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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Habitat for Humanity of Lee & Hendry Counties, Inc.
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project, referred to as Habitat Harlem Heights, would affect waters of the United States associated within the Caloosahatchee Estuary Basin. The project site is located in Section 32, Township 45 South, and Range 24 East. More specifically, the project is located east of Collier Boulevard, approximately 0.37 mile south of Gladiolus Drive and approximately 0.39 mile east of Pine Ridge Road.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Exit 131 on Interstate 75, proceed approximately 2.7 miles west on Daniels Parkway to 6 Mile Cypress Parkway. Turn left (south) and proceed on 6 Mile Cypress Parkway for 2.8 miles. Continue straight onto Gladiolus Drive for 3.9 miles, and turn left (south) on Concourse Drive. The project is located 0.4 miles south on Concourse Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.511059º
Basic: To construct single and multi-family home development.
Overall: To construct a single and multi-family home development and common park area with associated infrastructure, and a stormwater management system in Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 23.76 acre site contains 5.09 acres of Corps jurisdictional wetlands. The majority of the onsite wetlands consist of disturbed forested and herbaceous areas including areas of hydric melaleuca, hydric Brazilian pepper, shrub wetland, and wet prairie. The site is heavily infested with exotic vegetation including earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), and Brazilian pepper. The wetland delineation was verified by the Corps staff on June 21, 2017, and South Florida Water Management District on June 16, 2016.
Surrounding land uses include single family home sites to the north, undeveloped, forested land and a lake to the east, ta drainage canal to the south, and Kelly Road Soccer Complex to the west.
BACKGROUND: There are no associated Corps permits within the project area.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a single and multi-family home development with associated infrastructure, amenities, and stormwater management system. The proposed project will result in the discharge of 10,648 cubic yards of fill material into 2.21 acres of Corps jurisdictional wetlands and the excavation of 41,818 cubic yards of material from 2.88 acre of Corps jurisdictional wetlands. The proposed project will also impact 0.68 acre of other surface waters (OSW).
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:
Because of the highly disturbed, low-quality nature of the wetlands on-site, the proposed project will mitigate for all impacts at an approved mitigation bank off-site, which will provide greater long term regional ecological value.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
As compensatory mitigation for the proposed impacts to 5.09 acres of degraded Corps jurisdictional wetlands, the applicant has purchased 1.50 freshwater forested mitigation bank credits from Corkscrew Regional Mitigation Bank.
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 wood stork (Mycteria americana). This determination was based on use of the Wood Stork Effect Determination Key (May 18, 2010). The project will provide compensation in accordance with Clean Water Act 404(b)(1) guidelines and proposed wetland impacts are less than 50 acres; therefore, the requirements of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are fulfilled for the wood stork and no further action is required.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect” the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). This determination is based on the project impacts occurring within the consultation area (2013). The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). This determination is based on use of the Eastern indigo snake programmatic concurrence key (January 25, 2010). No further consultation is necessary.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The project would only impact freshwater wetlands; therefore, the Corps has determined that no substantial adverse impacts to EFH will result from the proposed action.
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. A Corps Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination was received on June 21, 2017.
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 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, Russel Rouan in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919, by electronic mail at Russel.W.Rouan@usace.army.mil, by fax at (239)334-0797, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975 extension 0011.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with the 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 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.