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SAJ-2017-02976(SP-JKA)

Published May 17, 2018
Expiration date: 6/16/2018

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: Palm Beach County Roadway Production Division
                      Attention: Morton Rose
                      2300 N. Jog Road
                      West Palm Beach, FL 33411

BACKGROUND: The project as proposed was previously public noticed on February 2, 2018 under DA application SAJ-2017-02035 (SP-SLR). At that time the project under review was for the expansion of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard from a 2-lane roadway to a 3-lane roadway. The project has since been modified to potentially accommodate up to a 5-lane roadway. Therefore, the project is being re-noticed to allow for public comment.

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the M Canal, Indian Trail Improvement District (ITID) Canals, and freshwater wetlands located on nearby vacant parcels. The roadway expansion is located along Royal Palm Beach Boulevard at the intersection with the M canal to the intersection at Orange Boulevard; the vacant parcels that will be utilized for storm water purposes for the project are located at 11685 66th Street North and 11295 62nd Lane North, Section 35, Township 42 South, Range 41 East, Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 95, take exit 77 for Northlake Boulevard west for approximately 8.5 miles. Turn left onto Coconut Boulevard and travel approximately 2.25 miles and turn left onto Orange Boulevard. Travel 0.7 miles and turn/ road bends to the right and becomes Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, and this is the northern end of the roadway expansion footprint. Project continues south approximately one mile.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:

 

Feature

Latitude

Longitude

Roadway Expansion North Boundary

26.780246°

-80.226239°

Roadway Expansion South Boundary

26.765734°

-80.226732°

North Stormwater Treatment Area

26.775325°

-80.224287°

South Stormwater Treatment Area

26.769790°

-80.218799°

 
PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: linear transportation and stormwater improvements.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to improve the traffic conditions of the Royal Palm Beach Boulevard transportation corridor within ITID and construct stormwater management system improvements.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: Royal Palm Beach Boulevard is an existing two lane roadway that crosses several ITID canals, five of which are within the project area. Additionally, two undeveloped parcels are being proposed to be excavated and filled to create stormwater treatment areas (STA). Freshwater wetlands have been identified on the northern STA parcel. Onsite vegetation at this site was described by the applicant and includes a canopy dominated by Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), slash pine (Pinus elliotti), ear leaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), and Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia), with an understory of torpedo grass (Panicum repens), Smilax sp, old world climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum), bog button (Lachnocaulon spp.), red root (Lachnanthes carolinana), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), soft rush (Juncus effuses), yellow-eyed grasses (Xyris spp.), tickseed (Coreopsis spp.), wedelia (Sphagneticola spp.), and St. John’s wort (Hypericum cistifolium).

The applicant described the lot for the proposed southern STA to include a canopy dominated by Australian Pine (Casaurina eqiusetifolia), Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), and ear leaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) with minimal vegetation observed in the understory. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of low density residential homes and drainage canals.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant requests authorization to place 1,337 cubic yards of fill within 0.51 acres of freshwater wetlands and to excavate 1.81 acres of waters of the United States to widen the existing Royal Palm Beach Boulevard from a two lane road up to a five lane roadway that will result in the following regulated activities:
(1) Replacement of five existing culverts within ITID drainage canals, as shown in the table below, and
(2) Excavate two (2) offsite parcels to create STAs that will be at the same elevation as the adjacent ITID canals, which will be designed to hold and treat the additional runoff associated with the expanded 5-lane roadway.
Additionally, a full set of drawings may be provided upon request.

Feature

Existing Culvert Dimensions

Proposed Culvert Dimensions

Type of Impact

Area of Impact

Volume

PC Culvert # 1 – STA 137

60”

72”

Canal Fill

0.015 Acres

70.69 cubic yards

PC Culvert #2 - 143+85

24”

36”

Canal Fill

0.017 Acres

63.80 cubic yards

PC Culvert #3 - 150+65

24”

36”

Canal Fill

0.011 Acres

19.39 cubic yards

PC Culvert #4 - 157+45

24”

36”

Canal Fill

0.009 Acres

17.15 cubic yards

PC Culvert #5 - 164+25

24”

36”

Canal Fill

0.016 Acres

39.01 cubic yards

Total

0.068 acres

210.04 cubic yards

 

Feature

Type of Impact

Area of Impact

Volume

North Stormwater Treatment Area Parcel 3&4

Wetland Fill

0.44 acres

1,127cubic Yards

Excavation

1.81 acres

14,933 cubic yards

South Stormwater Treatment Area, Parcel 12

Wetland Fill

0.00 acres

0.00 cubic Yards

Wetland Excavation

0.00 acres

0.00 cubic yards

Total Stormwater Features

2.25 acres

 



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:

“An alternative site analysis was conducted to identify offsite area that will result in the least amount of wetland/surface water impacts. Project is designed to meet current standards to improve safety and avoid adverse impacts to adjacent properties. Temporary erosion control measures will be utilized during construction to minimize erosion and sediment impacts.”

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

“As part of the project, the drainage design will be creating additional surface water areas on site. Other mitigation compensation will be coordinated with Palm beach County to obtain credits at Pine Glades West Mitigation Area.”

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps received a response from the State Historic Preservation Office dated March 2, 2018 under DHR Project File No.: 2018-0577 that stated the project is unlikely to affect historic properties and requested a special condition be added to the Corps permit. 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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: 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 three 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-E, 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 and the permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, shall be evacuated via methods pursuant to FWC excavation guidance prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrows. Additionally, holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows shall be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area with work stopping if an indigo snake is discovered. 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 other 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. The Corps has determined that the proposed project would not impact EFH or federally managed fisheries and therefore consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996 is not necessary.

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 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, 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.