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 (DA) permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
Trust No. 08-17
c/o Mr. Charles Whittington, as Trustee
5551 Ridgewood Drive, Suite 501
Naples, Florida 34108
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project site is located on the west side of South Tamiami Trail, approximately 1/2 mile south of Coconut Road, in Bonita Springs, Section 16, Township 47 South, Range 25 East, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take Exit 123; make a right onto Corkscrew Road; make a left onto South Tamiami Trail and continue ~2.8 miles; the project site will be on the right-hand side.
Commercial / Retail
Overall: Construct a commercial development within Southern Lee County along South
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is 5.07 acres (ac) and onsite vegetation consists of 1.62 ac of uplands; 3.18 ac of wetlands; and 0.27 ac of ditch (514). The uplands consist of the following FLUCFCS codes: 0.52 ac of pine flatwoods, disturbed (76-100% Exotics) (4119 E4); 0.83 ac of disturbed land (740); and 0.27 ac of berm (747). The wetlands consist of 2.97 ac of melaleuca, hydric (4241) and disturbed land, hydric (7401). The project site is bounded by South Tamiami Trail, commercial development, and single and multi-family residential development.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicants seek authorization to discharge 30,000 cubic yards (cy) of fill material into 3.18 ac of wetlands and 0.27 ac of other waters of the U.S. (i.e., ditch) in order to construct a commercial development.
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 project will impact low-quality wetlands which are currently degraded as a result of surrounding development and exotic vegetation infestation. Mitigation credits provide enhancement and preservation of contiguous natural wetland habitat, a greater regional ecological value, and greater long-term value than preservation efforts for the degraded and isolated on-site wetland community.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: In order to offset functional losses to the aquatic environment resulting from the proposed impacts, the applicant has proposed to purchase the appropriate amount of federal credits from a wetland 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 (SHPO) and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Corps has made the following effects determination for listed species under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Due to the project location inland of tidal waters, the project will have no effect on any listed species under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) - The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). This determination is based on use of the USFWS South Florida Programmatic Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake (August 1, 2017) which resulted in the following determination: A>B>C>D>NLAA and no further consultation is necessary.
Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus) - The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (MANLAA) the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). This determination is based on the low quality of foraging habitat and the absence of roosting habitat on-site. Additionally, no Florida bonneted bats or cavity trees were documented during the protected species survey or cavity tree survey conducted on the project site. The Corps will request initiation of informal consultation with the USFWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) – The project site does not contain suitable scrub habitat such as scrubby pine flatwoods or xeric oak that may be used by scrub jays. The project is located within the consultation area for the Florida scrub jay; however there are no documented occurrences of scrub jays within the immediate vicinity and no scrub jays were heard or observed during the Protected Species Survey or other fieldwork conducted on the project. As such, the proposed federal action will have no effect on the Florida scrub jay.
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) – The project is located within the Piping Plover consultation area, however, the Corps has determined that this project will have no effect on this species because the project is located ~2 miles inland from the Estero Bay and does not provide any suitable habitat. No further consultation with USFWS is necessary.
Wood stork (Mycteria americana) - The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The wood stork key outlined in the USFWS May 18, 2010 South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Letter was used to conduct a sequential effect determination for the species. Use of the key resulted in the following determination: A>B>C>E>NLAA. With the outcome of NLAA as outlined in the key and since the project has less than 20.2 hectares (50 acres) of wetland impacts, the requirements of Section 7 are fulfilled for the wood stork and no further consultation with USFWS is required.
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. Our determination is that the proposed action would have no adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries since the project site is located ~2 miles inland from the Estero Bay.
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.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification will be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or the South Florida Water Management District.
COMMENTS: Comments regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, 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, Katy Damico, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610, by electronic mail at Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil, by fax at (813) 769-7060, or by telephone at (813) 769-7076.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with USFWS, 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 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 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 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.