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: Colonel April D. Vogel
U.S. Air Force, 6 AMW Commander
8208 Hangar Loop Drive, Suite 1
MacDill Air Force Base, FL 66321-5407
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Tampa Bay. The project site is located at the existing skeet/grenade range (SGR) in the west-central part of MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), in Section 28, Township 30 South, Range 18 East; the proposed SGR relocation area is located in the southeastern part of MacDill AFB, in Section 34, Township 30 South, Range 18 East; in MacDill AFB, Hillsborough County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 S, take exit 256 toward Tampa/Port of Tampa. Continue onto FL-618 Toll/Selmon Expressway. Take exit 1A on the left to merge onto US-92 E/W Gandy Blvd. Turn right onto FL-573 S. Turn right onto Interbay Blvd. Turn left onto N Boundary Blvd. Turn right to stay on N Boundary Blvd. Continue onto Southshore Ave. The proposed ASF site is on the left at the existing SGR facility. For the proposed SGR relocation area, continue on Southshore Ave, then turn right onto Marina Bay Drive. The proposed relocation area is on the right, just south of the intersection.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Proposed Aviation Support Facility:
Proposed skeet/grenade range location:
Basic: Aviation support for the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)
Overall: Relocation of USAR helicopter units from overcrowded conditions at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport to a location within 50 miles of its current location
Water dependency determination: The project is not water dependent.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed Aviation Support Facility (ASF) is located at the existing skeet/grenade range (SGR) in west-central MacDill AFB. This site, known as the ASF site, contains approximately 29 acres of wetlands and 270 linear feet of drainage ditch. The wetlands at the ASF site are characterized as 2.13 acres of hydric pine flatwoods, 1.93 acres of wetland scrub/shrub, and 1.31 acres of freshwater marsh and wet prairie. The proposed SGR relocation site contains approximately 5 acres of estuarine intertidal scrub/shrub wetlands and 2.35 acres of tidally influenced ditches.
PROPOSED WORK: The proposed project involves the construction of a new U.S. Army Reserve Aviation Support Facility (ASF) and supporting infrastructure at the existing skeet/grenade range (SGR) in west-central MacDill AFB, as well as the relocation of the SGR to the southeastern area of MacDill. The construction of the ASF would result in 5.4 acres of filling impacts and 0.273 acre of clearing impacts to palustrine wetlands. The relocation of the SGR would result in clearing impacts to 0.07 acre of estuarine wetlands and 1.42 acres of estuarine ditches. Work is proposed in accordance with the attached site plans.
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:
“The facilities and other infrastructure have been sized only to the extent needed to support the helicopter units’ mission. The USAR also has made several design and site layout modifications to minimize wetland impacts, to the extent possible, at the proposed construction site. Design modifications included reducing the number of programmed buildings, which resulted in a 23 percent reduction in the total construction footprint. Site layout modifications included rotating the helicopter parking apron, changing the building shape, and compressing the overall footprint to avoid and minimize wetland impacts. Erosion and sedimentation controls, and other appropriate best management practices will be implemented during construction to prevent any indirect impacts on wetlands and surface waters.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to purchase federal palustrine emergent credits from the Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank to compensate for emergent wetland impacts, and perform on-site permittee-responsible mitigation consisting of palustrine forested and scrub/shrub wetland restoration to compensate for palustrine forested and scrub/shrub wetland impacts.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. The applicant has initiated coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (MANLAA) the wood stork (Mycteria americana), piping plover (Charadrius melodus) and rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The USAF has the FWS’ concurrence with the determination of MANLAA for the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi).
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 permanently impact palustrine wetlands, and result in clearing in estuarine wetlands and tidally influenced ditches. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in Tampa Bay. 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 is required. The project is under review at the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission.
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, FL 33610 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, Jessica Cordwell, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120 Tampa, Florida 33610, by telephone at (813)769-7067, by fax at (813)769-7061, or by electronic mail at Jessica.L.Cordwell@usace.army.mil.
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, aesthetics, 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.
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.