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: Orange County Public Works
C/o Mr. Ghulam Qadir, P.E.
4200 John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32839
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Econlockhatchee River. The project is located north of SR 50 and south of University Boulevard commencing just west of Harrell Road and ending at Dean Road, in Sections 13, 18, Township 22 South, Ranges 30 and 31 East in Orlando, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Jacksonville, Take I-95 south; exit and head west onto I-4; exit and head south onto SR 417 (Eastern Beltway); exit and head east onto University Boulevard; then turn south onto Dean Road. The eastern end of the project is located on the west side of Dean Road, south of Carmel Park Drive and north of Little Econlockhatchee River, in Orlando, Orange County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude: 28.572º North
Longitude: -81.255º West
Overall: Construct new roadway to remedy existing capacity deficiencies in east Orange County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed East/West Road Segment 2 will run parallel to the E-4 Canal (aka the Little Econlockhatchee River) and commences just west of Harrell Road and terminates at Dean Road. The project area includes 86.1 acres and includes direct impacts to two Corps jurisdictional wetlands, three isolated wetlands, surface waters (E-4 Canal) and to upland areas. Wetland 1 is located on the west side of Dean Road, on the north side of the Little Econlockhatchee River (E-4 Canal), on the east side of Econlockhatchee Trail, and is approximately 50 acres in size. The proposed project will impact 10.47 acres of Wetland 1 with the construction of the roadway and a stormwater pond. Wetland 1 consists of a high quality freshwater forested wetland dominated with cypress (Taxodium distichum), swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), red maple (Acer rubrum), and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). Ground cover vegetation in this wetland includes lizard tail (Saururus cernuus) ferns such as cinnamon, royal, Virginia chain, netted chain and whisk fern. Wetland 5 is located west of Econlockhatchee Trail on the north side of the E-4 Canal and is east of SR 417. Wetland 5 is approximately 8.62 acres in size and consists of a low to medium quality freshwater mixed forested wetland dominated with red maple, dahoon holly, elderberry, primrose willow and Caesar weed. The proposed project will impact 1.01 acres of this wetland for the roadway construction. Wetland 4 is a small (0.26 acre) freshwater mixed forested wetland located east of Wetland 5. This low quality isolated wetland is dominated with swamp tupelo, red maple and camphor trees. The project will impact 0.26 acre wetland for the construction of the roadway. Wetland 3 is a small (0.62 acre) exotic forested wetland. This low quality wetland is located on the east side of SR 417, north of the E-4 Canal and the canopy consists of red maple, hackberry, camphor, Chinese tallow and chinaberry trees. This project will impact the entire 0.62 acre wetland for construction of a stormwater pond. Wetland 2 is a small (0.18 acre) freshwater forested isolated wetland that is located west of SR 417 on the south side of Trevarthon Road. The project will impact all of the 0.18 acre Wetland 2 for the construction of a stormwater pond. This wetland is dominated with pond pine, red maple, and sweet gum. The upland areas along the East-West Road, Segment 2 project include existing residential home sites, apartment complexes and vacant lands dominated in pine flatwoods communities. The East-West Road, Segment 2 roadway project primarily runs parallel to the Econlockhatchee River (E-4 Canal). The project proposes to impact 4.38 acres of the E-4 Canal by creating a compensating storage area in the E-4 Canal commencing east of Harrell Road.
PROPOSED WORK: To fill 12.54 acres of wetlands for the construction of the East/West Road, Segment 2 which is a 2.1 mile four lane divided roadway with sidewalks and stormwater ponds. The project also involves excavation of 4.38 acres of the E-4 Canal (aka Little Econlockhatchee River) for compensating storage and fill in the form of rip rap in the E-4 Canal for scour protection.
The applicant is seeking a 10 year permit to complete construction.
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 applicant stated that eleven roadway alternatives were examined and that this proposal has the least amount of impacts to existing residential developments and greater impacts to lower quality wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to purchase federal mitigation bank credits from the Federally approved TM Econ 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 proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork and the eastern indigo snake. Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsula Florida dated September 2008, the proposed project is not located within an active colony site. The project is located with the core foraging area for wood storks. The proposed project would result in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E > “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” the wood stork. This determination is based on the project not being located within 2,500 feet of an active colony site; impacts to suitable foraging habitat (SFH) will be greater than 0.5 acre, project impacts to SFH are within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a colony site, or wood storks have been documented foraging on a project site outside the CFA, and project provides SFH compensation within the Service Area of a Service-approved wetland mitigation bank.
Based upon review of the North and South Florida Ecological Service Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for the Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated January 25, 2010, updated January 5, 2012, the project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” the Eastern indigo snake. This determination is based on the project not being located in open water, the applicant adhering to the “Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake and the absence of gopher tortoise, holes, and refugia within the work area, there are no gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities. No coordination is necessary.
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 4.38 acres of substrate in the C-40 Canal. 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 been verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification is required from the St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). The SJRWMD authorized the project on September 19, 2012 under file number 4-095-103416-3.
Comments regarding the application should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the above address within 21 days from the date of this notice.
If you have any questions concerning this application, you may contact Andrew Phillips at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926, by electronic mail at email@example.com
, by fax at (321) 504-3803, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771 extension 14.
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.
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.