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: Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority
Attn: Michael Powell
355 Golden Knights Blvd.
Titusville, Florida 32780
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Banana River. The project site is located at the Merritt Island Airport, 900 Airport Road, Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida. The Airport is located in Sections 01 and 13, Township 25 South, Range 36 East and Section 18, Township 18 South, Range 37 East.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of State Road (SR) 3 and SR 520 proceed south on SR 3 approximately 1.2 miles to Airport Road. Turn east on Airport Road and proceed to the Merritt Island Airport.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Stormwater Management
Overall: Create a new wet stormwater management system within the Merritt Island Airport.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area currently supports several different land use types/vegetative communities typically associated with airports. These include both upland and freshwater wetland systems. The project area consists of mowed maintained herbaceous cover that is part of the COI airfield; an existing ditch adjacent to south side of Manor Drive; an existing dry pond on the southwest corner of the intersection of Manor drive and Kemp Street; a wetland, labeled Wetland A, that is located north of north of Taxiway B and south of Wall Street; and a wet swale, labeled Surface Water B, that is located between Taxiway B and Runway 11-29.
Wetland A is a wide, shallow, wet stormwater management pond oriented northwest to southeast along the north side of Taxiway B, with the ponded southeast end adjacent to the fringe of mangroves that grows along the shore of Newfound Harbor/Sykes Creek. To the northwest, Wetland A is bisected by a grassed vehicle access path. The wetland transitions from ponded to a grassy swale at the vehicle access path. The grassy swale transitions back to shallow ponded again at its far northwestern end.
The plant community in Wetland A is dominated by obligate wetland plant species including leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium), sea ox-eye (Borrichia frutescens), coastal salt grass (Distichlis spicata), marsh-pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), seaside club-rush (Schoenoplectus robustus), and southern cattail (Typha domingensis).
Surface Water B is a narrow, shallow linear stormwater management ditch that parallels the south side of Taxiway B in a northwest to southeast orientation, with the southeast end connecting to the wetland riparian fringe around the Newfound Harbor shoreline via a culvert under Taxiway B. This area but does not appear to dry down effectively following rain events. The area gradually transitions from ponded at the southeast end to a grassy dry ditch at its northwest end.
The plant community in Surface Water B is dominated by hairy beggarticks (Bidens pilosa), tickseed (Coreopsis sp.), coastal salt grass, marsh-pennywort, blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium sp.), seaside club-rush, and southern cattail.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to permanently dredge and fill 1.74 acres of waters of the United States (wetlands) and 0.64 acre of surface waters to construct a permitted stormwater management system to serve the Merritt Island Airport.
The proposed activities include regrading of two existing dry retention ponds near the corner of Manor Dr. and Kemp St. to form one larger dry pond, regrading of the west end of Wetland A to form a dry retention pond, construction of two dry retention ponds at the location of existing ditches between the Runway and Taxiway B (impacting Surface Water B), and construction of a new 3.2 acre wet stormwater retention pond in the remainder of Wetland A and extending into existing adjacent uplands on Merritt Island Airport property.
The project is intended to improve water quality treatment of stormwater runoff from Merritt Island Airport and to provide stormwater treatment capacity for future development at the airport. The wetland that will be impacted to construct the wet stormwater pond receives stormwater from the airport. Based on a review of historical aerial photography this wetland area was a manmade canal or ditch that has become partially obstructed over time due to shifting of sediments during storm events. At one time it was used as a stormwater pond but was unmaintained and the old control structure no longer functions properly. The proposed project includes construction of an expanded wet stormwater pond in this area with a water control structure to better treat the runoff that is drained to the new pond. The swale is being regraded so that it better allows stormwater to percolate for treatment. Currently this manmade swale retains some water between storm events.
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: Due to the nature of the project and the degree of existing development on and surrounding Merritt Island Airport there is no other location to construct the stormwater pond so avoidance of wetland impact is not possible.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The project is a water quality project that will minimize the sediment and pollutant load of stormwater being discharged to Newfound Harbor by providing storage and treatment of stormwater collected during rain events. Because the project is intended to provide water quality improvement, no other compensation is proposed at this time. The wetland area that will be impacted will be expanded, so, as an incidental consequence, habitat functions provided by the existing wetland will be replaced by the new stormwater pond.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork and eastern indigo snake. The proposed action would have no effect to any designated critical habitat.
The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the August 13, 2013 updated addendum to the January 2010 North and South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Eastern Indigo Snake. Use of the Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake resulted in the following sequential determination: 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 no gopher tortoise burrows or other refugia.) = Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA) with the applicant adherence to the standard protection measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Eastern Indigo Snake no further coordination is required.
The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the September 2008, North and Central Peninsular Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork. Use of the Key for the Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (Project is more than 2500 feet from a colony site.) > B (Project impacts SFH) >C (Impacts to SFH are greater than 0.5 acres) >D (Project impacts to SFH are within a Core Foraging Area.) >E (project consists of SFH compensation within the CFA consisting of enhancement, restoration or creation in a project phased approach that provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH (see Wood Stork Foraging Habitat Assessment Procedure6 for guidance), 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) = NLAA. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
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 1.7 acres of wetlands surface waters which may contribute detrital material to federally managed species in the Banana River. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Banana 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 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida, 32926, by electronic mail at email@example.com, by fax at (321)504-3803, or by telephone at (321)504-3771 extension 14.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.