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: Jacksonville – Cecil Commerce Center, LLC
3000 Turtle Creek Boulevard
Dallas, Texas 75219
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Rowell Creek. The project site is located within the Cecil Commerce Center (CCC), contiguous to 103rd Street (Perimeter Road), in portions of Sections 11, Township 3 South, Range 23 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.247904°, Longitude -81.873443°
Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the establishment of an industrial warehouse facility within the CCC.
In 1998, the U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy) compiled an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Disposal and Reuse of Naval Air Station Cecil Field. As a result of actions by the Navy, the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and the Jacksonville Port Authority proposed the redevelopment of the property. In 2000, the Corps circulated a public notice conveying the conceptual revitalization and development of Naval Air Station Cecil Field as the CCC.
In 2003, the Corps circulated a public notice conveying specific plans for portions of the overall CCC project. That public notice identified six components of the overall CCC project, which were/are Large Tract Development, infrastructure, Lake Fretwell stormwater management pond, Jacksonville Electric Authority Transmission Lines and Site N-8 wells, Small Tract Development, and the Mitigation Area. After the circulation of that public notice and an evaluation of the work proposed, the Corps issued several permits and authorized the establishment of the CCC mitigation area.
Work at several sites within the CCC has been implemented or completed. However, the permittees were unable to complete all of the authorized work prior to the expiration of various permits. Therefore, the Jacksonville – Cecil Commerce Center, LLC is currently seeking authorization of previously evaluated work that is associated with a specific component of the previously permitted overall CCC project.
Soils: The project site encompasses five soil types identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resource Conservation Service. These soil types are Boulogne fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes, Evergreen-Wesconnett complex, depressional, 0 to 2 percent slopes, Leon fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes, Lynn Haven fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes, and Pottsburg fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes. Evergreen-Wesconnett complex, depressional, 0 to 2 percent slopes and Lynn Haven fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes comprise the hydric soils encompassed by the site.
Vegetative Communities: The project site encompasses five vegetative communities identified by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).
a. Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441): On-site uplands have been historically utilized for silviculture and are dominated by planted rows of slash pine (Pinus elliottii). Other species found in this community include myrtle leaf holly (Ilex myrtifolia), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex glabra), shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), tarflower (Bejaria racemosa), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).
b. Hydric Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441H): Wetlands within the area utilized for silviculture are dominated by slash pine, accompanied by saw palmetto, loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea).
c. Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS code 630): These wetlands contain a mixture of hardwood and coniferous species in the canopy, with neither achieving dominance. Vegetation includes slash pine, red maple (Acer rubrum), cypress (Taxodium distichum), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), silver bay (Magnolia virginiana), royal fern, cinnamon fern, and Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica).
d. Vegetated Non-Forested Wetlands (FLUCFCS code 640): Vegetation in this non-forested community includes wax myrtle, fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), gallberry, St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.), redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana), royal fern, Virginia chain fern, and hatpin (Ericaulon spp.). The water table is generally found at or within several inches of the surface.
The project site is located west of the CCC Parcel C. In conjunction with Department of the Army permit SAJ-2016-02901, the Corps determined that the wetland near the eastern side of the current project site is not within Federal jurisdiction associated with the Clean Water Act.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material over a total of 40.17 acres of wetlands to facilitate the establishment of a warehouse facility.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: In conjunction with the evaluation of the original overall CCC project, the Corps concluded that the overall project could not completely avoid work affecting wetlands; and, that the overall project minimized work affecting wetlands to the maximum extent practicable. In addition, during the evaluation of the overall CCC project, the Corps identified/evaluated the work proposed at the current project site. Therefore, the applicant is seeking authorization of previously evaluated work that is associated with a specific component of the previously permitted overall project. Further, as determined during the overall CCC evaluation, a warehouse facility at the project site requires a “large-footprint” building, associated infrastructure, parking, and stormwater treatment ponds. In consideration of the project purpose and the previous overall CCC project evaluation, the applicant expressed an opinion that the current project avoids and minimizes work affecting wetlands to the maximum extent practicable.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: In conjunction with the original permits associated with the overall CCC project, the Corps authorized, and the permittee implemented, advance compensatory mitigation actions as pre-project (pre-construction) mitigation. Therefore, the applicant would utilize the previously implemented advance mitigation initiatives, which included wetland creation, restoration, enhancement, and preservation, as compensatory mitigation for the work proposed. The applicant’s ecological agent submitted a Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure (WRAP) quantifying and qualifying the functional loss associated with the work proposed; and, the portion of the previously implemented advance compensatory mitigation that would offset that functional loss.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps previously investigated and evaluated potential effects to resources listed in, or eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Corps previously determined that the work associated with the overall CCC project would not adversely affect any cultural and/or historic resources. In consideration of the previous evaluation, the Corps reaffirms the absence of any known historic properties within the current project area. However, 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 any requisite coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps previously investigated and evaluated potential effects to federally listed species. The Corps previously determined that the work proposed for the overall CCC project would not adversely affect any federally listed species. However, in consideration of current information regarding listed species, the Corps has reassessed potential effects to listed species, as noted below.
Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): Eastern indigo snake frequents several habitat types, including pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, high pine, dry prairie, tropical hardwood hammocks, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, coastal dunes, and human-altered habitats. Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows are commonly utilized as refuge from winter cold and/or desiccating conditions in xeric habitats; and, hollowed root channels, hollow logs, or burrows of rodents, armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) provide shelter in wetter habitats. A recent inspection of the site by the applicant’s ecological agent did not locate any gopher tortoise burrows nor result in the observation of gopher tortoise or eastern indigo snakes. However, in consideration of the potential presence of eastern indigo snakes, the Corps utilized The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, as the applicant has agreed to implement the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, August 12, 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for eastern indigo snakes; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is approximately 11 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for Red Cockaded Woodpecker; however, within the consultation area identified by the FWS and the Corps for this species. Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands; and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Further, it is likely that this species only opportunistically forages at or in the vicinity of the site; and, as significant forested habitat is located near the site, the development of the site would not preclude such opportunistic foraging. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species.
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The project site is not located within the core foraging area of any Wood Stork colony. In addition, the project would not affect suitable foraging habitat for this species. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-no effect. The FWS has indicated that they concur with determinations of no effect based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum): Frosted flatwoods salamanders typically inhabit slash pine and longleaf pine flatwoods that support a wiregrass groundcover. The project site does not encompass habitat typically utilized by this species; and, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission data only identifies one documented observation of this species approximately 4.2 miles northwest of the project site. The project site, in general, is surrounded by major roadways (103rd Street, Normandy Boulevard, and Cecil Commerce Center Parkway), which likely precludes/inhibits migration of this species to the project site. In addition, a recent inspection of the site by the applicant’s ecological agent did not result in the observation of frosted flatwoods salamanders. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species.
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 project would not affect marine or estuarine habitat; or, EFH. The Corps therefore concludes that the proposed action would not have an adverse effect on EFH or federally managed fisheries.
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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.
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.