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20180301-SAJ-2017-01376(SP-LSL)

Posted: 3/1/2018

Expiration date: 3/31/2018


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) as described below:

APPLICANT: Ms. Nicole Monies
Florida Department of Transportation – District 1
801 North Broadway Avenue
Bartow, Florida 33830

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with L-29 Canal which outfalls into the Townsend Canal and discharges into an unnamed wetland which outfalls into Cow Slough. The project site is located along State Road (SR) 82 from west of Gator Slough Lane extending eastward to SR 29. The project limits are east of Lehigh Acres in Lee County and north of Immokalee in Collier County.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 75, take SR 82 (Exit 138). Travel east approximately 23 miles. The project starts west of Gator Slough Lane and continues approximately 3.2 miles east to SR 29.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:

    Longitude                        Latitude
Start 26.497660⁰            -81.482349⁰
Stop 26.485617⁰            -81.434484⁰

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: Transportation.

Overall: Widening of an existing roadway, SR 82, from west of Gator Slough Lane extending eastward to SR 29, Lee and Collier Counties, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: Sixteen (16) wetlands and 23 surface waters were delineated within the project limits. Systems were classified by FLUCFCS and also characterized according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States (Cowardin 1979). The following paragraphs describe the vegetative composition and hydrological features of project wetlands and surface waters.

Wetland 1
USFWS Classification: PSS1
FLUCFCS Code: 6310 – Wetland Scrub
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 1 is located at the southwest corner of SR 82 and SR 29. The wetland continues south beyond the SR 82 ROW. North of and connected to Wetland 1 is Surface Water 11. Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators were present. Vegetation within the wetland included Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), and Peruvian primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana).

Wetland 1A
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

The impact area for Wetland 1A is located immediately west of SR 29, and south of SR
82. This area is essentially a low-lying area immediately adjacent to Surface Water 10 that receives overflow hydrology and has wetland characteristics. However, a little further to the west, the system begins to phase into uplands that are mowed when dry. There is a residential property to the southwest. This system appears to hold little standing water, and likely is only saturated for a limited time during the year. It is an overflow area for the adjacent canal. Vegetation is composed of Peruvian primrose willow, manyflower marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), lemon bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana), St. John’s-wort (Hypericum sp.), beakrush (Rhynchospora spp.) torpedo grass (Panicum repens) and arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia). Carolina willow is present along the edges of the system.

Wetland 2
USFWS Classification: PSS1
FLUCFCS Code: 6310 – Wetland Scrub
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 2 is located on the north side of SR 82 and approximately 520 feet west of the SR 82/SR 29 intersection. South of and connected to Wetland 2 is Surface Water 2. Wetland 2 continues northward beyond the limits of the SR 82 ROW. This wetland is dominated by Carolina willow and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia). Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators (water marks) were present.

Wetland 2A
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 2A is located on the west side of SR 29 and approximately 700 south of the SR 82/SR 29 intersection. This system is hydrologically connected to Surface Water 11 during rain events. Wetland 2A is composed of coinwort (Centella asiatica), lemon bacopa, Peruvian primrose willow, roundpod St. John’s-wort (Hypericum cistifolium), broadleaf arrowhead, Carolina willow, and torpedo grass. Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators (water marks) were present.

Wetland 3
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 3 is located on the north side of SR 82 and approximately 580 feet west of the SR 82/SR 29 intersection. Wetland 3 is connected to Surface Water 2. Wetland 3 continues north beyond the limits of the SR 82 ROW. Carolina willow and wax myrtle comprise minimal cover; other vegetation includes golden leather fern (Acrostichum aureum), Peruvian primrose willow, purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum), and manyflower marshpennywort. Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators were present.

Wetland 3A
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 3A is located along the east side of the SR 29 ROW, adjacent to east SR 82/SR 29 intersection and totals approximately 0.60 acres. Wetland 3A is connected via a culvert to Surface Water 11. Vegetation within Wetland 3A includes Peruvian primrose willow, roundpod St. John’s-wort, Brazilian pepper, Carolina willow, and dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium). Standing water was not observed but water level indicators were present.

Wetland 3B
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Chobee, Winder, and Gator soils, depressional (hydric)

Wetland 3B is located along the east side of the SR 29 ROW, adjacent to east SR 82/SR 29 intersection and totals approximately 1.57 acres. Wetland 3B is connected via a culvert to Surface Water 11. Vegetation within Wetland 3A includes Peruvian primrose willow, roundpod St. John’s-wort, Brazilian pepper, Carolina willow, and dogfennel. Standing water was not observed but water level indicators were present.

Wetland 4
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (hydric)

Wetland 4, totaling approximately 0.5 acres, continues offsite to the south, but is hydrologically isolated from the agricultural ditches to the southeast. Wetland 4 is located on the south side of SR 82 and approximately 300 feet east of Lamm Road. Vegetation within this system includes Peruvian primrose willow, common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and Baldwin's spikerush (Eleocharis baldwinii). Scattered Carolina willow and Brazilian pepper were also present with minimal coverage. Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators were present.

Wetland 4A
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Oldsmar fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (non-hydric)

Wetland 4A, totaling approximately 1.22 acres, is located on the east side of SR 29 and approximately 790 feet south of the SR 82/SR 29 intersection. Wetland 4A continues offsite beyond the SR 29 ROW to the east and north. Vegetation with this system includes coinwort, lemon bacopa, Peruvian primrose willow, roundpod St. John’s-wort, broadleaf arrowhead, Carolina willow, and torpedo grass. Standing water was not observed, but hydrologic indicators were present.

Wetland 21
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6420 – Wet Prairie
Soil Classification: Myakka fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (non-hydric)

Wetland 21, totaling approximately 0.40 acres, is located on the north side of SR 82 and approximately 1,000 feet east of the SR 82/Gator Slough Lane intersection. Wetland 21 is wholly within the SR 82 ROW, and is separated by an earthen berm from Wetland 20 offiste to the north. Wetland 21 is a highly disturbed, impounded wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 21 is dominated by maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) and torpedograss. Other sparse vegetation with this system includes coinwort, lemon bacopa, broadleaf arrowhead. Standing water was present during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.

Wetland 22
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 22, totaling approximately 1.86 acres, is located on the north side of SR 82 and approximately 3,000 feet east of the SR 82/Gator Slough Lane intersection. Wetland 22 continues offsite to the northwest, which is then surrounded by citrus groves and large agricultural drainage ditches. The portion of Wetland 22 within the SR 82 ROW is a highly disturbed wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 22 is dominated by maidencane, bahiagrass and torpedograss. Other sparse vegetation with this system includes coinwort, lemon bacopa, broadleaf arrowhead. Standing water was present during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.




Wetland 23
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 23, totaling approximately 1.23 acres, is located on the south side of SR 82, immediately across from Wetland 22, and approximately 3,000 feet east of the SR 82/Gator Slough Lane intersection. Wetland 23 is hydrologically connected to Wetland 22 through culverts underneath SR 82. Wetland 23 is almost wholly contained within the SR 82 ROW, with a minor portion of the wetland continuing offsite to the south. Areas to the south of this wetland are largely active pastures w/ an area of dense Brazilian pepper with few cabbage palms. The portion of Wetland 23 within the SR 82 ROW is a highly disturbed wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 23 is dominated by maidencane, bahiagrass and torpedograss. Other sparse vegetation with this system includes coinwort, lemon bacopa, broadleaf arrowhead. Standing water was present during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.

Wetland 24
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 24, totaling approximately 0.54 acres, is located on the north side of SR 82, immediately across the intersection of SR 82 and Lamm Road. The protion of Wetland 24 within the SR 82 ROW is part of a larger marsh that continues offsite to the north. Areas surround this wetland are largely active pastures with some remnant native habitat to the northwest. The portion of Wetland 24 within the SR 82 ROW is a highly disturbed wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 24 is dominated by maidencane, pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata), bahiagrass and torpedograss. Other sparse vegetation with this system includes coinwort and broadleaf arrowhead. Standing water was present during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.

Wetland 25
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 25, totaling approximately 0.14 acres, is located on the north side of SR 82, approximately 1,000 feet east of the SR 82/Lamm Road intersection. Wetland 25 is wholly within the SR 82 ROW. Areas surround this wetland are active pastures. Wetland 25 within the SR 82 ROW is a highly disturbed wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 25 is dominated by maidencane, bahiagrass, smartweed and torpedograss. Saturated soil, hydric indicators, were observed during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.


Wetland 26
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 26, totaling approximately 0.005 acres, is located on the south side of SR 82, approximately 1,000 feet east of the SR 82/Lamm Road intersection. Wetland 25 is wholly within the SR 82 ROW. This remnant wetland area is predominantly an open water ditch separated from Wetland 4 by a low berm. Areas surround this wetland to the south are historically disturbed uplands and wetlands dominated by Brazilian pepper. Wetland 26 is immediately south of SR 82 ROW, and is a highly disturbed with minimal wetland vegetation present including few maidencane and smartweed. Shallow standing water was observed during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.

Wetland 28
USFWS Classification: PEM1
FLUCFCS Code: 6410 – Freshwater Marsh
Soil Classification: Basinger fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slope (hydric)

Wetland 28, totaling approximately 0.11 acres, is located on the north side of SR 82, approximately 100 feet west of the SR 82/Lamm Road intersection. Wetland 28 is wholly within the SR 82 ROW. This wetland was historically part of Wetland 24, but is now isolated. Areas surround this wetland to the north are remnant stands of native flatwoods, Brazilian pepper and active pastures. Wetland 28 within the SR 82 ROW is a highly disturbed wetland that is frequently mowed as part of the SR 82 ROW maintenance. Wetland 28 is dominated by maidencane, bahiagrass, coinwort and torpedograss. Saturated soil, hydric indicators, were observed during the 2017 rainy season that saw abnormally high rain amounts including Hurricane Irma.

Surface Water Characteristics
USFWS Classification: PEM1x
FLUCFCS Code: 510 – Streams and waterways NRCS
Soil Type: various soils that are either hydric and non-hydric depending on location

The surface waters within the project limits can be categorized as roadside linear grass swales/ditches or canals which run parallel to SR 82 and SR 29. Surface waters 2, 2A,10, 11, 11A, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 30, 31, 2A (Pond), 4 (Pond), 5 (Pond), 6 (Pond), 7 (Pond), and 9 (Pond) are included in this category.

These man-made, excavated, drainage conveyances of varying lengths and widths appear to undergo routine mowing and or trimming of vegetation. Vegetation observed includes Brazilian pepper, Peruvian primrose willow, cattail (Typha sp.), Carolina willow, and paragrass (Urochloa mutica). These areas are generally dominated by nuisance/exotic vegetation and have been negatively affected by ROW maintenance and associated edge affects. The canals contain similar species, but due to greater water depths, also demonstrate areas of open water lacking vegetative cover.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to directly impact 5.94 acres of wetlands and 4.88 acre of surface waters in order to widen SR 82 for 3.2 miles from Gator Slough Lane to SR 29. The current design for this project consists of widening SR 82 from an undivided 2-lane roadway to an interim 4-lane rural divided roadway, maintaining room for the future 6-lane typical section, and adding a proposed roundabout with associated turn lanes at the intersection of SR 29. Additionally, 2.87 acres of secondary impacts are proposed.

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:

Temporary erosion and sediment controls, such as silt fence and turbidity barriers, would be utilized during construction.

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

Unavoidable wetland and surface water impacts associated with this segment of SR 82 would result in a functional loss of 3.55 WRAP units for the Corps. The project would include wetland and surface water impacts compensatory mitigation via credits from a private mitigation bank. Specifically, mitigation credits have been purchased from Panther Island Mitigation Bank which currently offers freshwater, forested and marsh credits. Panther Island Mitigation Bank is located in the West Collier drainage basin while impacts are occurring in the West Collier drainage basin.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The project was reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and the State Historic Preservation Officer during the Project Development and Environment Study (PD&E) phase. The findings during PD&E Study phase were that the project would have no adverse effects on historic properties. The scope changed slightly from the initial review and is being reevaluated. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for additional 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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for South Florida dated May 2010, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > E = not likely to adversely affect the wood stork. The project impacts are at a distance greater than 0.47 acre from an active colony site, impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acre, impacts to SFH within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a colony site, and the applicant proposes compensatory mitigation for the loss of SFH.

Based upon review of the North and South Florida Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated 1 August 2017, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E = “Not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern indigo snake. This determination is based on portions of the project being located in uplands, the applicant adhering to the “Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake” and any permit would be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, would be excavated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow.

The project occurs within the consultation area of the Florida bonneted bat, re-cockaded woodpecker, Florida grasshopper sparrow, Florida scrub jay, American alligator and the Everglades snail kite. Surveys conducted failed to detect these species within or near the project corridor. The Corps has determined the proposed work will have no effect on these species.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect the Florida panther and Audubon’s crested caracara. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of ESA, for the proposed project, by separate letter.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): Based on the projects location and distance from tidal waters of the United States and absence of EFH within the impact area, the Corps has determined the proposed work will have no effect to EFH.

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. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps personnel.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.

COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Panama City Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405 within 30 days from the date of this notice.

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.

QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Mrs. Lisa S. Lovvorn, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405; by electronic mail at lisa.s.lovvorn@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (850)872-0231; or, by telephone at (850)763-0717, extension 27.

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: 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 of 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 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan. In Puerto Rico, a Coastal Zone Management Consistency Concurrence is required from the Puerto Rico Planning Board, in the Virgin Islands, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources permit constitutes compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Plan.

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.

Collier County Jacksonville District permit public notice U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)