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: WCFM Nona LLC
2911 West 39t h Street, Suite 300
Orlando, Florida 32839
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Kissimmee River watershed. The project site is located on. The project site consists of four tax parcels, identified as Osceola County parcel numbers 21-25-31-4260-0001-0040 (78.8 acres), 28-25-31-0000- 0010-0000 (78.0 acres), 21-25-31-4260-0001-0045 (4.5. acres), and 21-25-31-4260-0001-0080 (2.1 acres), St. Cloud, Osceola County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Narcoossee Road and Jones Road proceed east on Jones Road approximately 1.5 miles east of Narcoossee Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.2902
Basic: Residential Development
Overall: Construct a single-family residential subdivision including all necessary infrastructure within the eastern portions of Osceola County's Narcoossee Planning Area (East Narcoossee Community/Center Lake Community).
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site currently supports eight (8) land use types/vegetative communities. These land use types/vegetative communities were identified utilizing the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCFCS, FDOT, January 2004). The upland communities include 110 – Residential (Low-Density), 221 – Citrus Groves, 320 – Shrub and Brushland, 411 – Pine Flatwoods, and 422 – Brazilian Pepper. The wetland communities include 617 - Mixed Wetland Hardwoods, 625 – Hydric Pine Flatwoods, and 643 Wet Prairies. Three small, manmade ponds occur within the property. See attachment for habitat locations.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge and fill 3.16 acres of wetlands and 0.77 acre of other waters to construct a single family residential subdivision.
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: The subject wetlands are low-quality, remnant systems that are surrounded by agricultural land use. Portions of the wetlands consist of managed citrus grove. The ecological benefits provided by these low-quality wetlands are minimal and their preservation within a residential land use would further reduce the value of their functions. Restoration/preservation of these wetland within the proposed landscape would not provide equivalent long term ecological value than the use of a regionally significant mitigation bank.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The proposed mitigation plan involves the purchase of 1.27 mitigation bank credits from TM-Econ 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, red cockaded woodpecker, and Florida grasshopper sparrow. The proposed work area does not contain habitat suitable for Florida scrub jay, Everglade’s snail kite, red cockaded woodpecker, or Florida grasshopper sparrow. Suitable foraging habitat for Audubon’s crested caracara (i.e., fallow groves/dry prairie) occurs within the subject property, as well as on adjacent properties, however no preferred nesting habitat occurs
Onsite. None of these species listed above were observed within the proposed project area.
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 no gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) = 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 May 2010 South 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 0.47 mile from a colony site.) >B (Project impacts greater than one-half acre of SFH) >C (project impacts to SFH are within the CFA of a colony site) >E (Project impacts to SFH have been avoided and minimized to the extent practicable, compensatory mitigation at a mitigation bank is proposed) = NLAA. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The project is in the upper reaches of an inland freshwater system in Osceola County, Florida with no known essential marine fish habitat present. A review of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) website does not indicate the presence of EFH within the project site. 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.