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: Hillsborough County Public Works Department
c/o Benjamin Kniesly
601 E. Kennedy Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33612
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the onsite wetlands which flow into Turkey Creek. The project is located at Turkey Creek Road, between SR-574 and Sydney Road, Sections 35, 36; 1, 2 Township 28; 29 South, Range 21 East, Plant, Hillsboro County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-4 east to exit 21 Alexander Road (SR-39A) south. Turn east on Reynolds Street (SR-574). Turn South on North Turkey Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
PROJECT PURPOSE: Road Widening
Overall: The project as proposed would enhance freight related truck access from I-4 to & from Plant City Municipal Airport and surrounding business, warehouse, and industrial lands.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland is the remnant bay swamp (617/PFO3) that lies on either side of Turkey Creek Road at the southern extent of the project. Trees comprising the forest component of the swamp include sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), red maple (Acer rubrum) and Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) with occasional laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) and water oak (Quercus nigra) on higher elevations. Most of the trees occur in narrow swaths along the road and ditch edges although there are larger forested areas in the remnant swamp offset from the road and outside the project limits.
An expansive shrub layer (631/PSS1) is present outside of the forested areas although some shrub constituents are also swamp understory components. Plants are predominately nuisance and/or exotic species and form a dense cover over much of the wetland within and outside the project corridor. Dominant species include Peruvian primrosewillow (Ludwigia peruviana), elderberry (Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis), groundsel (Baccharis halimifolia), and Carolina willow. Over most shrub areas, there is a dense vine cover, including air potato (Discorea bulbifera) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).
Where the trees and shrubs are absent or reduced in coverage, particularly along and within the roadside ditches (641/PEM1) and other open ground areas, herbaceous species are present, including wild taro (Colocasia esculenta), cattail (Typha sp.), paragrass (Urochloa mutica), Carolina basswood (Tilia americana var. caroliniana), Jack-in-the-bush (Chromolaena odorata), sandpaper vervain (Verbena scabra), dayflower (Commelina diffusa), Hottentot fern (Thelypteris interrupta), green flatsedge (Cyperus virens), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and wild Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). Some of these ditches, particularly south from the wetland cross-drain on the west of Turkey Creek Road, are sprayed with herbicide to control dense Peruvian primrose willow.
The maintained ditches (641/PEM1) at the northern extent of the project and south along Sydney Road are regularly mowed. While the ditches are jurisdictional and convey surface waters, their hydrophytic vegetation is regularly kept close to the ground, particularly in the northern ditch segments. Common species include St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundum), manyflower marshpennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), torpedograss (Panicum repens), big carpetgrass (Axonopus furcatus), Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana), capeweed (Phyla nodiflora), and tropical Mexican clover (Richardia brasiliensis).
Graded and maintained swales are present along both sides of Turkey Creek Road north of the historic bay swamp. One of these on the west side of the road is a conveyance feature with culvert connection to the wetland. The area is dominated by St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundum) and regularly mowed by the adjacent landowner. This feature is considered surface waters and jurisdictional to SWFWMD and the USACE.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization widen 1.4 miles of Turkey Creek Road to three lanes to provide a center tow-way left turn lane. Additionally Sydney Road will be widened for 950 feet east from Turkey Creek Road intersection to add a west-to-northbound lane and left turn lane. Also, 800 feet of Airport Road will be realigned eastward. The proposed project would impact ±2.07 acres of forested, shrub and herbaceous wetlands, as well as surface waters along Turkey Creek Road and Sydney Road. Additionally, the project would have temporary impacts totaling ±0.37 acres of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) in the form of forested, shrub and herbaceous wetlands within the project footprint.
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:
Impacts have been avoided by using the existing alignment of Turkey Creek Road and Sydney Road for widening and placing stormwater management facilities in uplands. In particular, the use of 1:2 slopes on road embankments in wetlands with guardrails has minimized impacts. In some areas, additional right-of-way were necessary to accomplish slope tie-downs and install drainage facilities. Based on preliminary design, it was determined that there were no practical alternatives to the proposed construction in wetland areas. Avoidance and minimization of wetland impacts have been maximized to the greatest extent possible. The use of silt screens, floating turbidity barriers, hay bales, and other discharge prevention measures during construction will minimize impacts to wetlands within the vicinity of the project.
The proposed project is adjacent to off-site wetlands and other surface waters, but the use of silt screens and turbidity barriers will help avoid adverse secondary impacts to wetland functions, beyond those already occurring due to the existing urban land uses. Cumulative impacts resulting from this project are not anticipated, particularly with onsite mitigation.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset the unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The wetland mitigation plan will recreate 0.75 acres of bay swamp and 1.19 acres of marsh/shrub wetland complex within a floodplain compensation area. This area lies adjacent to the remnant bay swamp near the southern extent of the project and opposite Reece Road. The mitigation area will have two sources of surface water supply, including a piped discharge from upstream wetlands and discharge from Stormwater Management Facility (SMF 1-1). The mitigation area will also lie near the seasonal high groundwater level and serve as a conveyance of surface water to the roadside ditch and remnant swamp.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). This determination based on use of the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Concurrence Key (January 25, 2010). No further action is required. Sequence: A > B > C > “not likely to adversely affect”. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Eastern Indigo Snake no further coordination is required.
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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries as the project is inland of fisheries resources. 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 will be required from 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 within 25 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, Edgar W. Garcia, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (813) 769-7061; or, by telephone at (813) 769-7062.
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.