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: GCAM Adamson LLC
Attn: Adys Iturbe
250 Gibraltar Road
Horsham, PA 19044
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with St. Johns River. The project is located within Section 22, Township 24 South, Range 35 East, Cocoa, Brevard County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Interstate 95 and SR 524 proceed west on SR 524. Turn north on Adamson Street. See map for exact project location.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.3785°
Overall: Complete development of a previously authorized residential subdivision known as Adamson Creek phases I, II, and III (SAJ-2005-07050), Brevard County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The on-site wetland systems consists of freshwater palustrine systems. The uplands include cleared and maintained habitats and Pine/Mesic Oak. The Pine/Mesic Oak community is characterized by a sparse to moderate canopy of slash pine, water oak, cabbage palm, and laurel oak.
The site contains a total of 11.30 acres of mixed wetland hardwoods (FLUCCS Code
617). These systems contain canopies that include red maple, laurel oak, and live oak, with lesser presence by cabbage palm, and slash pine. The shrub stratum in these systems includes dahoon holly and blackgum. Ground cover includes swamp fern, sawgrass, shield fern, beautyberry, and dwarf palmetto. These systems also contain some degree (approximately 10% cover) of invasive nuisance species, including Brazilian pepper. The hydrology in these systems has been somewhat affected by adjacent roadway and residential developments.
The project are contains 83.93 acres of freshwater marsh (FLUCCS Code 641). Common vegetation within these freshwater marsh systems includes wiregrass, soft rush, dogfennel, dwarf palmetto, bloodroot, yellow-eyed grass, broomsedge bluestem, and chain fern. Hydrology within the larger marsh systems is fair to good, and sufficient to sustain typical marsh vegetation.
The site contains 26.54 acres of shrub marsh (FLUCCS Code 640). The shrub marsh communities comprise a total of 12 systems on the parcel. Common vegetation species within the site’s shrub marshes includes wax myrtle, salt bush, Carolina willow, primrose-willow, sawgrass, cordgrass, soft rush, and blackberry. Hydrology within the shrub marshes is generally fair to poor. These systems are either man-made (HV designated systems), with minimal hydrology to sustain jurisdictional vegetation, or severely affected by adjacent ditching (Wetland H2).
Land clearing and preparation of land for future phases resulted in the over-excavation of uplands. These over-excavated low quality man-made wetlands have been characterized within the totals of the freshwater marsh and shrub marsh designations above.
A 1.88-acre old borrow pond (FLUCCS Code 534) exists in the southwestern portion of the site, within the heavily wooded area and adjacent to Adamson Road. The sides of the pond (BP1) are very steep and raised (bermed) with fill, presumably from the borrow pond. The central portion of the pond is open water with a dense algae layer. The banks contain cattails and various ruderal vegetation.
PROPOSED WORK: Construction has commenced in phase 1A and previously authorized impacts have occurred to 9.12 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and waters. The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into 19.79 acres of waters of the United States (over-excavated low quality man-made wetlands, a borrow pond, and other water (ditch)) to complete construction of the single family residential subdivision known as Adamson Creek Phases I, II, and III.
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: Phases I and III were been previously authorized by Department of the Army Permit No. SAJ-2005-07050, and by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) under Permit No. 4-009-100215-6. Phase II was applied for but the application was subsequently withdrawn. The project has been designed to minimize impacts to the larger higher quality wetlands, and concentrate unavoidable wetland impacts to the lower quality and, most recently, inadvertently man-made systems. The project impacts have been limited to 33.59 of the 124.02 acres of wetlands on the site. The remaining 19.79 acres of impacts are proposed to the over-excavated low quality man-made wetlands, the old borrow pond, and the overgrown ditch. A total of 110.35 acres of the remaining higher quality wetlands and upland buffer will be preserved in perpetuity through a conservation easement. Any further reduction of wetland impacts would not be feasible for the applicant.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The permittee previously purchase 45.8 credits from the Farmton 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 property is located within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the eastern indigo snake, wood stork, Florida scrub-jay, Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, and Florida scrub jay. The proposed work area does not contain habitat suitable for Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, or Florida scrub jay. None of these species were observed within the proposed project area. The Corps has determined the proposed work would have no effect to Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, or Florida scrub jay.
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 protection construction.) >C (There are gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) >D (The project will impact less than 25 acres of xeric habitat (scrub, sandhill, or scrubby flatwoods) or less than 25 active and inactive gopher tortoise burrows.) >E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work.) = 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.
Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida dated September 2008, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E = “Not likely to adversely affect” the wood stork. This determination is based on the project not being located within 2,500 feet of an active colony site; impacts to suitable foraging habitat (SFH), project impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acre, project impacts to SFH are within the CFA of a colony site, or wood storks have been documented foraging on a project site outside the CFA, project provides SFH compensation in accordance with the Clean Water Act section 404(b)(1) guidelines and is not contrary to the Habitat Management Guidelines; habitat compensation is within the appropriate CFA or within the service area of a Service-approved mitigation bank.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The proposed work would 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.