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: Sunward Manor, LLC
c/o Dennis Normandin 60 Edro Isle
Westminster, MA 01473
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 10.76 acre River Shores of Cocoa project site is located on the north corner of Dixon Blvd and Indian River Drive; Sections 21 and 22, Township 24 South, Range 36 East, in Brevard County, Florida. The site drains through a ditch outfall/structure to the Indian River Lagoon (Cape Canaveral Hydrologic Unit Code 03080202).
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Beachline (SR 528), proceed south on US 1 to Dixon Blvd; turn left and proceed 0.2 mile to the project site (north side of road).
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: residential construction.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the construction of single-family lots with associated drainage swales, dry retention area and utility improvements in Brevard County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The site is relatively flat and low-lying, at an elevation of 3-4 ft above sea level; soils are mapped as Anclote Sand (frequently flooded) and support freshwater wetlands that drain to the Indian River Lagoon. Vegetation is categorized based on Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification system (FLUCCS) (FDOT 1999), and include three communities: Brazilian Pepper (FLUCCS 4220), Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCCS 6170), and Exotic Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCCS 6190). Brazilian Pepper (FLUCCS 4220) includes a 0.7 acre upland area dominated by Brazilian pepper, cabbage palm and hackberry canopy. Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCCS 6170) include 2.1 acres dominated by American elm, pig nut hickory and
hackberry canopy species; understory vegetation includes Virginia chain fern, wild taro, Brazilian pepper and sunflower. Exotic Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCCS 6190) include a Brazilian pepper and cabbage palm dominated canopy; understory vegetation includes wax myrtle, Virginia chain fern, wild taro and lizard’s tail. Approximately 1.5 acres of the described areas are high quality wetlands with 3-6” of standing water and little understory vegetation. The hydrology is sustained by both water from an off-site artesian well and artesian water that boils to the surface in a deeper portion of the wetland. The wetland also receives drainage from Dixon Blvd. and areas upslope as far west as US 1, thereby providing some degree of water quality treatment prior to discharging to the Indian River Lagoon.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to fill 2.1 acres of waters of the United States by constructing seven single family lots with associated drainage swales, dry retention area and utility improvements.
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:
“There have been several site designs for this site in the 6 years it has taken to permit this project. The current design minimizes the required fill and provides both on site and off site mitigation for the proposed wetland impacts.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The mitigation proposed is both on-site and off-site as there is no known permitted wetland mitigation in the basin. In addition, up flow baffle boxes have been provided to remove nutrients form the stormwater before it discharges to the Indian River Lagoon both from the proposed subdivision and to retrofit Dixon Blvd.
On-site mitigation consists of 3.62 acres of enhancement. There is 2.54 acres of forested wetlands (FLUCCS Code 6107) to be enhanced by the eradication of the exotic invasive Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius). The enhancement of 1.08 acres of upland buffer (FLUCCS Code 4270) will be accomplished by the eradication of the exotic invasive Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).
Off-site enhancement area (approximately 4.00 acres) consists of a Hardwood-Conifer Mixed (FLUCCS – 4340; FNAI – Maritime Hammock) upland buffer and a Mangrove Swamp (FLUCCS – 6120; FNAI – Mangrove Swamp). The entire area is heavily infested with Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).”
A Cultural Resource Assessment Survey was completed June 2013. The Corps initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office on June 28, 2018.
The proposed activity is within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a wood stork rookery; the project supports marginally Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) for wood stork. Based on the Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida (dated September 2008), the Corps determination sequence was A>B>C>E = “may affect, not likely to adversely affect”. The determination is supported by SFH compensation provided within the service area of a mitigation bank which covers the CFA, and provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH; is not contrary to the Service’s Habitat Management Guidelines For The Wood Stork In The Southeast Region and in accordance with the CWA Section 404(b)(1) guidelines. The Corps has U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the Eastern Indigo Snake. Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key (dated January 25, 2010; August 13, 2013 Addendum), 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 protection construction.) >C (There are gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities.) >D (The project will impact less than 25 acres of xeric habitat supporting less than 25 active and inactive gopher tortoise burrows ) >E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow) = NLAA. The permittee agrees to use the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (dated August 12, 2013). If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work. The Corps has U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
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 proposal would impact approximately
2.1 acres of Mixed hardwood wetlands (FLUCCS 617) located in the St. Johns River watershed. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Indian River
Lagoon. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service. In response to a previous (July 3, 2012) public notice, National Marine Fisheries Service concluded the project may adversely impact 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 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, Jeffrey Collins, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at Jeffrey.S.Collins@usace.army.mil; by fax at
(321) 504-3803, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771 extension 13.
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.