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: D.R. Horton
Attn: Chris Wrenn
6200 Lee Vista Blvd., Suite 400
Orlando, Florida 32822
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Reedy Creek. The project site is located on County Road 545 (Avalon Road) south of Flamingo Crossings Blvd., in Section 17, Township 24 South, Range 27 East, Winter Garden, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the 429, head east to Avalon Road. The Project area is located a long Avalon Road (545) south of Flamingo Crossing Blvd.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.4066
Basic: Road widening (capacity improvement)
Overall: The widening of Avalon Blvd. from Flamingo Crossing Blvd. to just north of Water Spring Blvd.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area consists of the existing roadway, uplands in agriculture. Aquatic resources within the project area consist of palustrine forested wetlands. Vegetative species identified within this wetland includes water oak (Quercus nigra), red maple (Acer rubrum), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana), elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), Virginia chain fern (Pteridium aquilinum), marsh fern (Thelypteris palustaris), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), soft rush (Juncus effusus), and smartweed (Polygonum punctatum).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge and fill 0.88 acre of waters of the United States (wetlands) for the widening of Avalon Blvd. - Segment 4.
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 proposed road alignment has been planned to avoid impacting the larger lake and forested wetland systems throughout this area. The roadway re-design required additional stormwater capacity in the impact areas. The mitigation plan will fully offset the Functional Loss incurred by the wetland impacts and provide greater long term benefit.
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 credits from the Southport 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 proposed action is located within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the eastern indigo snake, Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, Florida scrub jay, and sand skinks. The proposed work area does not contain habitat suitable for Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, or Florida scrub jay. None of these species were observed within the proposed project area. The Corps has determined the proposed work would have no effect to Audubon’s crested caracara, Everglades snail kite, or Florida scrub jay.
The applicant has completed sand skink surveys in accordance with FWS protocols and did not observe sand skinks with Segment 4 of the proposed widening. The Corps has determined the proposed widening within Segment 4 will have no effect to the sand skink.
Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida dated September 2008, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D = “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), project impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acre, project impacts to SFH are not within the CFA of a colony site.
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 gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) >D (The project will impact less than 25 acres of xeric habitat (scrub, sandhill, or scrubby flatwoods) or less than 25 active and inactive gopher tortoise burrows.) >E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work.) = 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 and wood stork no further coordination is required with FWS.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The proposed work would have no effect to 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: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (321)504-3803; or, by telephone at (321)504-3771 extension 14.
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.