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) and as described below:
Mr. Alexander A. Pezeshkam
3500 Corporate Plaza Property Owners Association
1500 5th Avenue South #111
Naples, Florida 34102
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Golden Gate Canal/Kensington Canal. The project site is located at 3500 Corporate Plaza (formally known as Pine Ridge Center) on Kraft Road, which is west of Interstate-75 (I-75) and approximately ½-mile west on the south side of Pine Ridge Road, in Section 18, Township 49S, Range 26E, in Naples, Collier County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75, take Exit #107 and go west approximately ½-mile on Pine Ridge Road. Take a left turn onto Kraft Road and the proposed project location is at the southwest corner of the property adjacent to the Kraft Office Center buildings.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.209049/Longitude -81.747163
Basic: Parking facility.
Overall: To create additional parking for 3500 Corporate Plaza (formally known as Pine Ridge Center), Naples, in Collier County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a 0.42-acre freshwater system. The on-site vegetation consists of Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Slash pine (Pinus elliotti), Cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) and herbaceous vegetation such as Spartina grasses and various fern species. The area surrounding the project consists of developed commercial land located in the urban area.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill approximately 0.42-acre of palustrine forested wetlands to construct an elevated parking lot to serve 3500 Corporate Plaza located on Kraft Road, Naples, Collier County, Florida. The wetlands to be impacted are preserved wetlands, so the required compensatory mitigation will be provided via the purchase of 0.84 federal wetland credits from the Panther Island Mitigation Bank.
BACKGROUND: A DA standard permit authorization (SAJ-2004-05814) was issued on 22 August 2005 for the construction of the Pine Ridge Center, which resulted in the discharge of fill material and permanent loss of 0.54-acre of disturbed freshwater-forested wetlands and 0.23-acre of other waters of the US. The purpose of this discharge was for the construction of a commercial development on a 17.09-acre parcel. The permittee provided off-site compensatory mitigation via of the purchase of 0.85 freshwater-forested wetland mitigation credits from the Panther Island Mitigation Bank. The permittee also constructed a preservation area, which consisted of 0.42-acre of wetlands and 0.21-acre of upland buffer and secured this area under a required conservation easement. This preservation area is now proposed to be permanently impacted with the proposed parking structure construction. This area is currently being used as a stormwater management area as well as serving as preservation for previous impacts.
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 existing parcel is an existing commercial development. Population and economic growth has necessitated the expansion of the parking lot. The parcel is located in an urban area. Expansion of a parking lot limits alternative choices. The alternative would be to purchase land away from this campus and provide shuttle service, which would not be a preferred option.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Compensatory mitigation will be fulfilled at an approved mitigation bank. The applicant will purchase 0.84 federal freshwater-forested credits to offset any impacts at Panther Island Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected. The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. 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 coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the following species: Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) and Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) or any of these species’ designated critical habitat. The Corps has requested U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) - The project is located within the consultation area of Florida bonneted bat (FBB). Potential impacts to the FBB were evaluated using the 2013 FBB consultation guidelines key, the project keys out 1>2>a>May Affect, not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA) because the project is located outside of the FBB Focal Areas, but within the overall consultation area and is less than 5-acres and does not include potential roost sites. The Corps has initially determined that the proposed project, may affect, but will not likely adversely affect (MANLAA) the FBB. The Corps has already initiated informal consultation and requested concurrence with this MANLAA determination from the USFWS pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA.
Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) – This project is located with the Red Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) consultation area. Habitat for the RCW south of Long-leaf pine range (roughly a line from Fort Myers to Vero Beach) includes slash pine and as well mixed pine/cypress habitats, cypress heads, and very young pine habitats in south Florida. The project site includes such habitats, so the Corps has determined that the project may effect, but is not likely to adversely affect the RCW. The Corps has initially determined that the proposed project, may affect, but will not likely adversely affect (MANLAA) the FBB. The Corps has already initiated informal consultation and requested concurrence with this MANLAA determination from the USFWS pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect or is not likely to adversely affect (NLAA) with no further required consultation on the following listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat: Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi), Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), and Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana). The Corps no effect determinations for these species are as follows:
Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) - Use of the July 2017 Revised Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A>B>C>D>NLAA with no further consultation with USFWS is necessary for the effects of the proposed action on the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). This determination is based on the project’s impacts to less than 25 acres of eastern indigo snake potential habitat, the site having no known active or inactive gopher tortoise burrows, and the applicant’s willingness to adhere to the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake during site preparation and project construction.
Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) – The project is located with the Florida Scrub-Jay consultation area. Based on field observations by the applicant’s agent, no individual scrub-jays were observed within the project area but the site does support suitable scrub habitat, with a mixture of slash pine and invasive species with a sparse understory. Due to the project’s location within a highly developed commercial/urban area and the small size of the remaining natural areas on-site (<0.50-acres), the Corps has determined that the project will have no effect on the scrub-jay and no further consultation will be conducted.
Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana) - The project is located within wood stork colonies buffer areas but does the site support suitable foraging habitat. The project area supports non-tidal scrub-shrub wetlands that area surrounded by commercial development, the area is currently used as a stormwater treatment pond, and does not support aquatic prey species typically foraged by the wood stork. The wood stork key outlined in the USFWS May 18, 2010 South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Letter was used to conduct a sequential effect determination for the species. Use of the key resulted in the following determination: A>B>NLAA. With the outcome of NLAA as outlined in the key and since the project has less than 0.20 hectares (0.50-acre) of impacts, the requirements of Section 7 are fulfilled for the wood stork and no further consultation with USFWS is required.
The Corps has determined that the project will have no effect to ESA listed species under the jurisdiction of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), as this project is not located near or adjacent to any tidal of freshwater waterways that could support 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 not impact essential fish habitat, as it is located inland and not adjacent to any tidal waterways. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have no effect on EFH or federally managed fisheries. 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 been verified by Corps personnel, as this area is an existing conservation easement area associated with a previous DA permit authorization.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 within 21 days from the date of this notice (i.e. August 27, 2018).
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, Katy Damico, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919; by electronic mail at Katy.R.Damico@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at (813) 769-7076.
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.