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: Ken Thirtyacre
Toll Brothers, Inc.
24201 Walden Center Drive, Suite 204
Bonita Springs, Florida 34134
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with freshwater scrub and herbaceous wetlands located within the Sarasota Bay and Manatee River watersheds. The site is located in Section 36, Township 35 South, Range 191 East, Manatee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take the University Parkway exit (213) east and drive for approximately 6 miles due east and the project is on the north side of University Parkway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Longitude: - 82.357428°
Basic: Residential Development
Overall: To develop a single family residential development with associated infrastructure, and stormwater management system in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of freshwater wetlands (46.39 acres), streams and waterways (4.9 acres), and several cattle ponds (0.45 acres). The onsite vegetation is mostly comprised of open land vegetated with low growing herbaceous vegetation, which has been recently utilized for cattle grazing, sod production, and hay. In addition, norther portion of the project area contain a mixture of slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and live oak (Quercus virginiana) canopy with sparse understory vegetation including saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and gallberry (Ilex glabra).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact 3.48 acres of upland excavated agricultural ditches and ponds. The impacts are associated with the required earthwork, infrastructure installation, and surface water management system 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:
There are no wetland impacts as a result of the residential development, due to the de minimis nature of the proposed impacts, no mitigation is proposed. Due to the size, distribution and low functional value of the agricultural ditches on this site, complete avoidance of surface water impacts is not a practicable alternative. Complete avoidance of upland cut surface water impacts would result in a project that could not be effectively designed and would not be economically practicable or viable. The Applicant has demonstrated that the plan avoids and minimizes impacts to all the wetlands onsite.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
Impacts to surface waters will be limited to upland excavated agricultural ditches and ponds totaling 3.48 acres. Due to the de minimis nature of the proposed impacts, no mitigation is proposed.
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 the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the federally threatened eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi) and the federally endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to 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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries. 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302 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, Ryan Hendren, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302; by electronic mail at Ryan.G.Hendren@usace.army.mil or, by telephone at 813-769-7075.
[OPTIONAL FOR ATF APPLICATIONS] ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: After reviewing all available information pertaining to the completed work, the Department of the Army has not recommended legal action at this time. Final determination regarding legal action will be made after review of the project through the permit procedure.
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.