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: RPC-LA Florida Venture, LLC
Attn: Mr. Gerald Daws
4392 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30319
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Sixmile Creek. The proposed project site consists of approximately 128.6 acres of partially developed land located south of Pritchard Road, east of Interstate 295, and west of Old Kings Road in portions of Sections 36, 37, 39, and 40, Township 1 North, Range 25 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.370647°
Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is commercial development, including a hotel facility, serving west-central Duval County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) characterizes wetlands within the interior of the site and along the northern portions of the site as Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS code 630). Ditches within these wetlands have facilitated drainage from offsite systems to the north and the northern portion of the site into Sixmile Creek. Sixmile Creek traverses the southern portion of the property, flowing from west to east. Higher quality, Stream and Lake Swamp (FLUCFCS code 615) wetlands are present along both sides of this waterway. Uplands at the site are located near the northwest corner of the property and within the center of the property. The site is partially developed as a result of a previous Department of the Army authorization (reference Project History, below).
PROJECT HISTORY: On March 7, 2008, the Corps authorized work at the site that would eliminate a total of 3.94 acres of wetlands to facilitate the achievement of the overall project purpose. In subsequent modifications to that permit, the Corps authorized additional work affecting 0.3 acre of wetlands (revised total area of work became 4.24 acres) and extended the expiration date of the permit to March 7, 2015. The permittee implemented work at the site, placed fill over approximately 1.25 acres of the permitted 4.24 acres, and completed construction of one of the four buildings envisioned, along with supporting roadways and portions of the stormwater management system. Construction is on-going; however, the permittee has not executed development of the site as originally anticipated. The permittee, though, has completed all of the compensatory mitigation associated with the original permit and subsequent modifications, which is the purchase of mitigation bank credits (1.72 credits), onsite wetland creation (0.90 acre), and onsite wetland preservation (66.61 acres).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill over previously permitted areas. That work would eliminate a total of 2.99 acres of wetlands.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: The applicant simply seeks re-authorization of previously permitted work. Therefore, the applicant did not submit specific information regarding any revisions to the previously evaluated avoidance and minimization of work affecting wetlands associated with the original project.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant previously implemented all of the compensatory mitigation associated with the overall project, including compensatory mitigation for the work not yet completed. Therefore, the applicant did not propose additional compensatory mitigation.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: Through the evaluation of the original permit, the Corps determined that the project would not affect any sites listed in, or eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The project site is approximately 7 miles from the Jacksonville Zoo Wood Stork nesting colony and within the Core Foraging Area of that colony. However, the project does not adversely affect suitable foraging habitat. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized 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, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-no effect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) previously indicated that they concur with determinations of no effect based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is approximately 10 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for Red Cockaded Woodpecker; and, within the consultation area identified by FWS and the Corps for this species. Therefore, Red Cockaded Woodpecker could utilize the project site. Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Further, as significant forested habitat is located near the project site, it is likely that this species would only opportunistically forage at the site, which the development of the site would not preclude. Therefore, the Corps has determined that the project would have no effect on this species.
The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed 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. The proposal would not affect marine or estuarine habitats. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in Sixmile Creek. 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. Corps personnel have verified the jurisdictional line.
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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark R. Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.
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.