TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a request to modify a mitigation banking instrument (MBI) issued on December 3, 2001, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: TGC Sundew/Nochaway, LLC.
777 South Flagler, Suite l36E
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
LOCATION: The project, identified as the 2,104.6-acre Sundew Mitigation Bank (SMB), is located west of highway 17 and north of Sun Garden Road, in Sections 26, 27, 34, 35,Township 7 south Range 26 east, south of Green Cove Springs, Clay County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 29.853130°N
MODIFICATION SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the approved SMB MBI and proposed MBI modification online so that it is available for review by the public. The approved SMB MBI and proposed MBI modification may be downloaded from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) at web address: https://ribits.usace.army.mil .
Once on the RIBITS homepage, select "Jacksonville" from the "ALL DISTRICTS" drop down menu located in the lower left corner of the screen. Once the district filter has been selected, click on the “Existing Banks & ILF Sites” link located in the Navigation box (upper left corner). This will generate a list of projects, scroll down the list and click on the “Sundew MB” link. On this page, click on the "Cyber Repository" link located on the menu bar above the General Information description, then click on the MBI Documents folder to access the approved MBI and proposed MBI modification associated with the SMB project.
If you are unable to access the web address, a copy of the MBI modification is available upon request to the project manager listed at the end of this public notice.
PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: The applicant seeks authorization to reduce the 2,104.6-acre SMB by removing Phase Five (96.5 acres) and a small northern portion of Phase Two (14.3 acres) from the existing bank property. The removal areas are within portions of non-activated bank acreage (no conservation easement and no credits released). No construction activities are associated with the removal of these areas. The Sponsor has stated that they expect the removal of these areas to result in a reduction of 52 credits. Therefore the maximum potential credits would be reduced from 931.4 to 879.4. Section C of the MBI allowed for removal of Phase Five from the bank due to existing easements over the area. The MBI indicated that project attorneys were attempting to vacate this encumbrance. The MBI further stated: “If it cannot be released, and it interferes with the use of the site for mitigation purposes, Sundew will negotiate appropriate mitigation credits for this Phase… If the easement proves to be completely contradictory to the bank purposes and cannot be reconciled, Phase Five will be eliminated from the bank.” The attorneys were ultimately unsuccessful in vacating this easement, and the Sponsor is proposing to utilize this modification to formalize the removal of Phase Five from the project.
The small area north of the railroad tracks and south of Warner Rd. is also proposed for removal from the project. The sponsor and project team believe this isolated area to be of minimal ecological value in terms of contribution to the bank as a whole. Development was ultimately proposed just to the west of this small parcel, which would have further reduced the ecological value of this area. The land was ultimately sold to allow for future silvicultural or development activities. Removal of this small area is not expected to result in adverse bank functionality, and represents only 2.7% of the remaining Phase Two acreage, and only 0.83% of the remaining bank acreage as a whole.
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: The SMB was composed of five distinct phases. The proposed removal of 110.8 acres from SMB, reducing it from 2,104.6 to 1,993.8 acres, is not expected to negatively affect the ecological suitability of the remaining phases of the bank.
OPERATION OF THE BANK: The SMB is being operated by TGC Sundew/Nochaway, LLC. as the Sponsor with the assistance of Bio-Tech Consulting Inc. Should the modification be authorized the SMB will continue to be operated in the same manner as it has in the past. Following SMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of SMB.
MITIGATION SERVICE AREA: No change is proposed for the SMB’s MSA. The MSA for SMB includes the following 10-Digit Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs): HUC 0308010307, North Deep Cr.-St. Johns River; HUC 0308010306, Rice Cr.-St. Johns River; and HUC 0308010309, South Fork of Black Creek.
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.
Comments regarding the proposed mitigation bank modification should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the address below within 30 days from the date of this notice.
If you have any questions concerning this proposed project modification, you may contact Ms. Teresa Frame by electronic mail at Teresa.M.Frame@usace.army.mil, by fax at 904-232-1904, or by telephone at 904-232-1677 or at the following address:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
P. O. BOX 4970
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32232-0019
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. That determination 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. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including 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.
The 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 proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.
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.