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:
Attn: Chris Wrenn
6200 Lee Vista Boulevard, Suite 600
Orlando, FL 32822
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Tohopekaliga. The project site is located 3650 Friars Cove Road in Section 3 & 35, Township 26 & 27 South, Range 30 East, Saint Cloud, Osceola County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From St. Cloud take State Road 192 west and turn south on Canoe Creek Rd. Head south approximately 8 miles and turn west onto Friars Cove Rd. Head West for approximately 2 miles and the development site will be on the South side of the road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Residential Development
Overall: The construction of a residential development to supports multiple single family homes within close proximity to a charter school and commuter access to the Florida turnpike in St. Cloud, FL.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 40.15 acre site currently supports 25.76 acres of two upland vegetative communities and 14.11 acres of two wetland/surface water vegetative communities. The upland vegetative communities are comprised of pine flat woods and live oak assemblages. Alternatively, the wetland vegetative communities are comprised of 14.06 acres wetland forested mix and 0.03 acres of a man-made reservoir.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill approximately 0.84 acres of wetlands associated with Fanny Bass Pond to facilitate the construction of the project’s storm water pond, road, and lot grading.
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: “In considering alternative site plans with respect to the elimination or reduction of wetland impacts, it is believed that the provisions of the Clean Water Act section 404 have been met. The proposed project design will include certain unavoidable impacts to the wetland edge. These impacts are required to facilitate basic design requirements, including a mandatory storm water capacity pond, minimum road way turning radii to meet minimum safety requirements, and other design characteristics necessary to meet local, regional and other agency requirements.”
“The submitted design requires some wetland impacts that are unavoidable. These impacts are limited to the outer fringe of the wetland which have been subject to degradation from the past man-made pathways into the wetland. To minimize impacts to resources, the project design was modified in order to preserve the highest functioning wetland areas and direct any unavoidable impacts to the lowest-quality portions.”
“As required, all wetland impacts proposed will be compensated for through the purchase of federal mitigation credits at a mitigation bank residing in the service area covering the project site.”
“The potential future secondary impacts to this system will be offset by providing a 15-foot minimum, 25-foot average upland buffer to wetlands remaining in the post-development condition. Wherever an upland buffer is not provided, a 25-foot secondary impact will be accounted for with mitigation corresponding to the adjacent direct impact.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should be required: “The mitigation plan for the 0.84 acres of proposed impacts will be the purchase of off-site Federal Credits from the Reedy Creek mitigation bank. The same functional assessment methodology used to establish credits for the federal mitigation bank (M-WRAP) was applied to the wetland impact areas (direct and secondary). The proposed impacts are calculated to incur a 0.54 functional loss and will be fully offset with the purchase of M-WRAP Federal credits.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has not made an effect determination but is requesting a cultural resources assessment survey (CRAS) be conducted by an archeologist to identify and evaluate cultural resources within the proposed permit area. Upon receipt of the CRAS, the Corps will make an effect determination and initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: 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 three rookeries; 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 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 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 Dr., 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 Corey Maier, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (321) 504-3803; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771 ext. 15.
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.