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: Michael and Ashley Schwartz
5070 Dalewood Lane
Lake Worth, Florida 33467
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with 1.04 acres of a forested freshwater wetland. The project site is located 17437 70th Street North, Section 26, Township 42 South, Range 40 East, Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate I-95 take Exit 77 for Northlake Boulevard and travel west on Northlake Boulevard for approximately 12 miles. Turn left (south) onto Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. Continue south for 1.8 miles and turn right onto Key Lime Boulevard. Travel 1.5 miles and turn left onto Mandarin Boulevard. Head south for 0.4 miles and turn left onto 70th Street North. Destination will be the second parcel, a vacant lot, on the left (north) side of the road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Single Family Residence
Overall: To construct a single family residence in Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The parcel is currently a vacant lot, where the Corps determined that 1.04 acres parcel is a forested wetland, based on the site visits conducted on October 19, 2017 and January 11, 2018. The wetland system consists of a forested freshwater system with a canopy dominated by Melaleuca and slash pine with a 0.1 acre canopy dominated my earleaf acacia. The northern end of the parcel contained an understory of Sagittaria lancifolia, Eleocharis sp; Commelina virginica; and Cladium jamaicense. While the southern end of the parcel contained an understory of Blechnum serrulatum, Chrysobalanus icaco, Lygodium microphyllum, Schinus terebinthifolia, and Sabal Palmetto.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 1.04 acres of an existing freshwater forested wetland to construct a single family house and associated septic system on a 1.15 acre lot.
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:
“Since the majority of the parcel qualifies as a wetland, avoidance of onsite wetlands was not possible. However best management practices and erosion control devices will be used to ensure there are no offsite impacts to adjacent wetlands along the north property boundary.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“If deemed necessary the applicant will purchase mitigation bank credits from a Federally approved 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, if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana) and the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). The determinations are described below:
The Corps has determined that the proposed project is located within 18.6 miles of two wood stork nesting colonies and suitable foraging habitat is located within the project footprint. The Corps utilized the South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Key for the Wood Stork dated May 18, 2010, and determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (path A-B-C-E) provided the loss of suitable foraging habitat will be replaced. No further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is required for the wood stork pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. If it is determined that the wood stork foraging habitat would not be replaced, coordination with the FWS would be conducted by separate letter.
The Corps has determined that suitable gopher tortoise habitat and other snake refugia are present within and adjacent to the project area. Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Indigo Snake Key dated 1 August 2017, resulted in a path of A-B-C-D, not likely to adversely affect. A determination of “not likely to adversely affect” was made for the Indigo snake provided the permit includes the special conditions for the Eastern Indigo Snake Protection Measures during construction. With an outcome of “not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” as outlined in the key, the requirements of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act are fulfilled for the eastern indigo snake and no further action is required.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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. No EFH is located within or areas affected by the project. 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.
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, FL 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, Jerilyn Ashworth, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Jerilyn.Ashworth@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3508.
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.