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).
APPLICANT: Lee County Port Authority
c/o Mark Fisher, Director of Development
11000 Terminal Access Road, Ste., 8671
Fort Myers, Florida 33913
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project site is located east of Interstate 75, south of Daniels Parkway, and north of Alico Road in Section 30, Township 45 South, Range 26 East, Lee County, Florida. The project would affect waters of the United States that drain to Ten Mile Canal (12-Huc # 030902040101) that flows into to Estero Bay which is confluent with the Gulf of Mexico.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 take exit 128 onto CR-840/Terminal Access Road and head east until arriving at Southwest Florida International Airport.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Construct an Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT)
Overall: Construct an ATCT with a surface water management system and other associated infrastructure at the Southwest Florida International Airport (SWFIA) in Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The approximate 36.74 acre construction area contains approximately 2.0 acres of pine flatwood wetlands invaded to varying degrees of exotic vegetation mostly melaleuca and Brazilian pepper. The project area also contains approximately 0.62 acre of other waters of the US (remnant agricultural ditches). The remainder of the site is comprised of uplands.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to clear, grade and fill approximately 2.5 acres of combined wetlands and other waters. The project would discharge 1468 cubic yards of fill into 2.0 acres of wetlands and 0.5 acre of other waters to construct the ATCT, the stormwater management system and other associated infrastructure.
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:
In 2011, the FAA conducted an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed ATCT. As part of the EA, model simulations were preformed to ensure proper sighting of the new tower to serve both the existing runway and future runway. In accordance with the FAA determination the tower location is not flexible. The wetland area proposed to be impacted to construct the new ATCT is adjacent to the existing Midfield Terminal, runway and other airport structures.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – To compensate for unavoidable wetlands impacts the applicant proposes to purchase the appropriate in-kind credits from a federally approved mitigation bank that services the project area.
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 project area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project site is located in an area where the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), may occur. Use of the Indigo Snake Programmatic Concurrence Key, August 2013, resulted in the following A., B., C., D., and E. The permit instrument would have the Standard Protective Measures for Eastern Indigo Snake; therefore, the Corps determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (MANLAA) the indigo snake. In accordance with the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is required for the indigo snake.
The project site is located within designated Core Foraging Areas of the wood stork (Mycteria americana). Use of the Wood Stork Effect Determination Key, May 2010, resulted in the following: A., B., C., E. The applicant proposes to provide the appropriate compensatory mitigation by purchasing in-kind wetland credits from a federally approved mitigation that provides service to the area that the project site is located in. The Corps has determined that the proposed project MANLAA the wood stork. In accordance with the key, no further consultation with the FWS is required for the wood stork.
The project site is located within a FWS designated consultation area for the red-cockaded woodpecker [RCW (Piciodes borealis)]. Although the project site contains areas where RCWs may occur there are no known RCW nest in proximity to the project area. The corps preliminary determination is that the proposal MANLAA the RCW. The Corps will request FWS concurrence with this determination via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). The Florida scrub jay lives only in scrub and scrubby flatwoods habitats found on nearly pure, excessively well-drained sandy soils. Scrub jay habitat is dominated by a layer of evergreen oaks [myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia) and/or Archbold oak (Q. inopina), sand live oak (Q. geminata), Chapman oak (Q. chapmanii), and runner oak (Q. minima)], rusty lyonia (Lyonia ferruginea), and Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides). Ground cover is sparse, dominated by saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and sand palmetto (Sabal etonia). (http://www.fws.gov/northflorida//Species-Accounts/Fla-Scrub-Jay-2005.htm 10/22/2015). The Corps preliminary determination is that the proposal MANLAA the scrub jay. The Corps will requests concurrence from the FWS for this determination, via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the Florida grasshopper sparrow [(FGS) (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus)]. FGS inhabit dry prairie characterized by clumped distribution of bluestem grass (Andropogon spp.), St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.), wiregrass (Aristida spp.), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and dwarf oak (Quercus minima) ranging from 30 to 70 centimeters in height. FGS habitat consists of large (greater than 50 ha.) treeless, relatively poorly-drained grassland that have a history of frequent fires. (US-FWS, SE Region, SFESO, Vero Beach, FL, FGS 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation). The Corps preliminary determination is that the proposal MANLAA the FGS. The Corps will requests concurrence from the FWS, for this determination, via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the Audubon crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii) but is not in close proximity to any known caracara nest or their communal roosting sites. The Corps preliminary determination is that the project MANLAA the caracara and will request concurrence from the FWS, for that determination, via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) but not within a snail kite Priority Management Zone or within proximity to its critical habitat. The Corps preliminary determination is that the project MANLAA the caracara and will request concurrence from the FWS, for that determination, via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the Florida bonneted bat [FBB (Eumops floridanus)]. Use of the FBB Effects Determination Key resulted in 1, 2 (b) the project contains potential FBB roost sites; therefore, the proposed project “may affect” the FBB. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation (for this species) with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of ESA via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated Primary Zone within a Focus Area for the Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). In accordance with the Florida Panther Effect Determination Key. The proposal keys as follows A., B., the project is greater than one acre and further consultation with the FWS, under the above circumstances, is required. The Corps will initiate consultation for this species with the FWS, via a separate letter.
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 South Florida Water Management District.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida, 33919, within 21 days from the date of this PN.
The decision of 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 submitted in writing to the project manager, Robert Tewis, by mail to the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919; or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or faxed to (239)-334-0797. Phone number is (239)-334-1975 X-0012.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with FWS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 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 EPA Administrator, 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.