Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

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SAJ-2016-02558(SP-GGM)

Published May 25, 2017
Expiration date: 6/14/2017

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:  Bill Lemon
                       G&L Enterprises of the Florida Keys-Four Star Rentals 

                       5216 US Highway 1

                       Key West, Florida 33040

                                            

 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Lower Keys watershed.  The project site is located on an undeveloped jurisdictional wetland lot located at 900 Overseas Highway, legally described as Porpoise Point Section 2, Big Coppitt Key Tract A, in Section 22, Township 67 South, Range 26 East, Big Coppitt Key, Florida 33042. (MM±10.5-Ocean) (RE# 00154870-000000).  This project has been assigned permit application number SAJ-2016-02558 (SP-GGM), which should be referenced on all future correspondence.

 

Directions to the site are as follows:  From Miami drive south on U.S. 1 to approximately mile marker 10.5; turn left onto Boca Chica Road; turn right onto Dolphin Road, follow the road to the end and turn right onto Porpoise Boulevard.   The project site is an undeveloped parcel, located on the right hand side of the road, just south of an electric substation.

 

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:          Latitude:       24.59786º  North

                                                                                  Longitude:  - 81.65401º West

 

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic:  The basic project purpose is to discharge fill material within U.S. waters for the construction of a commercial equipment storage and rental facility.

Overall:  The overall project purpose is to place fill material within U.S. waters for the construction of a commercial equipment storage and rental facility to serve the Lower Keys, in Monroe County, Florida.

 

EXISTING CONDITIONS:  The project parcel is 67,072 square feet (1.54 acres) on size.  The parcel is an undeveloped, disturbed buttonwood saltmarsh wetland parcel. The hydrology of the wetland system on this parcel consist of a brackish water system fed by freshwater rainfall and runoff and shallow saline subsurface flow from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The dominant forested wetland vegetation consist of mature buttonwood trees.  Other onsite wetland vegetation communities consist of white mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa), black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) and a few red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle).  Some areas of the parcel have been cleared of mature vegetation, however, herbaceous wetland vegetation dominates these cleared areas and black mangrove and buttonwood seedlings persist.  There are numerous depression throughout the parcel.  Algal matting, water marks and accumulated organic detritus indicated periodic inundation of the parcel.  During the Corps site inspection, January 23 and 24, 2017, there was water standing on multiple areas of the parcel.  There are multiple mosquito ditches within the lot, these were dredged from wetland areas and some of these ditches support black mangrove pneumatophores. Other vegetation present within the parcel, mainly along the boundaries of the property line and abutting wetland areas, includes Brazilian pepper and interspersed Australian pines. The parcel has been impacted by some clearing, dumping, and relic fill rubble. The existing area surrounding the subject property consists of a power sub-station directly to the east, Overseas Highway, development to the north and west, and a dirt road immediately to the south and east across which is undeveloped but also highly-disturbed marshlands.  The parcel had a KEYWEB wetland score of 5.51.

PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant seeks authorization to place 4,445 cubic yards of clean fill material within approximately 1.38 acres of wetlands areas for the construction of a commercial facility and its associated infrastructure which includes parking, landscaping and a stormwater management system.  Work is proposed in U.S. navigable waters in accordance with the enclosed site plans (5 pages).

 

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:  “Avoidance and minimization of impacts has been considered to the extent practicable. The onsite low-quality, highly-impacted wetlands are isolated by existing conditions. Any wetlands left in place on the property following development would be isolated even further and would be impacted to the extent that ecological value would be minimal, requiring mitigation for all wetlands on the site in any case. In addition, local requirements specify parking, landscape, setbacks and buffers; and State requirements for stormwater management include retention and treatment; such that the proposed project will impact the entire property. Clean fill will be used and will be prevented from migrating out of the construction site by utilizing erosion control barriers during construction. The perimeter of the finished construction will be bermed as part of a stormwater pollution prevention plan to prevent untreated runoff from entering adjacent natural areas.”

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION:  The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:  “Compensation for the unavoidable wetland impacts will occur as credits purchased from the Florida Power & Light Everglades 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (“MANLAA”) the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri).  The subject parcel is listed on the FWS 2011 Suitable Habitat List as being a Focus Buffer Area for the Lower Keys marsh rabbit. Potential impacts to the aforementioned habitat was evaluated using the respective FWS Species Assessment Guides (SAGs); dated July 29, 2013.  Use of the specie Keys, dated July 29, 2013 resulted in the following sequential determination:  A >F2, “may affect, but not likely to adversely affect.”  The applicant indicates that Monroe County has stated that adequate mitigation for impacts is available through the 2011 FEMA Biological Opinion, and has also agreed to adhere to the free range cat restriction in Monroe County.  The Corps received programmatic concurrence from the FWS for projects that have a “NLAA” determination; therefore, no incidental take will occur and no further consultation with the FWS is required.

Since critical habitat has not been designated for the Indigo snake, potential impacts to D. c. couperi were evaluated using the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, dated 13 August 2013 (Snake Key).  Use of the species Key resulted in the following sequential determination:  A > B > C > D > E >G1, “NLAA” for the d listed species’ habitat(s).  This determination is partially based on the applicant having agreed to adhere to the Service’s indigo snake protection measures and agreed to implement the measures and post the information sign on-site.  The Corps received programmatic concurrence from the FWS for projects that have a “NLAA” determination; therefore, no incidental take will occur and no further consultation with the FWS is required. 

The project site is not within the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) critical habitat; however, it is within the species consultation area.  By letter dated October 28, 2014, the FWS issued programmatic concurrence for projects in the Keys south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and State Road 905 in Key Largo.  The letter states that projects located in this range are unlikely to adversely affect the American crocodile if it meets one or more of the listed criteria.  By using the programmatic letter, paragraph 2, the proposed project does not contain suitable nesting habitat that is accessible to the crocodile. Therefore, given that the proposed impact area meets these criteria as set by the FWS, the Corps has made a “MANLAA” determination in regard to the American crocodile.  Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation with the Service is required.

The Corps has determined that the project will have “no effect” on any other listed threatened or endangered species, and/or designated critical habitat.  Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation is required.

 

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH):  This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The project is located within forested saltmarsh wetlands and would have no adverse impact on EFH or Federally-managed fisheries within waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with NMFS.

 

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 completely 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida, 33176, within 21 days from the date of this notice (i.e. on or before June 14, 2017).

 

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, Gletys Guardia-Montoya at the letterhead address, by electronic mail at Gletys.Guardia-Montoya@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at 305-526-2515.

 

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: 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 of 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 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.