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: Tavistock East Services, LLC
c/o Mr. James Zboril
9801 Lake Nona Road
Orlando, Florida 32827
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The proposed work includes extension of Cryils Drive and the construction of Sunbridge Parkway. The proposed Sunbridge Parkway would provide a north-south transportation corridor between State Road (SR) 528 in Orange County and the Cyrils Drive extension within the “Sunbridge at Northeast District (NED) Phase I” development project in Osceola County. Sunbridge Parkway would ultimately connect to the planned Osceola Parkway extension consistent with the Comprehensive Plans of both counties. The Cyrils Drive Extension will provide the current terminus for the Sunbridge Parkway and facilitate access to the planned communities of the Sunbridge at NED project. The roadway projects subject to this action are located in Sections 1, 2, 6, 11, and 12, Township 25 South, Range 31 East, Osceola County, and Sections 6, 7, 18, 19, 30, and 31, Township 24 South, Range 32 East, Orange County, Florida. The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Kissimmee River Hydrologic Unit (Hydrologic Unit Code 03090101) and Upper St. Johns River (Hydrologic Unit Code 03080101).
Directions to the site are as follows: The project is not accessible by public road but is located east of the intersection of Cyrils Drive and Absher Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.3377º
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct the Cyrils Drive Extension, which would provide the current terminus for the Sunbridge Parkway in Osceola County, and construct Sunbridge Parkway north to Wewahootee Road in Orange County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area currently supports five land use types/vegetative communities. These land use types/vegetative communities were identified utilizing the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS, FDOT, January 1999). Wetland and surface water communities within the Parkway alignment comprised approximately 70 acres, respectively, and consist of Canals - 513, Ditches/Swales - 516, Ditch/Freshwater Marsh - 516/641, Reservoirs less than 10 acres - 534, Cypress - 621, Hydric Pine Savanna - 626, Wetland Forested Mixed - 630, Wetland Shrub - 631, Freshwater Marshes – 641, Wet Prairies - 643, Treeless Hydric Savannah – 646, and Wet Improved Pastures – 211W. Table 3.2.1-1 provides a summary of the cover types and acreages. Upland habitats include Improved Pastures - 211, Woodland Pastures - 213, Citrus Groves - 221, Shrub and Brushland - 320, Pine Flatwoods - 411, Xeric Oak - 421, Hardwood-Coniferous Mixed - 434, Upland Scrub, Pine and Hardwoods - 436, and Roads and Highways – 814.
Native communities in the Parkway alignment have been altered and managed as rangeland for cattle or agricultural production.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge and fill 47.7 acres of waters of the United States (46.47 acres of wetlands and 0.93 acre of other waters) for the construction of Cyrils Drive Extension, which would provide the current terminus for the Sunbridge Parkway in Osceola County, and construct Sunbridge Parkway north to Wewahootee Road in Orange County, Florida.
The applicant is seeking a ten (10) year permit duration.
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 operable standard at the federal level requires the applicant to demonstrate that in developing the property design, the applicant has first avoided wetland impacts to the greatest extent practicable. Second, and after having accounted for avoidance, the applicant must next demonstrate that what impacts could not be avoided have been minimized. Finally, after satisfying the sequential review of “avoidance and minimization,” the applicant must provide compensatory mitigation for those impacts that cannot, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, be avoided or minimized. The language asks the applicant to find the least damaging practicable alternative that satisfies the overall property purpose and does not result in significant degradation to the environment.
In addition to state and federal regulations, wetland protection within the alignment is also regulated by Orange County. Per the Comprehensive Plan, proposed development must be directed away from wetlands and comply with the policies of the Environmental Land Stewardship Program Ordinance. Where impacts are permitted, they are based on wetland quality classifications and must be in the public’s interest or where no other feasible or practical alternative exists that will permit a reasonable use of the land.
Impacts to waters of the United States could not be totally avoided, but significant effort has been taken through the alignment siting selection and design process to minimize wetland impacts associated with Parkway development to the greatest extent practicable. The first federal requirement, impact avoidance, has been satisfied through the local comprehensive planning processes of Orange and Osceola Counties. The proposed alignment was selected after extensive environmental analysis to identify key natural features and landscape linkages and carefully designed to avoid impacts to aquatic resources and wildlife habitat where practicable. The second federal requirement, impact minimization, has been satisfied where possible by siting the proposed alignment along existing field roads, at the narrowest point of wetland crossings, and within wetlands of lower functional value.
In determining whether significant degradation will occur, the Corps and the State may consider proposed mitigation measures (see Headquarters U.S. Army Corps Engineers Review and Findings, Twisted Oaks Joint Venture Permit §404[q] Elevation; see also Environmental Resource Permit Applicant’s Handbook Volume 1 Section 10.2.1). Having satisfied the requirements for “avoidance and minimization,” the proposed mitigation plan satisfies the requirement for compensatory mitigation for those impacts that cannot be avoided or minimized.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The preservation and enhancement of 250.52 acres of wetlands and 17.13 acres of uplands through a permittee-responsible mitigation under a watershed approach.
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 action area includes the entire 287.97± 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 one rookery; the project supports 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 “may affect” 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 more than 25 acres of eastern indigo snake habitat.) = may affect. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with USFWS pursuant to 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): The proposed work would have no effect to EFH.
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 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by fax at (321) 504-3803, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771 extension 14.
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 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.