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: NVision Development Management Services
C/o Mr. Ian McCook
189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1700
Orlando, Florida 32801
WATERWAY & LOCATION: The proposed River Run at Valencia project will fill 1.47 acres of wetlands and 0.23 acres of ditches associated with the Little Econ River. The project is situated south of State Road 408 and at the east side of the intersection of South Econlockhatchee Road and State Road 417 in Section 30, Township 22 South, Range 31 East, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Jacksonville take I-95 south and exit onto Interstate 4 (I-4) toward Orlando Florida. In Orlando exit I-4 onto State Road 50 and go east to North Econlockhatachee Trail and then go south approximately 1.7 miles to project site on east side of road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES
Latitude 28.5425 North
Longitude -81.2503 West
Overall: Residential Student Housing Development.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area encompasses 12.30 acres. The identified community types were mapped using the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS). The location and extent of each mapped vegetative community/land use type is summarized as follows:
170 – Institutional
The western 1/3rd of the project area consists of existing housing facilities, parking and stormwater retention pond associated with a previous development.
414 – Pine-Mesic Oak
The natural onsite upland community is best described as pine-mesic oak. This community has a canopy of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii) interspersed with laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), live oak (Quercus laurifolia) and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). Areas of topographically higher elevations also contain sand live oak (Quercus geminata). The subcanopy is dominated by saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Other typical species include winged sumac (Rhus copallina), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). Common understory species may include, bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), wiregrass (Aristida stricta) and bluestem (Andropogon spp.).
510 – Upland Cut Ditches
A man-made upland-cut ditch is present along the southern boundary that extends from the existing development eastward towards wetland 2. The extent of this surface water feature was delineated at top-of-bank.
630 – Wetland Forested Mixed
Both wetlands 1 and 2 are best described as wetland forested mixed. The wetland canopy and subcanopy consists of red maple (Acer rubrum), pond pine (Pinus serotina), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora) and loblolly bay (Gordonia Lasianthus), swamp dogwood (Cornus foemina), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Carolina ash (Fraxinus caroliniana), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), and water oak (Quercus nigra). The wetland/upland transitional areas are characterized by pond pine canopy with arborescent palmetto. The groundcover contains a variety of ferns including Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), royal fern (Osmunda regalis) and swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum). Other species present in the groundcover include lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus), sword fern, sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) and poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to fill 1.47 acres of wetlands and 0.23 acres of ditches for the construction of the River Run at Valencia residential project.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: The applicant has provided the following information in regards to the on-site wetlands: The application includes only wetland impacts that are considered necessary for the project’s viability. Wetland 2 was mostly severed from offsite wetlands by road construction to the south and only a small culvert connection remains which has altered it natural hydrology. Wetland 1 has an undisturbed vegetative and hydrologic connection to a branch of the Little Econ and represents the highest quality on-site wetland which has been avoided. Wetland 2 protrudes into the center of the site and inhibits reasonable access to useable uplands at the eastern portion of the property and also severely restricts the ability to create an economically viable project of this scope. Due to the greater ecological importance of Wetland 1 it is being avoided and due to wetland 2’s configuration, location and degraded nature it is proposed for impact to achieve a practical and viable development.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset the loss of Corps jurisdictional wetlands: The purchase of 1.08 palustrine federal mitigation credits from the 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 property is located within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida Scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). Based on applicant’s wildlife surveys, habitat preferences for these species, location of the project site and surrounding development the Corps has determined that the project would have no effect on the Everglades Snail Kite, Florida Scrub Jay and Red Cockaded Woodpecker. Our final determination is subject to review by the FWS.
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 project construction.) >C (There are no gopher tortoise burrows, hole, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) = (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 also completed an evaluation of the project based upon the September 2008 North 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 colony site.) > B (The project impacts SFH.) > C (Impacts to SFH are < 0.5 acres.) > Not Likely to Adversely Affect. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The project involves impacts to freshwater forested wetlands within an interior county. A review of the National Marine Fisheries Service EFH Habitat Protection Mapper Web site the project does not occur in the vicinity of EFH designated by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council of NMFS. The Corps has determined that the proposed project will not have an impact on EFH.
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: The project is currently under review by the St. Johns River Water Management District and Orange County, Florida.
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.
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, Jim Carr at the letterhead address, by electronic mail at email@example.com , or by telephone at 321-504-3771, extension 26.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: 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.
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 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.