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: City of Palm Coast
Attn: Ms. Denise Bevan
160 Lake Avenue
Palm Coast, Florida 32164
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States, including wetlands, associated with the Belle Terre Waterway, which connects to Long Creek and Pellicer Creek. The project site is located north of residential properties along Lynbrook Drive, west of the Belle Terre Waterway, south of residential properties along Lindsay Drive, and east of Laramie Drive in Section 7, Township 11 South, Range 31 East, Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.608864°
Basic: The basic project purpose is the augmentation of a stormwater and flood control system.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the augmentation of the stormwater and flood control system of the City of Palm Coast.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Historic clearing and intensive pine silviculture operations at the site affected the establishment/growth of vegetative communities. During the initial development of the overall area in the 1970’s, ITT Corporation excavated portions of the site for stormwater retention. The City of Palm Coast Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map identifies the parcel as a zoned stormwater tract. Currently, the property encompasses three communities identified by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).
Disturbed Land (FLUCCS code 740): Approximately 7.76 acres of the site are classified as disturbed land. These areas are considered upland due to vegetative composition, soil characteristics, and lack of appropriate hydrology. The dominant canopy vegetation is slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and live oak (Quercus virginiana) with scattered wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and grapevine (Vitis rotundifolia) present. Many of these areas are routinely mowed/cleared.
Ditches (FLUCCS code 513): Several surface water ditches (totaling approximately 1.02 acres) traverse the property. These ditches periodically hold water during high water events and eventually drain off to the Belle Terre Canal. The northern ditch includes inadequately excavated areas that partially impede/pond flow.
Freshwater Marsh (FLUCCS code 641): Approximately 6.97 acres of the site are classified as freshwater marsh. These areas were excavated slightly below seasonal high water level leading to inundation during wet periods (e.g., storm events). Vegetation includes wax myrtle, saltbush, saw palmetto, blackberry (Rubus sp.), bushy broom grass (Andropogon glomeratus), soft rush (Juncus effuses), beakrush (Rhynchospora spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), and primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana). Due to inconsistent inundation, these areas are stressed and have reduced functional value.
PROPOSED WORK: The City of Palm Coast has determined that this region of the city has inadequate stormwater attenuation and flood control; and, that the work proposed would help alleviate a portion of the stormwater and flood control inadequacy for this area. The project would result in the excavation of approximately 6.69 acres of wetlands and the discharge of fill over approximately 0.28 acre of wetlands; and, the excavation of approximately 0.4 acre of surface waters and the discharge of fill over approximately 0.62 acre of surface waters. The work noted would eliminate the northern drainage ditch, increase the capacity of the southern drainage ditch, eliminate the drainage ditch along the western edge of the work area, excavate the proposed stormwater/floodwater pond, and establish the berms associated with that pond.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: The City of Palm Coast considers the neighborhoods near the project site a high priority area for both additional stormwater treatment and flood control. Unfortunately, a limited number of parcels exist along the existing flood control canals for use; however, the proposed project is located on a parcel currently owned by the City of Palm Coast. In consideration of that information, the applicant indicated that alternate (upland) sites are not available to achieve the project goals and objectives. ITT Corporation initially excavated the site for a stormwater pond; however, ITT Corporation did not excavate it to an appropriate depth, which resulted in the establishment of the nominal marsh area. Therefore, the avoidance of work affecting a wetland is not practicable. Due to the lack of other sites to address the needs of this region of the City of Palm Coast, the applicant also could not reduce the size of the pond (further minimize the area of wetlands affected).
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant’s ecological agent compiled a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Procedure (UMAM) quantifying and qualifying the loss of wetland functions and services associated with the project. In consideration of that UMAM, as compensatory mitigation for work affecting wetlands, the applicant proposes to purchase 3.02 credits from the Fish Tail Swamp Mitigation Bank. The applicant expressed the opinion that the creation of new surface waters would offset the existing surface waters adversely affected by the work proposed.
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.
The Corps has determined that the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). The project site is within the core foraging area of the Matanzas Marsh colony; and, the project supports marginally suitable foraging habitat (SFH). Based on 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, the Corps determination sequence was A>B>C>D>E = may affect but is not likely to adversely affect. The determination is supported by SFH compensation at the Fish Tail Swamp Mitigation Bank and the establishment of limited SFH contiguous to the proposed pond.
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 threatened or endangered 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 project site does not support marine or estuarine habitat. In consideration of that information the Corps’ initial determination is that the proposed action would not have an adverse impact on EFH. 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 not verified the jurisdictional line.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification will be required through the St. Johns River Water Management District.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District through the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 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 Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232, by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.