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).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

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SAJ-2017-01632 (SP-AWP)

Published July 18, 2017
Expiration date: 8/8/2017
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: Florida Power & Light
Attn: Loretta Cranmer
15430 Endeavor Drive
Jupiter, Florida 33478

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the St. Johns River. The project site is located west of the intersection of Interstate 95 (I-95) and Ellis Road, in Sections 34, Township 27 South, Range 36 East, West Melbourne, Brevard County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: The project site is located on the west side of Interstate 95 and immediately west of Ellis Road. There is no public access to the project site.

Latitude 28.0978
Longitude -80.7082


Basic: Power distribution

Overall: Relocation of overhead transmission lines during construction of the I-95/Ellis Road Interchange.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area currently supports six (6) different land use types/vegetative communities. These include both upland and freshwater wetland systems. The land use types/vegetative communities are classified and described using the Florida Land Use Cover and Forms Classification System (Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), 1999). The existing land cover within the project limits consists of (FLUCCS): 194 Other Open Land, 510 Streams and Waterways, 641 Freshwater Marsh, 643 Wet Prairies, 646 Vegetated Non-forested Wetland, 832 Electrical Power Transmission Lines. A description of the wetland systems that are located within the project limits is provided as follows:

Wetland 2 is approximately 7.10 acres in size within the proposed project area. It is located west and south of the existing stormwater pond (Pond Site 1A) located west of Interstate 95. Although the majority of this wetland is classified as wet prairie, there are deeper depressions exhibiting typical freshwater marsh vegetation and mixed scrub-shrub vegetation similar in composition to Wetland 1. Brazilian pepper is also found throughout the wetland mostly on ditch banks and spoil areas. This system is bordered to the west and north by a large wet prairie wetland and to the east by rural lands and I-95. A drainage canal runs through this wetland along the west and north. It ultimately drains the area through a system of ditches and swales to the St. Johns River to the west. Wildlife habitat value of this system is moderate based on its location in the landscape and surrounding land uses.

Wetland 3 is approximately 2.83 acres in size within the proposed right-of-way. This system has been fragmented by utility easements, drainage ditches and Pond Site 1A such that the predominant community type is a mixed scrub-shrub wetland comprised of wax myrtle, Brazilian pepper and various grasses, herbs and forbs. Impacts to this wetland are anticipated as a result of construction of the Ellis Road interchange bridge.

Surface water 1 is an old agricultural ditch on the west side of I-95 on the western and northern sides of the proposed project area. This ditch is lined with Brazilian pepper and wax myrtle and appears to have been excavated to facilitate drainage for agriculture land use practices.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to permanently fill 3.73 acres of waters of the United States (wetlands) to construct a temporary relocation of the existing electrical transmission lines, which currently parallel I-95 on the west side. The relocation is necessary to remove the existing overhead transmission lines from the work area for the proposed I-95/Ellis Road interchange, which was evaluated under a separate Department of the Army permit application SAJ-2016-01416(SP-RLT).

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 order to effectively eliminate and reduce functional losses as a result of unavoidable wetland and surface water impacts, the project engineers and designers, along with the FDOT, evaluated various alignments and typical sections that would minimize wetland impacts to the maximum extent possible while still achieving the project purpose. The original alignment included more fill to the agricultural ditch along the north edge of the utility easement and impacts to wetlands to the north that are owned by the County of Brevard, which are encumbered by a conservation easement granted to Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The length of the temporary bypass has been minimized to the greatest extent feasible to accommodate the proposed interchange construction. The widths of the required access roads and pads have been minimized to the greatest extent feasible. Excavation of wetland soils has been eliminated with only 2 inches of #4 ballast rock to be placed atop a layer of geotextile specifically designed to provide superior reinforcement strength and soil interaction integrated with high water flow and soil retention to minimize hydraulic impacts to the adjacent wetlands.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant has offered to provide compensatory mitigation by purchasing mitigation bank credits from the federally approved Mary A Mitigation Bank, to offset impacts west of I-95 in the Upper St. Johns watershed basin and permittee responsible mitigation under a watershed approach, to offset impacts east of I-95 in the Cape Canaveral watershed basin.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected. The previously evaluated project was previously reviewed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Historic Preservation Office under THPO# 008766 and the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer, DHR No. 2010-5724.

The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project is located within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the eastern indigo snake, wood stork, Florida scrub-jay, Audubon’s crested caracara, grasshopper sparrow, Everglades snail kite and red cockaded woodpecker. The project site does not contain habitat suitable for Florida scrub jay, grasshopper sparrow, Everglades snail kite, or red cockaded woodpecker. The Corps has determined the proposed work would have no effect to the grasshopper sparrow, Florida scrub jay, Everglades snail kite, or red cockaded woodpecker.

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 or other refugia.) = 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 September 2008, North and Central Peninsular 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 2500 feet from a colony site.) > B (Project impacts SFH) >C (Impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acres) >D (Project impacts to SFH are within a Core Foraging Area.) >E (Project provides SFH compensation within the Service Area of a Service-approved wetland mitigation bank.) = NLAA. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.

The Corps previously consulted with the FWS and determined the proposed action may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect Audubon’s crested caracara.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The proposal would impact approximately 3.73 acres of wetlands surface waters which may contribute detrital material to federally managed species in the St. Johns River. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns River. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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, by fax at (321)504-3803, or by telephone at (321)504-3771 extension 14.

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.