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: Lennar Homebuilders
Attn: Greg McPherson
730 NW 107th Ave. STE 300
Miami, FL 33172
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Cypress Creek canal. The project is located on an undeveloped 151 acre parcel (PCN: 504126530020-0010-0030, at the intersection of Sample and Banks Road, Coconut Creek (Section 18, Township 48 South, Range 42 East), Broward County Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Florida Turnpike, exit on Sample Road and head west 2 miles. Turn north on Lyons Road. The entrance to the site is on the west side of Lyons Road, approximately 0.40 miles from the intersection of Sample Road and Lyons Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic overall project purpose is the construction of a residential community.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the construction of a residential community in Coconut Creek, Broward County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area consists of a 151 acre undeveloped parcel characterized as urban farm land that contains an active agricultural operation involving row crops with agricultural irrigation/drainage ditches and an entrained cypress and exotic tree dominated forested wetland in the northern portion of the property. The site consist of 27.5 acres of surface waters (of agricultural ditches), 13.24 acres of wetlands (4.1 acres of exotic wetland (Brazilian pepper) and 9.14 acres of cypress wetland), and 3.0 acres of other surface water. Vegetation found on the site appears to be lacking due to the active agricultural operation with disking, plowing, furrowing and bedding activities ongoing at the present time. The Brazilian pepper forest communities are situated along the perimeter of the cypress forest community.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 131,600 cubic yards of fill into 20.5 acres of open water and excavate 19,360 cubic yards of sediment from 4.0 acres of open water for the construction of a residential development including green space, roadways, parking and recreational facilities. The applicant also proposes to enhance 4.0 acres of wetlands by scraping 13,200 cubic yards of sediment to lower the elevation.
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 applicant has stated that impacts associated with the project have been avoided to the greatest extent practicable by targeting the development to areas outside of the wetland except where necessary for enhancement. Highway/traffic design, project engineering, safety or effective site planning purposes.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant has stated that direct impacts to wetlands associated with the project are related to enhancement actions only. Impacts to the onsite agricultural ditches cannot be avoided due to the patchwork construction of the ditches and positioning throughout the project site. Unavoidable impacts to wetlands and surface waters associated with the project will be compensated for by enhancement of the onsite wetland areas. A total of 4.1 acres of exotic dominated wetlands will be scraped to lower the ground elevations and enhance the wetland area. The material from the scape-down will produce approximately 13,200 cy of clean fill material to be used onsite. Following scraping of the wetland, it will be planted with a mixture of wetland trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
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: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, the endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana), the threatened eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), and the threatened Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbus). The Corps has already received programmatic concurrence from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the determinations for the wood stork and snake. The Corps will request formal consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for the snail kite by separate letter.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The Corps has determined that there is no essential fish habitat within the project area therefore no consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996.
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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, STE 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 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, Ms. Linda C. Knoeck, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, STE 500, Palm Beach Gardens FL. 33410 by electronic mail at Ms. Linda.C.Knoeck@usace.army.mil; by telephone at (561)472-3531.
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.