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: Seminole Tribe of Florida
Cherise Maples, Director
Environmental Resource Management Department
6300 Stirling Road
Hollywood, FL 33024
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 671-acre Horseshoe Drainage Community Expansion project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Harney Pond Canal Hydrologic Unit (Hydrologic Unit Code 0309010303). The project is located off CR 721-A on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation in Section 26, Township 39 South, Range 32 East), Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 27.0731○
Basic: Drainage and home construction.
Overall: The overall purpose of this project is improved drainage, water quality treatment and residential home construction on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, Glades County, Florida.
HISTORY: The proposed action was previously authorized under a standard permit (SAJ-2006-02195), which expired February 29, 2013. No wetland fills were completed but a 5.24-acre compensatory mitigation area was constructed.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Seminole Tribe of Florida (Tribe) proposes to expand the 671-acre Horseshoe residential community by the construction of new residential lots, roads, drainage improvements and stormwater treatment system.
The entire 671-acre site will be subject to the stormwater management system. Drainage improvements will include the construction of new ditches within the Horseshoe Community to collect and convey stormwater runoff into the detention pond. The existing direct ditch connections have an invert elevation of 19.3 ft NGVD. The installation of a lift-pump to replace the direct ditch connections will have a normal drainage elevation of 19.5 ft NGVD, consistent with wetland resources within the project area. The lift pump will place the stormwater into the 69-acre detention pond for treatment where it flows through a structure to a separate 5.24-acre compensatory mitigation cell and out to the C-41 canal.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is characterized by land uses including low density residential, improved pasture, utilities, live oak, cabbage palm, hydric pine flatwoods, hydric pine savannah, freshwater marsh, and wet prairie. The drainage encompasses 671-acres, including 239.9-acres of wetlands and 431.1-acres of uplands.
PROPOSED WORK: The Tribe seeks authorization to place fill in 3.1-acres of waters of the United States (palustrine scrub shrub wetland) for the construction of homes, drainage features and stormwater treatment on Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, Glades County, Florida.
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 no action alternative would not allow for project completion. There are no upland sites available that would serve the project purpose. The applicant was not asked to explore avoidance alternatives since the action was previously authorized, and given the quality of the existing resource.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The 5.24-acre compensatory mitigation area was constructed. The cell is separate from the detention pond but receives outflows that provide a hydroperiod comparable to a freshwater marsh. The Tribe used the Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure to demonstrate the mitigation would provide a functional credit of 4.14 mitigation units. This is sufficient to offset the 2.07 functional debit realized through the proposed wetland impact.
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 Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The applicant indicated no federally listed plant species occur on the project site. The Corps has completed preliminary federally listed species affect determinations which include the following:
On 19 Dec 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) transmitted a Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO) to the Bureau of Indian Affairs based on a review of the potential effects of the STOF Wildlife Conservation Plan (WCP), Fire Management Plan, and Forest Management Plan (collectively called the 10-year Plan) and their effects on the species listed above in accordance with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531); 87 Stat. 884), as amended; the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 (BGEPA) (16 U.S.C. 668-668c), as amended; and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA), (16 U.S.C. 703-712; 40 Stat. 755) as amended. The BO covered development, land management, temporary construction, and maintenance activities on the Big Cypress, Brighton, Immokalee, and Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservations. The current project meets the Reasonable and Prudent Measures and Terms and Conditions of the Programmatic Biological Opinion BO, and the Corps determined the action may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” the following species:
Aububon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii)
Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus)
Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi)
Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus)
Red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides boerealis)
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
The Corps previously determined the project “may affect” the Florida panther (Puma [=Felis] concolor coryi) and initiated formal consultation with FWS by letter dated 6 June 2006. Based on the Tribe’s willingness to provide compensation for panther impacts, the Corps emailed the FWS with a revised determination of “may affect not likely to adversely affect” for Florida panther. On 9 January 2008, FWS provided concurrence for the Corps’ “may affect not likely to adversely affect” determinations for Florida panther. The Tribe previously deducted 164 PHUs from the panther compensation bank (located in the southwest corner of the Brighton Reservation) for impacts to panther habitat.
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 3.19 acres of freshwater wetlands and surface waters which ultimately discharge to Lake Okeechobee. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on downstream 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 (NMFS).
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.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification will be required from 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926, 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, Jeffrey S. Collins, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section (address above), by electronic mail at Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with USFWS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the NMFS, 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 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.
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.