The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District issued a Department of the Army (DA) permit to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District 4 and the County of Palm Beach for the construction of a new roadway extension of State Road (SR) 7 from 60th Street North to Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach County. The permit was issued on July 20.
The DA permit authorizes widening the existing two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided roadway from Okeechobee Boulevard to 60th Street North (Segment 1) and construction of a new section of four-lane divided roadway north from 60th Street North to Northlake Boulevard (Segment 2). The project design includes the construction of associated stormwater management facilities within the existing right-of-way for water quality treatment and flow attenuation.
The project incorporates numerous protective design features to protect the Grassy Waters Preserve by providing improved runoff quality and emergency containment in the event of a spill. These protective design features include a sealed bridge span with enhanced sidewalls over the M-Canal, a dry containment swale, and drainage directed west into existing containment and treatment infrastructure.
The project will impact 59.97 acres of low to moderate quality waters of the United States (wetlands and other waters), however, beneficial environmental effects will result from the proposed mitigation for effects to wetlands and endangered species. The proposed mitigation consists of the deduction of credits from established Permittee Responsible Mitigation Areas (PROMAs) and the purchase of credits from a federally approved mitigation bank.
The proposed impacts to 59.97 acres of snail kite habitat would be mitigated through preservation of over 216 acres of ideal snail kite and woodstork foraging and nesting habitat.
Additionally, the project includes 52.4 acres of onsite wetland creation, enhancement, restoration, and preservation that will provide endangered species critical habitat benefits and minimize secondary impacts by providing a valuable buffer between the project and the Grassy Waters Preserve.
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit was based on the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated waters of the U.S. and on the information received through the public notice process. This included a detailed alternative analysis, public interest review, and a detailed evaluation of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines of the Clean Water Act. The DA permit was issued pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which directs the Corps to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.
Release no. 17-029