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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: New Leaf Communities, LLC
Attn: Mr. John H. Latshaw
4348 Southpoint Boulevard, Suite 210
Jacksonville, Florida 32216
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Peters Creek. The project site is located at 1610 County Road 315B in Sections 29 and 32, Township 5 South, Range 26 East, Green Cove Springs, Clay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 337 and head West towards the town of Orange Park. Proceed until Exit 10 and head South towards the town of Green Cove Springs. Proceed until the intersection of Russell Road and US Highway 17 and turn right. Proceed for 1-mile and the project site is on the right side of County Road 315B
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.025835°
Basic: The basic project purpose is single-family residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is a single-family residential development in east-central Clay County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a 7.68 freshwater or system. The onsite vegetation includes slash pine (Pinus elliottii), black gum (Nyssa aquatica), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), red maple (Acer rubrum), fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and netted chainfern (Woodwardia aerolata) . The existing area surrounding the project area consists of pine and mesic oak habitat. The onsite vegetation includes slash pine, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), live oak (Quercus virginiana), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), water oak (Quercus nigra), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into 2.97 acres of forested-freshwater wetlands to facilitate the construction of a single-family residential development.
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:
“Wetlands of below average quality make up proposed 2.73 acres of proposed wetlands impacts (Impacts B, C, and D). Wetlands of average to above average quality make up proposed 0.24-acres of proposed wetlands impacts (Impact A). Considering the wetlands location, hydrology, and wildlife function, it is our opinion the value and function the on-site wetlands provide to the surrounding area should be considered moderate to low. Wetland impacts to the main linear system have been minimized to include only those necessary for the entrance road crossing and a few small impacts to odd shaped areas along the upper fringe. Wetland impacts to the low-quality wetlands will result mostly from the construction of residential lots and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, project has been designed to avoid and minimize impacts to higher quality, stream wetland system. For the project to work financially, the Applicant needs to net 53 lots. Due to the narrow margin associated with this project, the loss of even one lot would render the project unfeasible.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The Applicant proposes to purchase 1.51 UMAM based credits from Greens Creek Mitigation Bank.”
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 has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical 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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in Peters Creek, Black Creek, nor the St. Johns 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/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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019 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, Brad Carey, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405.
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.