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: Ryan Zuckerman. RJH II, LLC
c/o Earth Tech Environmental, LLC
Attention: Jennifer Bobka
10600 Jolea Avenue
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Rookery Bay. The project site is located on the south side of Immokalee Road, east of Collier Boulevard, in Section 25, Township 48 South, Range 26 East, Collier County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.269988º
DIRECTIONS TO THE SITE: Take I-75 to Exit 111. Head east on Immokalee Road past Collier Boulevard. The project site is located approximately 1.90 miles east of Collier Boulevard on the south side of Immokalee Road. Turn right (south) on Richards Street, off of Immokalee Road. The parcel abuts the west side of Richards Street.
Overall: Construct a single family residential community with preserve areas, access roads, driveways, designed stormwater management systems, and other associated infrastructure east of Naples, Collier County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property is forested, consisting of wetlands and upland habitats. The site contains a variety of native and non-native vegetation. Native plant species at the site include slash pine (Pinus elliottii), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), red maple (Acer rubrum) and oak (Quercus spp.). Nonnative plant species at the site include earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), and Java plum (Syzygium cumini). The nonnative species are intermixed to varying degrees with the native species in both wetland and upland areas.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to clear, grade, excavate, dredge and fill in wetlands to construct and maintain a residential development. The proposal would excavate and dredge approximately 37,945 cubic yards of native materials from approximately 2.95 acres of wetlands. The native materials and another 82,038 of cubic yards fill will be discharged into approximately 20.50 acres of wetlands.
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 avoid and minimize direct impacts to the higher quality wetlands and limit impacts to the lower quality, exotic infested wetlands.
Approximately 7.23± acres of the existing wetlands will be enhanced and preserved onsite, as well as 0.14± acres of uplands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The proposed compensatory mitigation would occur both onsite and offsite. The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to purchase of 9.90 credits from a Corps approved mitigation bank that provides service to the area in which the project site is located in. The project would also enhance and preserve 7.09± acres of wetlands and 0.14± acres of uplands on the site.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is unaware of any known historic properties within the permit area. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the area under review by the Corps, for this proposal.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project site is located in an area where the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), an ESA listed species, may occur. Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, as amended 2013, the proposed work key’s as follows: (A., B., C., D., E.) If a DA permit is issued for this application, the Eastern Indigo Snake Protection Measure would be incorporated into that permit. Therefore, the Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (MANLAA) the indigo snake and no further consultation action is required with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for this determination.
The project site contains suitable foraging habitat for the wood stork (Mycteria americana) and is within wood stork core foraging areas (CFA). In accordance with the South Florida Programmatic Wood Stork Key the proposal keys as follows: A., B., C., E. The Corps determined the project MANLAA the wood stork and no further consultation with the FWS is required for this determination.
The project site is within a FWS designated consultation area for the caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii).The project site is not in proximity to any known caracara nest or roosting sites. The Corps preliminary determination is that the project MANLAA the caracara and the Corps will request concurrence from the FWS for this determination.
The project site is located within a FWS designated consultation area for the Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus). The project site does not contain FWS designated snail kite critical habitat and is not within a Priority Management Zone for the snail kite. The Corps preliminary determination is that the project MANLAA the snail kite and the Corps will request concurrence from the FWS for this determination.
The project site is located within a FWS designated consultation area for the red-cockaded woodpecker [(RCW) Piciodes borealis] an ESA listed species. No known RCW nest are within or in proximity to the project site. The Corps preliminary determination is that the proposal MANLAA the RCW and the Corps will request concurrence from the FWS for this determination.
The project site is within FWS designated Focus Areas for the Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi). Use of the Florida Panther Effect Determination Key (February 19, 2007) the proposal keyed as follows: A., B., project is greater than one acre and will have a net increase in vehicle traffic patterns resulting in a “may affect” determination for the panther. Pursuant to Section 7 of ESA the Corps will request the FWS to initiate formal consultation (for this species), via a separate letter.
The project site is within a FWS designated Focal Area for the Florida bonneted bat [FBB (Eumops floridanus)]. Due to the location of the site, the footprint of the proposal, and the habitat types to be impacted he Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect” the FBB. Pursuant to Section 7 of ESA the Corps will request the FWS to initiate formal consultation (for this species), via a separate letter.
NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. All the information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional line has been preliminarily verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or the South Florida Water Management District.
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 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, Robert Tewis, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919, by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975 x-0012.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. Coordination with the FWS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other Federal, State, and local resource 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.
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.