region 4’s “National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges from Large and Small Construction Activities.”

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan.

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: 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.

EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact 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 benefits, which reasonably 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 cumulative impacts thereof; among these are 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. Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest. The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicant's avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.

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 impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this determination, comments are used to assess impacts to endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of 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.

COMMENTS: Comments regarding this request for proposed work in waters of the U.S. should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer within 30 days from the date of this notice, to Mr. Dale Beter, at the above letter head address, or by electronic mail at Dale.E.Beter@usace.army.mil, or by phone at (904) 232-1361.

 

Broward County Jacksonville District permit public notice U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE