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: CORE 5 Industrial Partners, LLC
Attention: Tim Gunter
1230 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 3560
Atlanta, GA 30309
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with jurisdictional wetlands. The project site is located at 20421 Sheridan Street, Section 02, Township 51 South, Range 39 East, in Pembroke Pines, Broward County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: After the interchange of Interstate 595 and Interstate 75 (I-75), take I-75 South and take exit 11B for West Sheridan Street. Travel approximately 0.6 miles and merge onto FL-822/ Sheridan Street. Destination will be on the right (north side) in approximately four miles.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Construct a commercial distribution center
Overall: Construct a commercial distribution center along State Road 27 which services Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site was originally developed in 1974 to the construction specifications for a women’s correctional facility. There are many existing buildings, including a barb wire fence, guard houses, and residential homes on the south side of the property all of which have been abandoned. The wetlands to be impacted located within the interior of the site, adjacent to the abandoned correctional facility buildings, were initially part of the existing correctional facility’s stormwater management system. The wetlands along the north end of the property, under the FPL easement have not been previously impacted by construction.
South of the proposed project location is the Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, which is owned and managed by the City of Pembroke Pines. North and west of the proposed project is an existing landfill site and east of the proposed project is a vacant lot owned by the City of Pembroke Pines and Broward County.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place 32,330 cubic yards of fill within 11.1 acres of freshwater wetlands and onsite ponds to construct a commercial distribution center and associated stormwater management system. Specifically the project includes the removal of forty seven (47) buildings using heavy machinery. Material will be brought off site and disposed in an approved facility. The distribution center consists of three buildings and associated roads and parking lots, which will include 37.96 acres of impervious areas, 5.47 of which will be converted wetlands. The associated stormwater management system will include expanding the existing 4.33 stormwater pond by excavating an additional 3.43 acres for a total of 7.76 acre stormwater retention pond, construction of 3.7 acres of dry swales, and an underground drainage system. The stormwater system will also include the installation of four 24 inch culverts, which will discharge stormwater offsite into the adjacent western canal. Project also includes the construction of SW 202nd Avenue, a 2-lane road on the east property boundary, and construction of SW 205th Avenue, a 2-lane road of the west property boundary.
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 applicant has reduced direct impacts to wetlands by 1.54 acres. These wetlands will be preserved and maintained free of exotic and invasive vegetation. The site development requires certain areas, including wetlands, of the property be impacted and used for storm water retention and therefore impacted, as water quality will not be maintained in those area. These water retention areas will still provide adequate wildlife habitat and in fact will be more advantageous as the elevations will be slightly lower and therefore additional ponding of water will occur during significant rain events providing hunting grounds for wading birds.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“One hundred percent avoidance of wetlands was not practical, therefore the applicant is proposing to purchase 3.1 Freshwater Herbaceous Mitigation Credits from FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank to offset wetland impacts associated with this project. The FPL Everglades mitigation bank provides credits based on the Wetland Assessment Technique for Environmental Review (W.A.T.E.R) which was been created to provide a tool for assessing the functional value of an impacted wetland.”
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 if applicable, 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 wood stork (Mycteria americana) and the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). The proposed project site contains refugia where Eastern indigo snakes may be present. The applicant conducted an eastern indigo Snake survey of the property in January of 2017, which concluded that no snakes or evidence of snakes were observed within the entire project site. Additionally, by use of the Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated January 25, 2010, revised August 13, 2013, the project results in a may affect but is not likely to adversely affect (path A-B-C-D-E) and the eastern indigo snake provided the permit is conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, be evacuated prior to site manipulation. Also, if a snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to site manipulation. All holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning and if occupied by an indigo snake, no work can commence until the snake has vacated. The Corps has received programmatic concurrence for the eastern indigo snake and no further consultation with the FWS is required provided the applicant adheres to the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake dated February 12, 2004, and inspects all gopher tortoise burrows and snake refugia areas as described.
The site contains suitable foraging habitat and is within 18.6 miles of three wood stork nesting colonies. The Corps utilized the South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Key for the Wood Stork dated May 18, 2010, and determined that the project is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (pathway A-B-C-E). Since the project is impacting greater than five acres of suitable foraging habitat, the applicant provided additional information showing that the proposed purchase of 3.1 credits from Everglades Mitigation bank will provide a 0.46 kg surplus in biomass in compensation for the impacts to suitable foraging habitat. The Corps has received programmatic concurrence for the wood stork and no further consultation with FWS is required pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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. No EFH is located within the project area. 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 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, FL 33410 within 30 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, Jerilyn Ashworth, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Jerilyn.Ashworth@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3508.
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.