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):
APPLICANT: Mr. Anthony Chiofalo
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc.
14400 Covenant Way
Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect wetlands and waters of the United States associated with unnamed tributaries to the Upper Braden River and Cow Pen Slough. The project site is located on the south side of State Road 70, approximately 6.9 miles east of Interstate-75; in Sections 25 and 36, Township 35 South, Range 19 East, Manatee County, Florida
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 in Bradenton, take exit 213 onto University Parkway and go east for approximately 5.93 miles, turn left on Ganton Avenue and go approximately 0.2 miles to the southern terminus of Bourrneside Boulevard., within Section 36, Township 35 South, Range 19 East, Manatee County, Florida. The start of the proposed roadway for the “Bourneside Boulevard South Phase II” project area is at the intersection of Masters Avenue and Bourneside Boulevard South Phase I and extends south for approximately 4,855 linear feet.
Latitude 27.402443° Latitude 27.389300º
Longitude -82.354012° Longitude -82.353209º
Overall: Construct a roadway known as Bourneside Boulevard South to facilitate access to residential communities in the Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch area. Completing the connection between The Masters Avenue and University Parkway.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The +/- 29.7 acre project area includes abandoned row crop lands, a small forested area, cleared improved pastures, and agricultural (surface water) ditches.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact 1.4 acres of ditches. The impacts are associated with the road construction and roadway infrastructure.
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 design of the roadway does not allow for the complete avoidance of impacts to the waters on site and requires that surface water ditches be impacted. Unavoidable impacts to the waters are the result of Manatee County's pre-determined alignment for the Bourneside Boulevard extension. Project design efforts eliminated wetland impacts and minimized impacts to 1.4 acres of surface waters within the project area.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Development of the roadway project will result in the loss of a total of 1.4 acres of surface waters. A series of agricultural ditches are located throughout the projects roadway alignment which are used to manage water tables and manage irrigation requirements for agricultural purposes. These upland cut drainage features have an intermittent hydrology, subject to rainfall, fluctuations in water table, and the receiving surface water runoff which drains to them. Due to the de minimis nature of the proposed surface water impacts, no mitigation is proposed.”
The applicant volunteered the following information; “An inquiry to the Division of Historical Resources (DHR) was initiated to determine if any sites of historical or archaeological significance may be located within the project area. A response from the Florida Master Site File on February 27, 2018 revealed that no historical or archaeological sites are located within the project area. As the project area is not known to contain any sites of historical or archaeological importance, is subject to intensive ongoing agricultural activities and does not contain and is not adjacent to any lakes, it is highly unlikely that this site would contain any of these resources. However, if artifacts of potential historical or archaeological significance are revealed during construction activities, DHR will be notified immediately.“
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.
Eastern Indigo Snake: The snake occurs in a range of habitats, including pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, dry prairie, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, and human-altered habitats. During the field reviews no eastern indigo snakes were observed within or adjacent to the project area. Wherever the snake occurs in xeric habitat it is closely associated with the Gopher Tortoise. The burrows of which provide underground refugia. There were no Gopher Tortoise or burrows observed during the site visit. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake. This determination was made using the 2013 Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary. A Special Condition will be made part of the permit that the standard guidelines for the protection of Eastern Indigo snake will be followed at all times during site construction.
Wood Stork: The wood stork normally an inhabitant of pristine swamp lands, wood storks often forage in shallow rural ditches and ponds. No wood storks were observed during the site visit. There is one (1) wood stork rookery whose CFA overlap the project area, the Ayers Point-Dot Dash rookery (Atlas No. 615113) is located 10.66 miles west-northwest of the project at the mouth of the Braden River. The impacts are not anticipated to significantly reduce suitable foraging habitat within the project area. Additionally, it is likely that the stormwater management ponds and floodplain compensation areas being created as a part of the project will replace any marginal foraging areas lost by proposed impacts. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork. This determination was made using the 2008 Wood Stork Key for Central and North Peninsular Florida. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Florida Grasshopper sparrow: This subspecies of grasshopper sparrow is endemic to the dry prairie of central and southern Florida. This subspecies is extremely habitat specific and relies on fire every two to three years to maintain its habitat. The FWS listed the Florida grasshopper sparrow because of habitat loss and degradation resulting from conversion of native vegetation to improved pasture and agriculture.
The Corps has determined the project will have no effect on the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.
Audubon’s Crested Caracara - The site is within the consultation area for caracaras. Crested Caracara is a resident of the prairies and range lands of south-central Florida. The crested caracara generally inhabits wet prairies with cabbage palms. It may also be found in lightly wooded areas with saw palmetto, cypress, and scrub oaks.This species is most abundant in a six-county area north and west of Lake Okeechobee (DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Okeechobee and Osceola counties). During a recent field review no evidence of Crested Caracara was observed on or in immediate proximity to the property. This project site is located about 2-miles east of the outer edge of the consultation area. Additionally the subject site generally lacks the nesting/foraging habitat type preferred by Caracara. In consideration of the above information, the project agent determined that it is highly unlikely that this species occurs on the subject property. Therefore, potential for caracaras nesting on this site is low. The Corps has made the determination that the proposed project would have no effect on the caracara and no further consultation with the USFWS is necessary.
The Florida Scrub-Jay: Scrub-Jays inhabit sand pine and xeric oak scrub, and scrubby flatwoods, which occur in some of the highest and driest areas of Florida – ancient sandy ridges that run down the middle of the state, old sand dunes along the coasts, and sandy deposits along rivers in the interior of the state. Scrub-jays do best in areas that contain large quantities of oak shrubs. The primary threats to the Florida scrub-jay are habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation from development and agriculture. Much of the scrub-jay's habitat has been altered for agricultural lands and development. Based on onsite habitat the Corps has made the determination that the proposed project would have no effect on the Florida Scrub Jay and no further consultation with the USFWS is necessary.
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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact 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 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palms Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 36610 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, Peter Romano, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palms Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 36610; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7072.
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.