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: City of Leesburg
Attn: Jonah Davis
36153 Executive Boulevard Suite 2
Leesburg, FL 34748
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Harris. The project site is located at 240 Ball Park Road, in Section 26, Township 19 South, 24 East, Leesburg, Lake County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From State Road 44 East in Leesburg, turn right onto South 9th Street. From South 9th Street bear left onto Lake Shore Drive. The project site is located on the east side of Lake Shore Drive on the shoreline of Lake Harris (a.k.a Ski Beach).
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project is to provide access to navigable waters.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to increase public boating access to the navigable waters of Lake Harris.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a freshwater littoral system. The onsite vegetation consists of a patchy covering of bulrush along the shoreline and a sparse covering of spatterdock. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of a vacant, clear cut waterfront parcel that is part of an adjacent public park.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to complete the following work:
Discharge 890 cubic yards of fill material into waters of the United States to construct an 82-foot-long by 43-foot-wide concrete boat ramp;
Discharge 80 cubic yards of riprap material along the ramp edges at a 2:1 slope to stabilize the edges of the proposed boat ramp;
Install two L-shape floating docks, one abutting each side of the boat ramp, each consisting of a 40-foot-long by 6-foot-wide terminal platform secured in a perpendicular fashion to a 76-foot-long by 6-foot-wide access pier anchored to the shoreline by a 4-foot-wide by 22-foot-long gangway;
Deploy a 7-foot-wide by 13-foot-long kayak launch abutting the shoreward side of one of the terminal platforms.
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:
According to the applicant, the proposed location for the boat ramp and the attendant dock structures does not support submerged aquatic vegetation. The applicant stated that it located the proposed ramp to fit within an area of the project site that does not support submerged aquatic vegetation. Therefore, the proposed project would not impact submerged aquatic vegetation due to the applicant’s avoidance and minimization efforts.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –
The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
The applicant stated that it designed the proposed boat ramp facility in a manner that would avoid the submerged aquatic vegetation at the proposed project site. In addition, the applicant elects to utilize appropriate erosion and turbidity control measures to ensure that any construction related turbidity or erosion would not escape the proposed limits of construction. In light of these measures, the applicant proffers that compensatory mitigation is not warranted for the proposed project.
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this letter, 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.
Wood stork: Since the applicant’s proposal involves work within suitable foraging habitat for wood storks, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office, and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008 to evaluate the proposed project’s potential impact on wood storks. Use of this key produced the following sequence indicating that that the project is not the wood stork: ABC (Not Likely to Adversely Affect). The project is located more than 2,500 feet from an active colony, and the proposed impacts to wood stork suitable foraging are less than 0.50 acre. In light of these facts, the key cited above supports the Corps not likely to adversely affect determination for the proposed project.
Everglades snail kite: The Corps has determined that the proposed project would have no effect on this species. The project site is located within the Everglades snail kite consultation area. However, the proposed project would not impact the marsh habitat type which supports apple snails and snail kite foraging activity. In addition, the proposed project site is not located within Everglades snail kite designated critical habitat. In light of these facts, the Corps determined that the proposed project would have no effect on the Everglades snail kite.
Florida scrub jay: The Corps has determined that the proposed project would have no effect on this species. The proposed project would not impact the scrub oak habitat necessary to support the life cycle of this species. The proposed project would impact a littoral area on Lake Harris adjacent to a clear cut, vacant waterfront parcel. Thus, the proposed project would have no effect on the Florida scrub jay.
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. The proposed project would occur within a freshwater lake that does not support EFH or any anadromous fishery under NMFS purview. 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/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 Tampa Permits Section, Gainesville Field Office, 2833 NW 41ST St., Unit 130, Gainesville, Florida 32606 within 15 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, James “Bo” Davidson, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, Gainesville Field Office, 2833 NW 41st. Street, Unit 130, Gainesville, Florida, 32606; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (352)264-7733; or, by telephone at (352)264-7672.
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.