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: Sia Mollanazar, P.E.
1022 26th Avenue East
Bradenton, Florida 34208
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with wetlands and ditches leading to the Braden River. The project limits are from east of 45th Street East to 44th Avenue Plaza East, and along Morgan Johnson from south of 41st Avenue East along the new alignment connecting to Caruso Road north of 48th Avenue East, for a total length of approximately 2.13 miles. The project is located within Sections 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 of Township 36 South, Range 18 East, Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75S, take exit 217 toward Arcadia, turn right onto FL-70 W; turn right onto 45th Street East, turn right onto 44th Avenue East. The project begins at the intersection of 45th Street East and 44th Avenue East and continues east along 44th Avenue East, across the Braden River, to 44th Avenue Plaza East.
Overall: Transportation infrastructure improvements between 45th Street East and 44th Avenue Plaza East in Manatee County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a wetland, river, pond, and five ditches. Eight upland land use/vegetative cover types are present within the project area including, Low Density Residential (12.81 acres), Commercial and Services (0.25 acre), Improve Pastures (13.28 acres), Unimproved Pasture (0.08 acre), Row Crops (0.86 acre), Fruit Orchards (1.40 acres), Roads and Highways (15.57 acres), and Utilities (0.89 acre).
Wetland B is located on the south side of 44th Avenue East approximately 0.2 mile east of 45th Street East and consists of floodplains from connected ditches. This exotic hardwood wetland is dominated by Brazilian pepper with no understory and connects to Ditch 2 via a culvert. This wetland comprises approximately 0.04 acres of the project area.
Ditches 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are upland-cut drainage features with banks that are mowed and maintained. They are classified as PEM1Cx - Palustrine, Emergent, Persistent, Seasonally Flooded, Excavated. Dominant vegetation within the drainage ditches includes primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana), Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), water pennywort (Hydrocotyle spp.), and torpedo grass (Panicum repens). Upland-cut ditches account for 1.63 acres of the project area.
Pond A consists of an open water stormwater pond located on the north side of 44th Avenue East on the east side of the Braden River. Sparse vegetation along the perimeter of the pond predominantly consists of Carolina willow (Salix carolineana) and torpedo grass. This surface water comprises 0.09 acre of the total project area.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to conduct transportation improvements, including a new bridge across the Braden River, between 45th Street East and 44th Avenue Plaza East. Proposed construction includes widening 44th Avenue East from a two-land rural section to a four-lane urban section and partial road realignment. The proposed bridge is under the regulatory jurisdiction of the US Coast Guard and will be permitted separately. Road construction would include impacts to 0.04 acres of wetlands and 1.72 acres of other surface waters.
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:
Unavoidable impacts to wetlands and other surface waters resulting from construction and operation of the project will occur within the project area. Transportation safety standards for side slopes, turn radius, additional lanes and widths necessitate these impacts. The wetland and other surface water impacts are unavoidable due to their location within the existing right-of-way and proximity to the proposed bridge construction. All impacts to wetlands were reduced to the maximum extent practicable. Fill activities associated with the installation of bridge support pilings and footers within the Braden River will not impact the east and west littoral edges that contain mangroves. The stormwater management system will not discharge stormwater from the bridge directly into the Braden River. All stormwater generated on the bridge will be directed to ponds on the west and east sides of the Braden River for treatment prior to discharge.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
For the 0.04 acre of unavoidable direct herbaceous wetland impacts, wetland mitigation will be provided through the purchase of 0.01 herbaceous federal credit at the Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank (TBMB).
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 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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake. This determination was made using the 2013 Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork or its designated critical habitat. This determination was made using the 2010 Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida Scrub Jay or the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow as no suitable habitat exists for these species.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Braden River. 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.
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 Tampa Permits Section within 15 days from the date of this notice. For electronic mail (preferred) submit comments to Caitlin.S.Hoch@usace.army.mil. For standard mail submit comments to 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302. Please reference this permit number, SAJ- 2016-03350 (SP-CSH), on all submittals.
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, Caitlin Hoch at the Tampa Permits Section by electronic mail at Caitlin.S.Hoch@usace.army.mil, or in writing to 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; or, by telephone at (813)769-7074.
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 US Army Corps of Engineers (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.