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: Orange County Public Works
Attn: Qadir Ghulam
4200 South John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32839
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Shingle Creek. The proposed project is located along the present alignment of Holden Avenue between John Young Parkway and Orange Blossom Trail, Sections 9, 10, 15, & 16, Township 23 South, Range 29 East, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: The project is located along the present alignment of Holden Avenue between John Young Parkway and Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.4132°
Overall: The overall project purpose is to increase the traffic capacity of Holden Avenue, Orange County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Six freshwater wetland systems occur within the project corridor. A small depressional willow and elderberry wetland, identified as Wetland 1, is located on the north side of Holden Avenue near the intersection with Orange Blossom Trail. The wetland is predominately vegetated by Carolina willow, primrose willow, elderberry, blackberry, and marsh pennywort. The surveyed limit of this wetland indicates that 0.084± acre is located within the project corridor.
Two mixed forested wetlands identified as Wetland 2 and Wetland 3, are located on the north and south sides of Holden Avenue near Lake Buchanan. These wetlands are hydrologically connected by a cross-drain under Holden Avenue. The wetlands drain either directly to Lake Buchanan or indirectly connected via ditches and/or culverts. The vegetation consists of pond cypress, red maple, sweet bay magnolia, and sweetgum. According to the survey, Wetland 2 and Wetland 3 occupy 0.305± acre and 0.235± acre within the corridor, respectively.
Two separate but adjacent stormwater ponds, identified as Wetland 4 and Wetland 5, are located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Holden Avenue and Texas Avenue. The ponds most likely function as stormwater management systems for the adjacent apartments and Texas Avenue. The area surrounding the ponds is maintained turfgrass, predominately bahiagrass. Some hydrophytic vegetation exists around the perimeter, such as alligator weed and duck weed. The surveyed limits of Wetland 4 and Wetland 5 indicate that 0.021± acre and 0.079± acre are located within the project corridor, respectively.
An extensive forested wetland, identified as Wetland 6, is located at the west end of the corridor, adjacent to John Young Parkway. Formerly a mixed hardwood swamp, the area has been significantly impacted by surrounding development and now exhibits the characteristics of an exotic hardwood wetland. This wetland is hydrologically connected to Lake Catherine, but bordered by development and roadways on three sides. Chinese tallow is the predominant species, with castor bean, red maple, elderberry, and royal fern also present. The survey indicates that 5.435± acres is located within the project corridor and 4.355± acres is located within the proposed pond site, totaling 9.790± acres.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks reauthorization of Department of the Army permit SAJ-2006-03857 which authorized the dredging and filling of 7.635 acres of waters of the United States for the widening of Holden Avenue Phase I. The widening would occur along existing Holden Avenue, between John Young Parkway and Orange Blossom Trail. The permit expired February 20, 2014.
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: Adverse wetland impacts were eliminated and reduced by limiting them to the right-of-way areas only, most of which already contain existing Holden Avenue or an old gravel fill road. Pond 1 is to be located adjacent to an existing stormwater pond for John Young Parkway and to the proposed roadway instead of a more central location within wetlands. Other avoidance measures include the use of sheet pile walls to minimize the need for additional right-of-way. Since the purpose of the project is to widen the existing roadway options for avoidance within the corridor are limited.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant previously purchased 7.5 palustrine federal credits from the Florida Mitigation Bank.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project is located within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), wood stork (Mycteria americana), Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) red cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), and sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi). The project site is located within the existing Holden Ave right-of-way and forested wetlands and does not contain habitat suitable for Florida scrub jay, Everglades snail kite, sand skink, or red cockaded woodpecker.
The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the August 13, 2013 updated addendum to the January 2010 North and South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Eastern Indigo Snake. Use of the Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake resulted in the following sequential determination: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh.) >B (The permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo snake during site preparation and construction.) >C (There are no gopher tortoise burrows or other refugia.) = Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA) with the applicant adherence to the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Eastern Indigo Snake no further coordination is required.
The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the September 2008, North and Central Peninsular Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork. Use of the Key for the Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (Project is more than 2500 feet from a colony site.) > B (Project impacts SFH) >C (Impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acres) >D (Project impacts to SFH are within a Core Foraging Area.) >E (Project provides SFH compensation within the Service Area of a Service-approved wetland mitigation bank.) = NLAA. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The project will have no effect to EFH.
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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (321)504-3803; or, by telephone at (321)504-3771 extension 14.
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.