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: The Residence at Nature Creek, LLC
3838 North Palafox St
Pensacola, FL 32505
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with unnamed wetlands adjacent to Eleven Mile Creek. The project site is located north of Highway 90 and south of Interstate 10, Parcel Number 03-1S-31-3101-001-001, in Section 03, Township 1 South, Range 31 West, Escambia County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola take Interstate 110 north to Interstate 10 west. Take the Highway 90 exit (Exit 5), and turn west on Nine Mile Road (Highway 90). The subject property is located on the north side of Nine Mile Road immediately east of the Navy Federal Credit Union complex.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude 30.538972°, Longitude -87.343194°
Basic: Residential Development
Overall: Construct a multi-family residential development to accommodate the growing housing needs of Midwest Escambia County, Florida
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 35.94 acre project area consists of 24.72 acres of mixed hardwood uplands and 11.22 acres of palustrine freshwater forested wetlands. The upland are dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii), live oak (Quercus virginiana), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum). The wetlands are dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii), sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), swamp bay (Persea palustris), red maple (Acer rubrum), black titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and large gallberry (Ilex coriacea).
There is an 80 foot wide access easement that is bisected by an unnamed tributary of Eleven Mile Creek. The site is bordered to the north by Interstate 10, to the south by Highway 90 (West Nine Mile Road) to the east by Eleven Mile Creek, and the west by the Navy Federal Credit Union complex.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill over 0.661 acres of wetlands for the construction of an access road associated with an upland residential development that includes 216 townhome units, a 14-unit apartment building, a 4,000 square foot club house and pool, and associated infrastructure. The access road would include two 20 foot by 6.5 foot metal box culverts (arched, with no bottom) over the creek and two 14 inch by 23 inch elliptical reinforced concrete pipes in the northern portion of the road crossing. The work also includes minor fill within 115 square feet of wetlands for a drainage feature at the southeast corner of the residential development.
PERMIT HISTORY: The project was previously permitted on December 21, 2009, but expired on December 21, 2014. That permit authorized 0.71 acres of wetland impacts for an access road that included a 50 foot span bridge across a creek and a 14 inch by 23 inch culvert within the northern portion of the road crossing. To offset impacts, the permit required onsite permittee responsible mitigation consisting of 9.59 acres of wetland enhancement and preservation within the Eleven Mile Creek drainage basin. No construction or other activities authorized by the previous permit have been initiated.
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:
“Proposed wetland impacts are limited to only where necessary to achieve the project purpose and to provide necessary access to developable uplands. Impacts associated with the road crossing constitute 100% of the proposed permanent wetland impacts. All other wetlands outside the limits of the proposed roadway crossing were completely avoided. In addition, the applicant is proposing a twenty five foot upland buffer along the entire length of wetlands located within the plan of development to limit secondary and cumulative impacts to wetland resources. There is only one small area located within the extreme southeast corner of the development site where wetlands will not be afforded at least at 25-ft. buffer. In this area, the right of way of a cul-de-sac will be located near (not within) an adjacent wetland complex. The road was positioned in an effort to avoid primary wetland impacts and allow access to developable uplands.
Access to the Residences at Nature Creek project is via an 80-ft. wide easement that runs along the east side of the Navy Federal [Credit Union complex]. There are no alternatives to access the development site other than the 80-ft. easement. Due to the size of the development and the fact that only one access is available, Escambia County Life Safety Department will require a boulevard entrance. The boulevard is comprised of two lane road with each lane 16-ft. in width. The overall width of the boulevard is 40-ft. not including grading, and stormwater management structures which extend beyond the width of the boulevard. The applicant has avoided and minimized impacts to wetland resources via the use of a retaining wall structure along the east side of the boulevard eliminating the need for side slopes to meet grading requirements. The engineer of record for the project, Hammond Engineering, Inc. subjected this crossing to a detailed engineering analysis to determine the peak flow rate of the tributary. The analysis resulted in the use of two (2) 20.08-ft. x 6.5’ Aluminum Metal Box Culvert (Arched culvert with no bottom) structure. Two additional 14-inch by 23-inch elliptical reinforced concrete pipe will be placed in the norther portion of the road crossing.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: To offset wetland impacts, 9.65 acres of onsite forested wetlands would be enhanced and perpetually preserved by placing the area into a conservation easement with the Northwest Florida Water Management District. The areas would be enhanced by removing exotic and nuisance species and planting the areas with a total of 680, 3-gallon sized hardwood trees consisting of sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), and red maple (Acer rubrum) on 25 foot centers.
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 Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) as determined using the 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, following couplets A> B> C> D> E.
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 initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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 the District Engineer through the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823.
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.