Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

Special Issues - These are public notices that involve the Regulatory program but which are generally not limited to one particular geographic area. These would include public notices for the establishment or modification of Restricted Areas/Danger Zones, re-issuance of General Permits or Nationwide Permits, changes to guidance and policies, etc.

Administrative Penalty - These public notices provide information associated with Administrative Penalties. An Administrative Penalty can be assessed to address violations associated with issued Department of the Army permits.

SAJ-2008-02506 (SP-SLR)

Published March 13, 2018
Expiration date: 4/12/2018

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: Bergeron US 27 LLC
                      c/o Ron Bergeron
                      19612 SW 69th Place
                      Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33332

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with wetlands. The project site is located at the NE corner of Stirling Road and US-27 (Section 34, Township 50 south, Range 39 east), Southwest Ranches, Broward County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Follow the Florida Turnpike to Exit 71 for State Highway 869 S/Sawgrass Way toward Coral Springs/Key West Toll road, merge onto SR-869 S, take J-75 N exit towards Naples, merge onto 1-595 W, continue on 1-75 N, take exit 23 for US 27 toward Miami, merge onto SR-25/US-27, subject site is located at the NE corner of Stirling Road and US-27.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:

Latitude:     26.047501°
Longitude: -80.431046°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is for the construction of a commercial facility.

Overall: The overall project purpose is for the development of a nursery in western Broward County.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site contains a freshwater herbaceous wetland area that is 8.64 acres in size. These wetlands are dominated by improved pasture with a low-quality melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) wetland at the extreme southern end of the property. The subject site is bordered on the west by US-27, on the north by a future SFWMD impoundment area, on the east by Sharon Memorial Gardens and on the south by Stirling Road. The Sharon Memorial Gardens site is mostly undeveloped, with a marsh mitigation area located in the southwest corner of the property, adjacent to the Bergeron Nursery property.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill over 8.64 acres of forested wetlands in order to construct a commercial nursery and associated infrastructure.

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:

Due to the nature and location of the wetlands, complete avoidance is not a viable alternative as the project would not be a financially feasible development.
Prior to application submittal, various considerations and efforts were made in an effort to avoid and or minimize potential onsite, offsite and secondary wetland impacts.
In addition, three (3) initial alternative site plans were reviewed, please see the attached previously approved Site Plan Alternative Analysis. Upon review and elimination of the alternate site plans, the current site plan reviewed included site development with reduced impacts to wetlands onsite as well as limiting secondary impacts to adjacent wetlands. The current proposed plan allows for the highest quality of onsite mitigation and one continuous wetland habitat.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

Mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to 8.64 acres of wetlands is proposed through a combination of on-site wetland enhancement, on-site wetland creation, off-site wetland restoration within the C-11 Basin and the previous purchase of 1.1 freshwater herbaceous credits through Everglades 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 and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project is within the range and consultation area of the threatened Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audobonii), threatened Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), threatened wood stork (Mycteria americana), and the endangered Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus).

Based on information available from the applicant our initial determination for the project is listed below:

• No effect the threatened Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii). The project site does not offer suitable foraging or nesting habitat for the caracara. No formal caracara survey has been conducted to date, however, no caracara nest has been identified on site. According to information available from United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) South Florida Ecological Services Office (SFESO), the closest known nest is over 10 miles from the proposed Project.

• May affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The project will impact more than 25 acres of potential snake habitat. By use of the FWS Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated January 25, 2010 and the August 12, 2013 addendum, the following key sequence A>B>C would result in a “May Affect” determination.

• Not Likely to Adversely Affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The applicant has proposed compensation for wetland impacts through the use of onsite wetland mitigation. By use of the FWS Wood Stork Key dated January 25, 2010 and the May 18, 2010 addendum, the following key sequence A>B>C>E would result in a “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” (NLAA). Any loss of wood stork foraging biomass resulting from the proposed activity will be compensated on site by the restoration and enhancement of preserved wetlands and the creation of a surface water management system (ponds and vegetated littoral zones). A wood stork foraging biomass analysis will be prepared to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed wood stork forage loss and gain.

• Not Likely to Adversely Affect the Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus). The project area does not contain suitable forage (apple snails); however, the site is within the consultation area.

The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.

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. The project site contains 8.64 acres of freshwater wetlands. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic region. 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 Palm
Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 within 30 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, Samantha L. Rice, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Samantha.L.Rice@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3536.

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.