Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

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SAJ-2007-05252 (SP-JSC)

Published Aug. 3, 2018
Expiration date: 8/18/2018

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:

c/o David Pace
1 Equestrian Drive
Orlando, Florida 32836

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 1,543-acre ± acre Grand Cypress project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Upper Kissimmee River Basin (Hydrologic Unit Code 0309010105). The project site is located in Sections 5, 8, 9, 16,
17, 20, and 21, Township 24 South, Range 28 East, Orange County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Exit I-4 on CR 535 North, then proceed west. Access is via private gates at either Grand Cypress Boulevard on the south or at Jacaranda on the north.


Latitude 28.40999º
Longitude -81.52014º


Basic: commercial development.

Overall: The overall project purpose is commercial resort facility construction on the Grand Cypress project site, Orange County, Florida.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Corps previously issued a Standard Permit (SP) (SAJ-2007-5252) on February 27, 2009. The permit authorized impacts to a portion of W2 (0.01 acre) and W5 (4.58 acres). On-site mitigation required upland buffer planting and maintenance to reduce nuisance/exotic vegetation. The onsite mitigation plan included 704.90 acres of wetlands and 9.44 acres of upland buffers to be placed in a Conservation Easement (CE). The CE was recorded in favor of South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on January 6, 2012. A permit modification was issued on January 30, 2014, which extended the construction authorization to January 30, 2016. The permit subsequently expired without completion of the originally authorized work.


The project vicinity consists of commercial sites, tourist attractions and roadways. Existing development on the project site includes resort and golf course land uses. The project site includes approximately 710.58 acres of wetlands that are abutting (i.e., continuously connected to) Lake Sheen, a traditional navigable water. There are an additional 6.62 acres of wetlands (W1 and W7-W9) considered isolated, and therefore not within Corps jurisdiction. Wetland communities include ditches, bay swamps, mixed wetland hardwoods, wetland coniferous forests, cypress, hydric pine flatwoods, wetland forested mixed, freshwater marshes and emergent aquatic vegetation.

W5 is a cypress and hydric pine wetland, largely surrounded by development, with a culvert connection under CR 535. Vegetation includes slash and pond pine, cypress, dahoon, scattered bays, Chinese tallowtree, Chinaberry, primrose willow and airpotato. The wetland hydroperiod has been impacted by surrounding development and alterations to the contributing basin.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 5.33 acres of waters of the United States for construction of a hotel, golf course facilities, and an internal connector road.

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:

“Impacts to existing wetlands within the Site are unavoidable, given the extent and configuration of the wetlands on the Site and the Overall Project Purpose. The WOUS, which will unavoidably be impacted by the completion of this project, include primarily fill impacts to the degraded portions of Cypress (621), Hydric Pine Flatwoods (625), and Wetland Forested Shrub (630) wetlands.”

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

“The 0.74 acre of permanent impact for the internal connector road was mitigated through the purchase of 0.3 credit from Crosby Island Marsh Mitigation Bank on May 1, 2014 as required by the previous permit modification. Mitigation for the proposed wetland impacts has been provided through on-site preservation of 704.90 acres of wetlands and 9.44 acres of upland buffer (Wetland 2, Wetland 3, and Wetland 10). A CE for the on-site mitigation areas was recorded on January 6, 2012, which was originally permitted to offset the proposed 4.59 acres of jurisdictional wetland impact.”

Assessment Area ID Flo1ida Land Use, Cover and Forms
Classification System Code
Functional Loss
W5 Cypress (621) and Hydric Pine Flatwoods (625) 4.58 -0.67 -3.05 On-site
W2 Wetland Forested Slnub (630) 0.01 -0.53 -0.005 On-site
W3 Cypress (621) and Hydric Pine Flatwoods (625) 0.74 0.41 -0.30 CIMM
Totals 5.33 - -3.355


A report titled Cultural Resource Reconnaissance Assessment of Grand Cypress Property Orange County, Florida was provided to the Division of Historical Resources on January 15, 2008 . No historic properties were identified within the permit area. The Corps is reviewing the report and, by copy of this public notice, is providing information for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.


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.

The project is within the Consultation Area for Florida scrub jay and Everglades Snail Kite. Based on existing habitat types, the Corps preliminarily determined the project will have no effect on these 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 proposal would impact approximately
5.33 acres of forested wetlands located in the headwaters of the Kissimmee River. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Kissimmee River. 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.

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 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, Jeffrey Collins, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926; by electronic mail at; 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.