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: Finfrock Industries, Inc.
Attn: Robert Finfrock 2400 Apopka Blvd.
Apopka, Florida 32703
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The wetlands are connected to the Wekiva River through ditches and other conveyances. The project is located west of Overland Road, south of the Florida Central Railroad, north of Beggs Road, in Section 25, Township 21 South, Range 28 East, Apopka, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Overland Road and Apopka Blvd. proceed west on Apopka Blvd. The project is located at 2400 Apopka Blvd.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Overall: The expansion of an existing pre-stressed concrete manufacturing facility.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The on-site freshwater wetlands were classified per the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) and are characterized as:
The interior of the wetland community on the western side of the project is best classified as Willow and Elderberry (FLUCFCS 618). Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) and primrose willow (Ludwigia spp.) are the primary species found here, with primrose willow being dominant. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and cattail (Typha latifolia) are present in small patches. This system extends offsite to the west.
The perimeter of the wetland in the eastern portion of the project consists of pond pine (Pinus serotina), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), saltbush (Baccharis spp.), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), blackberry (Rubus spp.), Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia), and cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) classified as Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630). A fine dust from the concrete plant leaves a significant coating on the vegetation present throughout the wetland.
The existing area surrounding the project area consists of industrial development, railroad tracks, and roadways.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into 5.6 acres of waters of the United States (wetlands) for the expansion of the storage laydown yard of the Finfrock concrete manufacturing plant and product storage facility.
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 wetland impact areas are located south, and west of the existing concrete plant and the area has already been disturbed to some degree by the surrounding industrial land uses, the active railroad and the adjacent highway. These areas can be considered moderate quality because of the low landscape connectivity they provide.
The applicant has committed considerable effort to evaluate options for the proposed expansion. The alternatives included both on-site and off-site options. A comprehensive Alternatives Analysis was submitted for review. Four off-site options that were considered were either not available for purchase, had significant property constraints (i.e. no access, more wetland impacts required, not zoned for industrial), or did not have acceptable contract terms.
The subject application includes wetland impacts that are considered necessary for the project’s viability and are minimal in terms of ecological impact. The proposed plan represents the best balance considering the myriad of factors that had to be considered in terms of site planning, property constraints (access, zoning) and ecological impact.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant proposes the purchase of 2.34 palustrine federal credits from the Wekiva River Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area the activity is of such limited scope there is little likelihood of impact upon a historic property; therefore, the proposed project would have “No Potential to Cause Effect”.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The property is located within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Consultation Area for the eastern indigo snake, wood stork, Florida scrub-jay, Everglades snail kite, and sand skink. The proposed work area does
not contain habitat suitable for Everglades snail kite, sand skink, or Florida scrub jay. None of these species were observed within the proposed project area. The Corps has determined the proposed work would have no effect to Everglades snail kite, sand skink, or Florida scrub jay.
The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the August 13, 2013 updated addendum to the January 2010 North and South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Eastern Indigo Snake. Use of the Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake resulted in the following sequential determination: 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 protection construction.) >C (There are no gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) = Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA) with the applicant adherence to the standard protection measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Eastern Indigo Snake no further coordination is required.
Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida dated September 2008, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A (This determination is based on the project not being located within 2,500 feet of an active colony site; impacts to suitable foraging habitat (SFH).) > B (The project impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acre.) > C (Project impacts to SFH are within the CFA of a colony site or wood storks have been documented foraging on a project site outside the CFA.) > D (Project provides SFH compensation in accordance with the Clean Water Act section 404(b)(1) guidelines and is not contrary to the Habitat Management Guidelines; habitat compensation is within the appropriate CFA or within the service area of a Service-approved mitigation bank.) = “NLAA the wood stork. Based upon the NLAA determination for the wood stork no further coordination is required.
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 facsimile transmission 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 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.