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: Felix Arancherry
4955 Rottschild Drive
Pompano Beach, Florida 33067
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with wetlands. The project site is located at 5686 Homeland Road, Lake Worth (Section 35, Township 44 south, Range 41 east), Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Exit Florida’s Turnpike at Lake Worth Road and head west to State Road 7. Turn left onto State Road 7 and head south to 50th Street South. Turn right onto 50th Street South and head west to Homeland Road. Turn left onto Homeland Road and head south. The parcel is on the east side of the road approximately one mile down.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is to construct a single-family residence.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a single-family residence with associated facilities within western Palm Beach County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is a 5.0-acre parcel. The wetland system consists of a 2.72 acre freshwater herbaceous marsh system. The site also contain 0.5 acre of pine flatwoods and a 1.78 acre FPL powerline easement. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of low density residential lots within an established equestrian community.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place approximately 1,300 cubic yards of fill over 1.90 acres of herbaceous wetlands in order to construct a single family residence with associated facilities.
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 project as originally proposed included impacts to the entire 2.72 acre herbaceous wetland. The applicant has minimized wetland impacts by revising the project to avoid 0.82 acre of onsite herbaceous wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to offset direct impacts through the purchase of credits from FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank (EMB). The wetland was scored using the WATER scoring system, the same scoring system that the EMB used during its permit approval. The WATER score for this site was determined to be 0.49 with a 1.03 site suitability multiplier for a total of 0.50. The proposed plan incurs 1.90 acres of wetland impacts times a score of 0.50 results in 0.95 freshwater herbaceous credits being required to be purchased to offset the functional losses onsite.
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 project is within the range or in the consultation area of the threatened Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Everglade snail kite, and wood stork (Mycteria americana).
Based on information available from the applicant our initial determination for the project is listed below:
• Not Likely to Adversely Affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The project will not impact more than 25 active or inactive gopher tortoise burrows. By use of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated January 25, 2010 and the August 12, 2013 addendum, the following key sequence A>B>C>D>E “Not Likely to Adversely Affect”.
• Not Likely to Adversely Affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The applicant has proposed compensation for wetland impacts through the use of federally approved mitigation bank credits. By use of the FWS Wood Stork Key dated January 25, 2010 and the May 18, 2010 addendum, the following key sequence A>B>C>E would result in a “Not Likely to Adversely Affect”. Any loss of wood stork foraging biomass resulting from the proposed activity will be compensated through the purchase of mitigation credits from a federally approved mitigation bank. A wood stork foraging biomass analysis was not required as impacts are less than 5-acres.
• No effect to the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) or Everglade snail kite. The project area does not contain suitable habitat for either species; therefore, the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on Florida’s scrub jay.
The Corps has received programmatic concurrence from FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for the Eastern indigo snake and wood stork therefore no further consultation is required. In addition, no consultation is required for “no effect” determinations under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 project site contains 1,086 of freshwater wetlands. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic region. 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 within 15 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, Samantha L. Rice, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Samantha.L.Rice@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3536.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The property was initially cleared prior to obtaining authorization from the Corps. An enforcement action was completed which resulted in a tolling agreement and a requirement to obtain an individual permit. This application is the fulfillment of the permit requirement of the agreement.
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.