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: Frank Castro
28224 SW 168th Court
Homestead, FL 33030-2047
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project site is an undeveloped lot and would affect waters of the United States associated with a manmade canal directly connected to Florida Bay. The project site is located at 35 Jean La Fitte Drive; legally described as Bk 1 Lt 9 Buccaneer Point Subdivision PB7-6, in Section 31, Township 61 South, Range 39 East, Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida 33042 (RE# 00496131-000900).
Directions to the site are as follows: Take U.S. 1 South to MM 99.5; turn right onto Gasparilla Drive; turn right onto Jean La Fitte Drive; project site is located on the left at 35 Jean La Fitte Drive (vacant lot).
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 25.084543°
Basic: The basic project purpose is to construct a single-family residence with associated infrastructure and water access.
Overall: The overall purpose is for the development of a single-family residence with water access in Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property is located within a partially developed subdivision of Key Largo. The property is situated between two developed lots, a paved road, and a canal that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The majority of the lot is jurisdictional and supports wetland vegetation, including a shoreline consisting of mature red mangroves. A portion of the property has been impacted by historical fill.
PROPOSED WORK: he applicant seeks authorization to place a total of 135.3 cubic yards of fill within a total of 10,230 square feet of jurisdictional wetlands for the construction of a single-family residence, pool, and associated appurtenances, to install a 4 foot wide by 19 foot long (76 square foot) concrete slab-on-grade water access walkway, and to install temporary floating turbidity barriers around all work areas that are in/over U.S. navigable waters.
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: Prior to the start of construction, turbidity curtains will be deployed to isolate the construction site from ambient waters. These will remain in place until all construction induced turbidity has subsided and water quality has returned to pre-construction conditions. A 2,370 square foot area of red mangrove wetland shoreline will be designated as an Avoided Wetland Area and avoided and preserved in perpetuity.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: If mitigation is required by the Army Corps of Engineers the appropriate mitigation will be determined with a UMAM and payment made to Keys Restoration Fund.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Potential impacts to the endangered West Indian manatee were evaluated using Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and the State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Manatee in Florida, April 2013 (Key). Use of the Key resulted in the sequence A (1), “no effect”, where no further consultation with the Service is necessary. This determination is based on no in-water work proposed. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, no further consultation with the Service is required.
In addition, the project is located within American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) critical habitat. According to the 28 October 2014 American Crocodile Key, the property does not support suitable nesting habitat for the crocodile as the shoreline consists of mature red mangroves. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence #2 may affect, not likely to adversely affect. Therefore, the Corps has reached a “may affect not likely to adversely affect” determination on the American crocodile and its suitable nesting habitat.
The real estate parcel number is 00496131-000900 and is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suitable Habitat List, dated August 2010, for Monroe County for the following species: the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi).
The subject parcel is listed on the FWS 2011 Suitable Habitat List for the Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Since critical habitat has not been designated for the indigo snake, potential impacts to D. c. couperi were evaluated using the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key dated 1 August 2017 (Snake Key). Due to the permit being conditioned for use of the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for The Eastern Indigo Snake during site preparation and project construction, use of the Snake Key resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D (1), “may affect but is not likely to adversely affect”. Therefore, pursuant to the Snake Key, no further consultation with the FWS is required.
Due to no in-water work included in the scope of work, the Corps has determined the proposed project will have “no effect” on the swimming green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and their critical habitat, hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), kemps ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) species. A no effect determination was also reached on smalltooth sawfish critical habitat, Acorpora sp. and its designated critical habitat and corals species; (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, Mycetophyllia ferox).
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 10,306 square feet of wetland shoreline utilized by various life stages of marine species. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Florida Keys. 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 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176 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, Jessica Hogan, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, Florida 33176; by electronic mail at Jessica.M.Hogan@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (305)779-6052.
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.