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: Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) - District 7
Attn: Virginia Creighton
11201 North McKinley Drive
Tampa, FL 33612
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Bayou Branch. The project site is located south of the existing State Road (SR) 52 from Bayou Branch to Curley Road in Sections 10 and 11, Township 25 South, Range 20 East, Pasco County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-75 exit 285 east on to SR 52 and travel east to Curley Road. Follow Curley Road south to McCabe Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.324631°
Basic: Road improvements.
Overall: Construction of capacity, alignment, and safety improvements for an existing roadway, SR 52 in central Pasco County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems consist of freshwater wet prairies. The onsite vegetation consists of dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), dollarweed (Hydrocotle sp.), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomerats), Peruvian primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana), coastalplain willow (Salix caroliniana), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), bulrush (Scirpus spp.), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), smartweed (Polygonum hydropiperoides), Chinese tallowtree (Triadica sebifera), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), and maidencane (Panicum hemitomon). The existing area surrounding the project area consists of agricultural land.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to expand and realign a segment of State Road 52. The project would directly impact 2.03 acres and indirectly impact 0.53 acre of jurisdictional waters of the United States. The existing SR 52 is primarily a 2 lane undivided rural roadway between its intersection with Interstate 75 (SR 93) and US 301. The proposed typical section includes a 4 lane suburban typical section from Bayou Branch to County Road (CR) 577 (Curley Road) with a depressed grass median, sidewalk on one side, and shared use path on the other. The typical section has 11’ lanes, 7’ buffered bike lanes, and a 45-55 miles per hour design speed. The stormwater management systems would utilize ponds to meet the Southwest Florida Water Management District permitting requirements for treatment, attenuation and floodplain compensation.
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:
This project is in conformance with Executive Order 11990. Wetland impacts have been considered throughout the planning, evaluation, and design of this project. The Pasco County Route Study resulted in a preferred alignment that emphasizes existing roads, right of ways, and safety concerns while also avoiding conflicts with local comprehensive plans and Williams Cemetery.
The siting and design of stormwater management facilities and floodplain compensation sites also reflects avoidance and minimization of wetland impacts. FDOT conducted hydro-biological evaluation of wetland seasonal high-water levels (SHWL) and geotechnical investigation of seasonal high groundwater levels. All stormwater management facilities are set with the control elevation at or above nearby wetland SHWL to avoid drainage gradients that would dewater wetlands.
The project would be constructed in accordance with the Clean Water Action Section 404 water quality certification and BMPs would be implemented during construction to avoid water quality degradation. Construction impacts to wetlands and surface waters would be minimized through the implementation of FDOT’s standard measures for the prevention, control and abatement of erosion and water pollution (Section 104 of Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction). This includes development and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan; submittal and SWFWMD pre-construction review of the contractor’s Erosion Control Plan; installation of temporary and permanent erosion control features; construction protocols to minimize siltation of surface waters; and installation and maintenance of turbidity controls.
As a result of the wetland impact avoidance and minimization process and procedures described above, this project would impact 2.03 acres of wetlands and surface waters to include 1.01 ac from work zone impacts involving no fill or excavation activities with minimal functional loss. Based on the above considerations, there are no practicable alternatives to the proposed construction in wetlands and the proposed action includes all practicable measures to minimize harm to wetlands that may result from proposed roadway construction.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The purpose of wetland mitigation is to comply with agency regulatory requirements to provide compensation for wetland impacts by restoring, creating, enhancing, and/or preserving wetlands. Mitigation for unavoidable wetland impacts totaling 2.03 acres and 0.63 UMAM units for jurisdictional wetlands associated with this project will be provided via purchase of credits at Boarshead Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By letter dated June 19, 2006 from the State Historic Preservation Office (DHR No. 2006-4401), review of the Florida Master Site File indicated that no significant archaeological or historical resources are recorded within the project areas. In addition, because of the location and/or nature of the projects it is unlikely that any such site will be affected.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana) and eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) or their designated critical habitat. The Corps utilized programmatic keys to make the determinations and FDOT has provided a concurrence letter, dated April 17, 2017, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) and red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and their designated critical habitat. The habits present along the project corridor are not suitable nesting or foraging habitats for the species. FDOT provided a concurrence letter, dated April 17, 2017, from USFWS for this determination.
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 Panama City Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405 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, Mrs. Lisa S. Lovvorn, in writing at the Panama city Permits Section, 1002 West 23rd Street, Suite 350, Panama City, Florida 32405; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (850) 872-0231 or, by telephone at (850) 763-0717, extension 27.
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.