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: Clay County
Engineering and Public Works
Mr. Dale Smith
477 Houston Street
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Little Black Creek. The project site is located at the intersection of Trail Ridge Road and Challenger Drive, in Section 20, Township 4 South, Range 25 East, Middleburg, Clay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Middleburg travel east on State Road 21. Turn north on State Road 23. The project site is located at the intersection of Trail Ridge Road and Challenger Drive on the east side of State Road 23.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is linear transportation.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the construction of a roadway connecting Challenger Drive to Old Jennings Road, in Clay County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of herbaceous and forested freshwater wetlands surrounded by improved agricultural pasture. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of agricultural lands, residential development and State Road 23.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks at 10-year authorization to discharge fill material over 4.22 acres of freshwater wetlands and secondarily impact 17.58 acres of freshwater wetlands to construct a 4-lane roadway. The applicant has proposed the work in three phases. Phase I would involve the discharge of fill material over 0.81 acre of freshwater wetlands and secondarily impact 3.69 acres of freshwater wetlands. Phase II would involve the discharge of fill material over 1.76 acres of freshwater wetlands and secondarily impact 7.98 acres of freshwater wetlands. Phase III would involve the discharge of fill material over 1.65 acres of freshwater wetlands and secondarily impact 5.91 acres of freshwater wetlands.
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 roadway has been developed to minimize impacts to the on-site wetlands by using strategic geometry that crosses wetlands areas at the least intrusive locations possible, while still adhering to the minimum FDOT and County roadway design standards. All proposed impervious areas will drain toward a closed collection system which will route runoff to a SWMF for treatment and attenuation. Potential secondary impacts will be minimized by the construction of roadway swales through segments of the road adjacent to wetland areas. These swales serve to help capture any pollutants that may be present in the grassed ROW before entering the wetlands. During construction, BMP erosion and sediment control measures will be maintained”.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant is proposing to purchase federal mitigation bank credits from a federally approved 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 Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232 within 30 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, Shannon White, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232, by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone at (904) 232-1681.
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 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 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.