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: TDCP, LLC
c/o Mr. Ralph Ireland
6900 Tavistock Lakes Blvd., Suite 200
Orlando, Florida 32827
Pulte Home Company, LLC
c/o Doug Hoffman
4901 Vineland Road, Suite 500
Orlando, FL 32811
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 950± acre Poitras East Development project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Kissimmee River Hydrologic Unit (Hydrologic Unit Code 03090101); project is located north of Fells Cove and East Lake Tohopekaliga. The project site is located south of SR 417, west of Narcoossee Road, and north of Boggy Creek Road within Sections 31 & 32, Township 24 South, Range 31 East and Sections 35 and 36, Township 24 South, Range 30 East, in Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: The project is not accessible by public road but is located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Narcoossee Road and Boggy Creek Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: multi-use development
Overall: Development of a residential housing community with a small village commercial center and school for individuals and families in the Southeast Sector of the City of Orlando, Florida.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed Poitras East Development and School Site project (approximately 950 acres total) is a mixed-use development (residential sub-division, village commercial and school site) located within an overall mixed-use Planned Development (PD). The Poitras East Development is proposed to include single-family and multi-family residential units, 8 + acres of commercial space (100,000 square feet), 30 acres for an elementary school, 12 + acres for community parks and a neighborhood center.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: On-site land use types/vegetative communities were identified utilizing the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS, FDOT, 1999). The on-site upland land use types/vegetative communities include:
FLUCCS 310 – Herbaceous (Dry Prairie)
Large tracts of land classified as Herbaceous (Dry Prairie) (310) are located along the northeastern portions of the site. These areas are characterized by a sparse canopy consisting primarily of live oak (Quercus virginiana) and camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora). Shrub and herbaceous species observed included saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), Elliott’s milkpea (Galactia elliottii), slender flattop goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana), and blackberry (Rubus sp.).
FLUCCS 320 – Shrub and Brushland
Interspersed with dry prairies are areas classified as Shrub and Brushland (320). This community type is found along the eastern sections of the site. Vegetation observed included sparse occurrences of slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and live oak (Quercus virginiana). Shrub and herbaceous vegetation observed included gallberry (Ilex glabra), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), chalky bluestem (Andropogon virginicus var. glaucus), wiregrass (Aristida stricta), camphorweed (Pluchea sp.), slender flattop goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana), redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana) and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum).
FLUCCS 321 – Palmetto Prairies
The Palmetto Prairies community is comprised of sparse tree cover but has a denser palmetto component. Tree species observed included sand live oak (Quercus geminata), live oak (Quercus virginiana) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii). Shrub and groundcover species observed included areas of dense saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), blackroot (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum), prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia sp.), beggarticks (Bidens alba), paw paw (Asimina sp.), crabgrass (Digitaria sp.), ticktrefoil (Desmodium sp.), and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum).
FLUCCS 330 – Mixed Rangeland
This classification applies to an area that appears to be a disturbed Palmetto Prairie (321) community. It is likely that disturbance in this area has reduced the density of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and created a more open Mixed Rangeland (330) community type. The young tree species observed included red maple (Acer rubrum) and dahoon holly (Ilex cassine). Shrub and groundcover consisted of wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), wiregrass (Aristida stricta), and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum).
FLUCCS 411 – Pine Flatwoods
Areas consistent with the Pine Flatwoods (411) classification are primarily found in the southcentral portion of the site. Vegetative species identified these areas mainly includes slash pine (Pinus elliottii) with scattered live oak (Quercus virginiana). Other species observed within this community type included wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), caesarweed (Urena lobata), ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), lantana (Lantana camara), muscadine grapevine (Vitis rotundifolia), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), and purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).
FLUCCS 434 – Hardwood – Conifer Mixed
There are areas along the southeast property boundary that are vegetated with a mixture of oaks in the canopy. Vegetation observed within this community type included live oak (Quercus virginiana), water oak (Quercus nigra) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii). Understory species included wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), and dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium).
FLUCCS 740 – Disturbed Land
This land use type includes areas disturbed as a result of the borrow pit construction. Typical species observed along the edges of the borrow pits and haul roads include bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), and dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium).
FLUCCS 814 – Roads and Highways
There is a paved road that generally travels in an east/west direction, bisecting the property. In addition, numerous dirt roads exist within the parcel.
The site contains approximately 314.52 acres of jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional wetlands. The site contains approximately 80.46 acres of man-made surface waters.
FLUCCS 510 – Ditches
This classification was used to describe the roadside ditches and recharge trenches that were constructed in the parcel. Vegetative species commonly found in these areas include American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), primrosewillow (Ludwigia spp.), Peruvian primrosewillow (Ludwigia peruviana), Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana), broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia), flatsedges (Cyperus spp.), manyflower marshpennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), groundsel tree (Baccharis halimifolia), and Carolina redroot (Lachnanthes caroliana).
FLUCCS 530 – Reservoirs
Two reservoirs (borrow pits) exist at the southern limit of the property. Vegetation is confined to the shallow shoreline within these water bodies. Species observed included American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), duck potato (Sagittaria latifolia), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), cattail (Typha latifolia), marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), spadeleaf (Centella asiatica), water spangles (Salvinia minima), and duckweed (Lemna sp.).
FLUCCS 613 – Gum Swamps
A small forested wetland system is classified as a Gum Swamp (613) and occurs in the northern portion of the site. The canopy is comprised of a few standing swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora). Other species observed included maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), flatsedge (Cyperus sp.) and bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus).
FLUCCS 617 – Mixed Wetland Hardwoods
An area of Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (617) occurs along the banks of a small creek - Jim Branch Creek. The canopy is comprised of swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), red maple (Acer rubrum), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana). Subcanopy, shrub and groundcover species observed included water oak (Quercus nigra), Virginia willow (Itea virginica), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum), netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomea), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.).
FLUCCS 621 – Cypress
The canopy is comprised almost exclusively of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). Other canopy species observed in the cypress systems included blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica). Subcanopy, shrub and groundcover species observed included dahoon (Ilex cassine), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), coastalplain staggerbush (Lyonia fruticosa), gallberry (Ilex glabra). swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum), netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomea), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), and beaksedges (Rhynchospora spp.)
FLUCCS 625 – Hydric Pine Flatwoods
A wetland area dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii) is located in the central portion of the site. The subcanopy and shrub layers consist of slash pine (Pinus elliottii), red maple (Acer rubrum), dahoon (Ilex cassine), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and red bay (Persea borbonia). The area contains a moderate amount of Chinese tallowtree (Triadica sebifera) in the understory. Herbaceous vegetation includes cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomea), tenangle pipewort (Eriocaulon decangulare), broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus), netted nutrush (Scleria reticularis), sedge (Carex sp.), common carpetgrass (Axonopus fissifolius), roundpod St. John’s wort (Hypericum cistifolium), and myrtleleaf St. John’s wort (Hypericum myrtifolium).
FLUCCS 631 – Wetland Scrub
An isolated area of Wetland Scrub (631) occurs in the central portion of the site and contiguous with a large cypress wetland. This area contains occasional canopy tree species that include slash pine (Pinus elliottii), dahoon (Ilex cassine), and swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora). The shrub stratum has been adversely affected by the significant hog damage, which resulted in numerous large open areas of herbaceous groundcover and exposed soil. Shrub species include wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) (50% cover), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). Dominant groundcover species include sandweed (Hypericum fasciculatum), tenangle pipewort (Eriocaulon decangulare), sand cordgrass (Spartina bakeri), blue maidencane (Amphicarpum muehlenbergianum), wiregrass (Aristida stricta), redtop panicum (Coleataenia rigidula), and broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus).
FLUCCS 641 – Freshwater Marshes
These areas are vegetated primarily by maidencane (Panicum hemitomon) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum fasciculatum). Other species observed included wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera), primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana), camphorweed (Pluchea sp.), meadowbeauty (Rhexia sp.) mermaidweed (Proserpinaca sp.), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.).
FLUCCS 643 – Wet Prairie
These areas are vegetated primarily by maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), blue maidencane (Amphicarpum muehlenbergianum), St. John’s wort (Hypericum fasciculatum) Carolina redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana) and wiregrass (Aristida stricta). Other species observed included wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), camphorweed (Pluchea sp.), meadowbeauty (Rhexia sp.), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 16.32 acres of waters of the United States for residential and school development on the 950± acre Poitras East Development project.
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 proposed East West Roadway corridor contains two separate wetland systems (W7 and W22). The East West Roadway is a proposed 4-lane collector road with multi-purpose trails required by the City of Orlando to provide access and support to the City’s approved urban development in this area. The roadway is planned to extend from Boggy Creek Road at its western end to Narcoossee Road at its eastern end. This design also requires the re-establishment of the road crossing at Jim Branch Creek. The Alternatives Analysis provided included the evaluation of three (3) alternatives for the proposed roadway within the primary roadway corridor. Avoidance Alternative A represented the first alternative roadway alignment, which attempted to meet the goals of avoiding all wetland impacts and providing for the transportation needs of the proposed development. Pursuant to the information provided in the Alternatives Analysis, the configuration of the Alternative A alignment was impracticable due to its inability to connect to Narcoossee Road at a location for which future signalization is feasible and its inability to accommodate a roundabout configuration at the intersection with Centerline Drive. The Alternative B alignment was developed to minimize wetland impacts to W7 and W22 within the transportation corridor. This alternative met the regional mobility goals in the City by providing a signalized access at Narcoossee Road and maintaining the roundabout configurations for all newly proposed intersections. However, while the Centerline Drive roundabout could be accomplished, the tight curve and super elevated section approaching this roundabout is undesirable due to the complicated grade transitions and associated surface drainage patterns. Overall, Alternative B did not meet the overall needs of the development and did not provide an efficient layout from a floodplain management perspective. The third roadway alternative, Alternative C, provided for an adjustment at the western end of the alignment to improve conditions for the Centerline Drive roundabout and increased efficiency from a floodplain management standpoint. The intersection of the proposed roadway and Narcoossee Road was maintained and the wetland impacts were similar in nature to Alternative B. Alternative C was selected as the practicable roadway alternative for the development since the alignment met the goals from a safety and regional mobility standpoint and the wetland impacts were similar in nature to Alternative B.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The compensatory mitigation for the proposed wetland impacts will be provided through the purchase of federal mitigation bank credits. The proposed wetland impacts were evaluated using WRAP, which is consistent with the wetland functional assessment method used by federal mitigation banks in this watershed. The project proposes direct wetland impacts to USACE jurisdictional Wetlands 7, 22 and 37 totaling 16.32 acres. The proposed direct wetland impacts will result in the loss of 11.77 units of mitigation. The functional loss of the wetlands and associated wildlife habitat will be mitigated by purchasing 11.77 units from a federally approved Mitigation Bank, which service area includes the Poitras East Development project area.”
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area, which is defined by the project boundaries, and no information was provided by the Applicant. The Florida Master Site File database indicates a cultural resource assessment survey may be required within portions of the permit area; the applicant is conducting a CRAS. 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 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:
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect” (NLAA) wood stork (Mycteria americana). The proposed activity is within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of four rookeries; the project supports Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) for wood stork. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) North Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork (September 2008). Use of the Key for Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (The project is more than 2,500 feet from a colony site.) > B (Project impacts SFH.) > C (Project impacts to SFH greater than or equal to 0.5 acres.) > D (Project impacts to SFH are within the Core Foraging Area of a colony site) > E (The determination is supported by SFH compensation provided within the service area of a mitigation bank which covers the CFA and/or provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH; is not contrary to the Service’s Habitat Management Guidelines For The Wood Stork In The Southeast Region and in accordance with the CWA Section 404(b)(1) guidelines) = NLAA. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect” the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key (dated January 25, 2010; August 13, 2013 Addendum), the Corps determination sequence is as follows: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh.) > B (The permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo snake during site preparation and construction) > C (There are gopher tortoise burrows or other refugia.) > D (Project will impact more than 25 active and inactive burrows). All gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the burrow vicinity. If excavating potentially occupied burrows, active or inactive, individuals must first obtain state authorization via a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent permit. The excavation method selected should also minimize the potential for injury of an indigo snake. Holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work; the permittee agrees to use the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (dated August 12, 2013). The Corps has USFWS concurrence for the proposed activities through use of the aforementioned determination key.
Based on existing habitat types and/or provided survey information, the Corps preliminarily determined the project will have no effect on Bluetail mole skink (Eumeces egregious lividus) and Sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi), red-cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis), Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii) and Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens).
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 16.32 acres of freshwater wetlands which ultimately discharge to Jim Branch. 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 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, Jeffrey S. Collins, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section (address above), by electronic mail at Jeffrey.email@example.com, 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.