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. Harvey Youngquist Sr.
Syneological Analysts, Inc.
2159 Morning Sun Lane
Naples, Florida 34119
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The proposed project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Tenmile Canal Watershed. The proposed project site is located on the east side of I-75 and west side of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway just south of Terminal Access Road in Section 3, Township 46 South, Range 25 East, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 75 South take Alico Road exit east towards Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and then make a left onto Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. The proposed project site is located on the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway just south of Terminal Access Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.504831°
Basic: Commercial Development
Overall: To construct a mixed use commercial development near the Interstate 75 corridor and Regional Southwest International Airport in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The approximately 323.32 acre parcel contains 171.38 acres of freshwater forested and herbaceous wetlands, 28.83 acres of non-wetland waters, and 123.11 acres of uplands. The below table outlines the existing habitats onsite.
PROJECT HISTORY: A Corps permit was issued on February 5, 2008 for the currently proposed work; however, the impacts never occurred. Onsite mitigation was completed for the permitted work and included 81.93 acres of wetland enhancement, 5.61 acres of upland enhancement, and purchase of 15.6 mitigation bank credits from Panther Island Mitigation Bank. Additionally, 325 acres of offsite wetlands and uplands were preserved and enhanced. Both onsite and offisite mitigation areas were placed under a conservation easement.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into 78.56 acres of wetlands, excavate fill from 7.83 acres of wetlands, and discharge fill into 2.14 acres of non-wetland waters of the U.S. for the construction of the mixed use 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 avoidance and minimization were well documented and summarized in the Environmental Assessment and Statement of findings issued for Corps permit SAJ-2003-12445 (IP-MJD). Approximately 84.99 acres of onsite wetlands were avoided as part of the above permit application review process.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Because no additional wetland impacts beyond what was initially permitted are proposed in the current application, no additional mitigation is required.
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.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a biological opinion (BO) for the Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi) on March 9, 2007 (Service Log No. 4-1-04-F-6503) stating that based on the proposed Panther Habitat Units generated by the mitigation, the project will not jeopardize the survival and recovery of the Florida Panther. In the BO, the FWS concurred with the Corps “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determinations for the Red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), wood stork (Mycteria Americana), and Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi).
The Corps will initiate formal consultation with the FWS for the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus; FBB), as the FBB was not an ESA listed species at the time of BO issuance.
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. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the South Florida Water Management District. The proposed project was previously permitted by the South Florida Water Management District (Permit No. 36-05415-P).
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, Bri McGuffie, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Fort Myers, Florida, 33919; by electronic mail at Brianne.E.McGuffie@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at (239) 334-1975 ext. 0006.
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 was previously permitted by the South Florida Water Management District (Permit No. 36-05415-P).
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.