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.

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SAJ-1997-07656 (SP-JSC)

Published April 19, 2018
Expiration date: 5/10/2018

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: Shingle Creek Community Development District
                      6750 Forum Drive, Suite 310
                      Orlando, FL 32926

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 8.30± acre Storey Lake Nature’s Ridge Drive roadway (fka Osceola Trace) project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Kissimmee River Hydrologic Unit (Hydrologic Unit Code 03090101); project is located west of Shingle Creek. The proposed project is located in Sections 1 and 12, Township 25 South, Range 28 East, Osceola County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Take the Greenway (SR 417) to the World Center Drive exit. Take World Center Drive to Kissimmee Vineland Road, head south. Go to Osceola Parkway and head east. The first road is Storey Lake Boulevard, turn right. The Storey Lake project has been mass graded, but not all the infrastructure is in. To get to the proposed Nature’s Ridge roadway, go to the southeastern extent of Storey Lake.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:

Latitude 28.3283º
Longitude -81.4586º

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: road construction.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a two-lane roadway, with an associated trail, from Storey Lake east to the adjacent parcel in Osceola County, Florida.

PROJECT HISTORY: The Corps authorized Osceola Trace development (SAJ-1997-07656) to place fill in waters of the U.S. for development of a 768.0 acre site. Compensatory mitigation associated with this project included the purchase of an 803 acre parcel called London Creek Ranch and the re-establishment of wetlands on this parcel. SAJ-1997-07656, Modification 1, removed the 80 acre tract north of Osceola Parkway to be permitted under SAJ-2004-02181. This modification also authorized both a mitigation ledger and restoration and enhancement activities to generate 152 mitigation credits (referred to as functional units) on the 803 acre London Creek Ranch site. Since the authorization of the original permit, the permit has been transferred (Modification 2) to two different entities – Lennar Homes, LLC and Shingle Creek Community Development District. SAJ-1997-07656 expired on July 1, 2008 and was reauthorized, to include an additional 71.4 acres in the southern end of the site (Westgate Tract B), with a new expiration date of March 19, 2023.

Under the original Corps permit, the roadway through the area now known as “Tract B” traveled along the western boundary of that parcel and terminated at the southern boundary. The proposed realignment calls for the roadway to travel along the eastern boundary of Tract B and then head east, crossing a tributary slough of Shingle Creek.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: On-site natural communities and/or land uses were classified using the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCCS, FDOT, 1999). These areas are described as:

534 - Man-Made Pond, <10 acres (0.05 acres)
This area includes the two man-made ponds. The first pond is located in the southern extent of Tract B and serves as a shared stormwater pond for Tract B and the development south of Storey Lake. Review of Google Earth imagery indicates that this pond was constructed sometime between January 2003 and February 2003. This pond is not maintained on a regular basis. Vegetation present in the system includes cattail (Typha sp.), primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana), Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) and torpedo grass (Panicum repens).

The second pond is located north of the proposed roadway and a small portion extends into the road right-of way. Review of Google Earth imagery indicates that this pond was constructed sometime prior to February 1995 and has remained an open water body since that time.

617 – Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (2.63 acre)
A small section of the property south of the pond and abutting the adjacent cypress swamp associated Shingle Creek tributary is vegetated by a mixture of wetland shrubs with some trees including but not limited to ash (Fraxinus sp.), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), live oak (Quercus virginiana) and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), red maple (Acer rubrum), sweet gum (Liquidambar styracifula), pond cypress (Taxodium acendens), and also contains a variety of herbaceous wetland grasses, sedges and rushes.

621 – Cypress (1.96 acres)
This area contains a canopy of primarily pond cypress with black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), sweetbay, loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), water oak (Quercus nigra), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), red maple, netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata), pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata), cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), shield fern (Thelypteris kunthii), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus), bog buttons (Lachnocaulon anceps), and various sedges (Rhynchospora spp.).

640 – Vegetated Non-Forested Wetland (0.30 acre)
This area is a wet, improved pasture area along the eastern-most extent of the project area. This area contains pasture grasses along with wax myrtle and other shrubs.

740 – Disturbed Lands (3.36 acres)
This land use category includes the areas permitted for mass grading. The majority of this area has been mass graded, while a small portion along the eastern project extent has yet to be graded.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 4.42 acres of waters of the United States for construction of a two-lane road.

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 road crossing of the forested wetland is necessary as there is no other site access available. The existing Babb Road, a dirt city/county road that extends north to the Bronson Parcel, has been restricted by the local government and can only be used as an emergency access for the parcel. Osceola County will not allow expansion of or improvement to this road as a main access point. Access from any other point would have greater wetland impacts than those currently proposed (i.e. direct impacts to Shingle Creek). The Corps previously reviewed and commented on the roadway plans. In response to Corps comments, the proposed road plans significantly reduce the originally designed roadway (from a 4-lane to a 2-lane roadway).

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

Mitigation will be provided via the use of 6.57 mitigation units from the London Creek Mitigation Area.

CULTURAL RESOURCES:

The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area, which is defined by the project boundaries. 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 action area includes the entire 8.3± acre project site. The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (NLAA) wood stork (Mycteria americana). The proposed activity is within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a rookery; the project supports marginally Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) for wood stork. Based on the Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Peninsular Florida (dated May 2010), the Corps determination sequence is as follows: A (Project impacts SFH at a location greater than 0.47 miles from a colony site) > B (Project impact to SFH is greater in scope than 0.5 acres) > C (Project impacts to SFH within the CFA of a colony site > E (Project provides SFH compensation) = NLAA. The project provides SFH compensation within the CFA consisting of enhancement, restoration or creation (and federal mitigation bank credits) that provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of the impacted SFH; in accordance with the Clean Water Act section 404(b)(1) guidelines, and is not contrary to the habitat management guidelines. The Corps has U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) concurrence for the proposed activities through use of the aforementioned determination key.

The Corps has determined the proposed project NLAA the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (dated August 1, 2017), the Corps determination sequence is as follows: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh.) > B (The permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake during site preparation and construction.) > C (The project will impact less than 25 acres of eastern indigo snake habitat.) > D (The project has holes, burrows or other refugia) > E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be excavated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work) = NLAA. The Corps has USFWS concurrence for the proposed activities through use of the aforementioned determination key.

Based on existing habitat types and/or provided survey information, the Corps preliminarily determined the project will have no effect on bluetail mole skink (Eumeces egregious lividus) and sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi), red-cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis), Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii), and Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens).

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 proposal would impact approximately 8.3 acres of mixed wetland hardwoods and cypress wetlands located in the headwaters of the Kissimmee River. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Kissimmee River. 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 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926 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, Jeffrey Collins, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at Jeffrey.S.Collins@usace.army.mil; by fax at (321) 504-3803, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771 extension 13.

IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with 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 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.