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: David Torres
7742 Alico Road
Fort Myers, FL 33912
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with. The project site is located at 14050 Tamiami Trail East, in Section 11, Township 51 South, Range 26 East, Naples, Collier County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Approximately 2.2 southeast of the US-41 and CR-951intersection, on US-41.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.04355º
Basic: Commercial Development
Overall: Commercial Development in central Collier County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Project site contains 2.40± acres of wetlands. The wetlands identified by FLUCFCS code include approximately 0.74 acre of Cypress, Disturbed (76-100% Exotics) (FLUCFCS Code 6219 E4); 1.49± acres of Cypress/Pine/Cabbage Palm, Disturbed (50-75% Exotics) (FLUCFCS Code 6249 E3); and 0.17± acre of Disturbed Land, Hydric (FLUCFCS Code 7401).
A total of nine vegetative associations and land uses (i.e., FLUCFCS codes) were
identified on the property. The dominant habitat type on the property is Pine,
Disturbed (50-75% Exotics) (FLUCFCS Code 4159 E3), accounting for 28.2
percent of the property (1.64± acres).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to develop 5.81 acres of land, dredging 11,698 cubic yards of fill, and discharging 111, 978 cubic yards of fill in 1.94 acres of waters of the U.S. for commercial use in Collier County. The development will include off-site roadway improvements, a detention area, parking lot, commercial buildings, and the supporting 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:
“The applicant is not required to implement practicable design modifications to reduce or eliminate impacts when the ecological value of the wetland or “other surface water” (OSW) to be adversely affected is low and the proposed mitigation will provide greater long-term ecological value than the adversely affected wetland or OSW.”
Development of the Project will result in 1.94± acres of wetland impacts. The wetlands proposed for impact include areas that are infested with exotic vegetation and consist of 0.35± acre of Cypress, Disturbed (76-100% Exotics) (FLUCFCS Code 6219 E4); 1.42± acres of Cypress/Pine/Cabbage Palm, Disturbed (50-75% Exotics) (FLUCFCS Code 6249 E3); and 0.17± acre of Disturbed and, Hydric (FLUCFCS Code 7401). Additionally, the hydrology of the on-site wetland areas has been negatively affected by the surrounding development. The combination of altered hydrology and large amounts of exotic vegetation on-site result in a low ecological value of the wetlands proposed to be impacted.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The proposed mitigation for the wetland impacts will be provided by the purchase of wetland mitigation bank credits. Mitigation credits provide enhancement and preservation of contiguous natural wetland habitat, a greater regional ecological value, and greater long-term value than the preservation efforts for the degraded and isolated on-site wetland community.
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus), and Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi). The Corps has requested U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This project is above mean high water and has no effect 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 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 District Engineer through the 1520 Royal Palm Square, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 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, Allison C. Murphy, in writing at the Ft. Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida, 33919; by electronic mail at Allison.C.Murphy@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239)334-0797; or, by telephone at (239)334-1975 ext. 0008.
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.