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: Stratton Associates, LLC/Grafton Associates, LLC.
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Henderson Creek/Rookery Bay. The project site is located on the south side of Tamiami Trail and west of Collier Boulevard, in Section 33, Township 50 South, Range 26 East, Collier County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-75 to Exit 101. Head south on Collier Boulevard and then west on Tamiami Trail East. The project site is located approximately 0.70 miles northwest of Collier Boulevard on the south side of the road between Renaissance Aesthetic Dentistry and Habitat Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.06910833◦
Basic: Commercial facility development.
Overall: Construct a commercial storage facility in Collier County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property is currently uncleared and wooded, consisting primarily of wetlands and isolated upland communities. The existing wetland area is not encumbered by a Conservation Easement. Current access to the property is off of Habitat Road to the northwest, and from the Renaissance Aesthetic Dentistry parking lot to the southeast.
A total of three (3) vegetation associations and land uses (i.e., FLUCFCS codes) were identified on the property. The majority of the site contains wetland habitats, which are heavily inundated with exotic vegetation. Small, isolated, upland communities exist primarily in the eastern portion of the property with low levels of exotic vegetation. Exotic vegetation infestation, primarily old-world climbing fern, earleaf acacia and Brazilian pepper exceeds 50 percent in most of the native wetland habitat area.
Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS Code 411 E1 through E2, 0-50% Exotics); Cypress-Pine-Cabbage Palm (FLUCFCS Codes 624 E3, 51-75% Exotics); and Disturbed Land (FLUCFCS Code 740).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a commercial storage facility that will require the discharge of dredged or fill material of 60 percent (3.99± acres) of the total wetlands on-site. The remaining 40 percent of the existing wetlands will be preserved onsite.
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 site plan was designed taking appropriate and practicable steps to minimize wetland impacts. The applicant considered several design alternatives to minimize wetland impacts. The design of the site plan included appropriate and practicable steps to minimize (i.e., avoid) impacts to the higher quality wetlands and limit impacts to the lower quality, exotic infested wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – All mitigation will occur both onsite and offsite. The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
In order to offset the loss of wetland functions due to the Project’s proposed construction activities, the wetland mitigation plan consists of offsite mitigation through the purchase of 1.10 credits from an approved offsite mitigation bank. The project proposes to preserve 2.67± acres of wetlands and 0.64± acres of uplands on the site.
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.
The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with the following determinations pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act:
The Corps has made the determination of not likely to adversely affect for the eastern indigo snake and its designated critical habitat. The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2017 (Indigo Snake Key). Use of the Eastern Indigo Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A-B-C-D-NLAA. This determination is based on the applicant following Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, August 2013.
The Corps has made the determination of no effect for the wood stork. The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Florida, May 2010 (Wood Stork Key). Use of the Wood Stork Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A-B-C-D-no effect. The project does not lie within or near any colony sites or SFH.
The Corps has determined the project would have no effect on the scrub jay or its critical habitat. The project lies within the consultation area for the scrub jay, but the habitat type within the project site is not preferable for the species. The applicant provided a survey memo indicating no species were observed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has completed an evaluation of the impacts the work may have on the Florida Panther. The Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Panther Effect Determination Key, February 19, 2007 (Panther Key). Use of the Panther Key resulted in the following sequential determination A>B-no effect since the project is located in an “other area”. Based on information available from a variety of sources, including the applicant plans, the project location in an already existing residential area, and the fact that it does not significantly increase traffic patterns, our initial determination is the project has no effect the Florida Panther.
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/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 District Engineer through the 1520 Royal Palm Square, Suite 310, Ft. Myers, Florida 33919 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, Allison C. Murphy, in writing at the Ft. Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Ft. Myers, Florida, 33919; by electronic mail at Allison.C.Murphy@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239)334-0797; or, by telephone at (239)334-1975 ext. 0008.
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.