Public Notice Notifications

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

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SAJ-2015-00681 (SP-LDD)

Published Feb. 3, 2017
Expiration date: 2/24/2017

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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

APPLICANT: Hillsborough County
Public Utilities Department
925 E. Twiggs Street
Tampa, Florida 33602

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Double Branch Creek, which eventually leads into Tampa Bay. The project site is located at the existing Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility (NWRWRF) at 11005 Dale Stitik Drive, Hillsborough County, Florida. The site is located in Sections 4 and 9, Township 29 South, and Range 17 East.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Tampa, take Interstate-4 west and merge onto Interstate-275 South via exit on left toward Tampa International Airport/St. Petersburg. Merge onto FL 60 W/Memorial Highway N via Exit 39 toward FL 589 N/Veterans Expressway/Tampa international Airport/Clearwater. FL 60 W/Memorial Highway N becomes FL 589 N. Keep left, take ramp and turn slight left toward Gunn Highway. Turn slight left onto Ehrlich Road. Ehrlich Road becomes Gunn Highway. Proceed north on Gunn Highway and turn left onto S. Mobley Road. Turn left onto Ed Radice Drive. Turn slight left onto Mike Gypsy Nolan Drive. Turn right onto Dale Stitik Road. The project site is located on the right at 11005 Dale Stitik Drive.

Latitude 28.073°
Longitude -82.608°


Basic: Wastewater treatment facility expansion
Overall: Expansion of the existing Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility in northwest Hillsborough County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is approximately 275 acres and contains the existing NWRWRF water treatment plant and associated infrastructure. An area of open land (FLUCCS 190) used as a material staging area is located along Mobley Road, northeast of the main facility. The main facility site contains areas of mixed rangeland (FLUCCS 330) and temperate hardwoods (FLUCCS 425). The site contains ten freshwater wetlands including mixed wetland hardwoods (FLUCCS 617), cypress (FLUCCS 621), and vegetated non-forested scrub-shrub wetlands (FLUCCS 640). A man-made upland-cut drainage ditch (FLUCCS 514) is located beneath a dense canopy of oak trees (Quercus species) with the edges of the ditch containing sub-canopy species. The site contains stormwater management ponds associated with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) permitting for the site and one small cattle pond excavated in uplands. An electrical power transmission line easement runs through the site. The easement is periodically mowed and maintained to trim canopy vegetation. The site contains areas of nuisance/exotic vegetation. The public Ed Radice Park is located along the northern project boundary. The existing area surrounding the project area is suburban area containing residential and commercial development.

PROPOSED WORK: The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved the Northwest Hillsborough Wastewater Consolidation Project to improve wastewater service in northwest Hillsborough County. The project calls for de-commissioning two failing wastewater treatment facilities (Dale Mabry Wastewater Treatment Plant and River Oaks Wastewater Treatment Plant) and expanding the NWRWRF to accommodate the incorporation of the service areas covered by the plants to be retired. In addition to the expansion of the NWRWRF, the construction of an additional pump station and approximately four miles of transmission mains would be required. In addition to expansion of the NWRWRF facility, the applicant also proposes the construction of an on-site meandering, multi-use recreational trail totaling approximately 1.9 miles in length that would provide passive recreational opportunities.

In order to complete this construction, the applicant seeks authorization for impacts resulting from the placement of fill in a total of 10.84 acres within 7 of the 10 on-site wetlands. The project proposes 0.07 acres of dredge impacts within Wetland WL 10 to provide a surface water connection to the adjacent wetland creation mitigation area (WCA 1). The project also proposes the placement of fill within 1.31 acres of on-site other surface waters. Total fill impacts resulting from the project would be 12.15 acres. The incorporation of Best Management Practices would be implemented to reduce potential effects from odor, lighting, and noise. Erosion control devices would be installed to reduce soil erosion and turbidity.

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: Wetland impacts have been avoided and minimized to the greatest practicable extent. The original site plan proposed impacts to 25.5 acres of wetlands. Multiple design iterations have been considered and the final design has resulted in a reduction of wetland impacts. The County had previously completed a public master plan for recreational uses in the area that recommended construction of a 7.2-mile multi-use boardwalk and nature trails. The design of the recreational trail component of the project has also undergone refinement to avoid and minimize impacts. Trails within the powerline easement have been routed through uplands when possible. When upland routes were not available, the trail design was routed through lesser quality wetlands or lesser quality portions of wetlands. The project proposes the use of pile-supported boardwalks and elevated boardwalks to minimize impacts. Clean soil would be used for the fill placed in wetlands. Wetland areas to be preserved would be clearly marked in the field to avoid damage and intrusion.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Herbaceous wetland impacts would be mitigated by the procurement of up to 1.05 credits from the Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank (TBMB). As the project site is not within the service area of an approved mitigation bank with available forested credits, on-site creation, restoration, and enhancement of wetlands is proposed as compensatory mitigation for 6.96 acres of impacts to mixed wetland hardwoods and 2.72 acres of cypress. The applicant proposes the creation of 20.23 acres of new forested wetland systems, 1.67 acres of forested wetland restoration, and 68.05 acres of wetland enhancement.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: A cultural resource assessment survey was conducted for the site in July 2015, by Archaeological Consultants, Inc. The subsequent “Cultural Resource Assessment Survey of the Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility Expansion, Hillsborough County, Florida” report was provided to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO). Per letter dated 16 October 2015, based on the information provided, the SHPO concurred with the determinations of the report and finds the submitted report complete and sufficient in accordance with Chapter 1A-46, Florida Administrative Code. 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 project site is located within the core foraging area of suitable foraging habitat of known colonies of the federally endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana) within Hillsborough County. The Corps has completed an evaluation of the impacts the work may have on the wood stork or its designated critical habitat. Completion of “THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS, JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT, U. S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, JACKSONVILLE ECOLOGICAL SERVICES FIELD OFFICE AND STATE OF FLORIDA EFFECT DETERMINATION KEY FOR THE WOOD STORK IN CENTRAL AND NORTH PENINSULAR FLORIDA September 2008” resulted in a determination of “no affect” for the wood stork. “No affect” determinations for projects made pursuant to this key require no further consultation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

No gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) or active or inactive burrows were noted on the project site. Uplands located in the western portion of the project site may be capable of supporting habitat that would be suitable for the existence of gopher tortoise. A field inspection of the site did not reveal the presence of gopher tortoise. The presence of gopher tortoise burrows is an indication for the existence of potential habitat for the federally threatened Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais coupri), which are often associated with gopher tortoises and gopher tortoise burrows. The applicant would adhere to the “Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – August 12, 2013”. The Corps has completed an evaluation of the impacts the project may have on the Eastern Indigo Snake and has determined that the project is “not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern Indigo Snake.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) routinely concurs with the Corps’ determination of “not likely to adversely affect: for individual project effects to the eastern indigo snake when assurances are given that the applicant would adhere to the “Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – August 12, 2013” and no further consultation with the Service is required.

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. The proposal would not impact any habitat utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, red drum, reef fish, stone crab, spiny lobster, migratory and pelagic fish, snapper and grouper complex, and calico scallop. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Double Branch Creek watershed. 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, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302, within 21 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, Ms. Darlene Dannels, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302; by electronic mail at; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7068; or, by telephone at (813)769-7068.

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 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 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.

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.