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: Mr. Stanley Beard, Jr.
327 F.M. 2004
Lake Jackson, Texas 77566
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The proposed project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Orange Creek-Whiskey Creek watershed and the Tenmile Canal watershed. The proposed project site is located in Sections 22, 27, and 28, Township 44 South, Range 25 East, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 75 South take exit 138 towards Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (State Route 82). Travel west on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and proceed for approximately 0.1 mile. The proposed project site is located on the south side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard adjacent to Interstate 75.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.627577°
Basic: Commercial Development
Overall: To construct a multi-use commercial development, including a convenience store, travel center, associated infrastructure, and stormwater management system, near the Interstate 75 corridor in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The approximately 159 acres site includes 100.75 acres of wetland that consists of a forested freshwater system. The on-site vegetation consists of Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Slash Pine (Pinus elliotti), Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius). The existing area surrounding the project site includes the Lee County Emergency Complex and the Lee County Jail to the west, various commercial developments to the south, and Interstate 75 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard corridors to the north and east.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge approximately 348,115 cubic yards of fill material into 52.67 acres of freshwater forested wetlands for the construction of the multi-use commercial development. Additionally, the applicant seeks authorization to excavate approximately 71,115 cubic yards of fill material from 3.7 acres of freshwater forested wetlands for the construction of an on-site stormwater management system.
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 has determined that no other practicable alternative sites are available and capable of being developed with less adverse impact to the aquatic ecosystem after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics. The applicant has implemented design modifications to reduce impacts to the wetlands by focusing the unavoidable impacts to the lower quality wetlands on-site.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the South Florida Water Management District. The proposed project is currently under review, File No. 170517-15.
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 Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 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.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Allison C. Murphy, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., 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 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. The proposed project is currently under review by the South Florida Water Management District, File No. 170517-15.
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.