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: Lee County DOT
C/o David Murphy
P.O. Box 398
Fort Myers, FL 33902
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Estero Bay Frontal and Tenmile Canal HUC 12: 0309020401. The project site is located within the Six Mie Cypress Slough Preserve – Palomino Lane Borrow Lake at the east end of Penzance Blvd., in Section 10, Township 45 South, Range 26 East, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 take Exit 131 and head west on Daniels Parkway for ½ mile; make a right on Palomino Lane and continue on for approximately 1 ½ mile; make a right on Penzance Blvd.; follow Penzance to Morgan Hill Road and turn left; the access to the project site is the first gate to the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 26.570605°
BACKGROUND: The Corps issued a Nationwide Permit to Lee County Department of Transportation on May 9, 2017 to place 5 cubic yards of fill in 875 linear feet of roadside wetlands for the installation of culverts related to sidewalk and turn lane improvements to Palomino Lane. The work is currently taking place.
Basic: Aquatic habitat enhancement and establishment.
Overall: Provide compensatory water storage while enhancing the aquatic resources and wildlife habitat within Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed project is located within a 14.95 acre project area of a county preserve known as Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. The project area consists of an 8.3 acre borrow lake (FLUCCS 742), a 0.5 of disturbed mixed forested wetland (FLUCCS 6179), 5.7 acres of disturbed hydric pine flatwoods (FLUCCS 6259) and 0.45 acre of disturbed lands (FLUCCS 740M). The surrounding area consists of an access road to the north and south, disturbed hydric pine flatwoods to the west, and an interstate (I-75) to the east.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization for the following: 1) dredging 1.27 acres of freshwater wetlands resulting in the expansion of the existing borrow lake to the west and creation of a littoral shelf / freshwater marsh with appropriate inflow and outflow; 2) filling 0.33 acre of freshwater wetlands resulting in the creation of an island within the expanded borrow lake to provide an upland area for aquatic fauna, sun basking and nesting; 3) filling 0.10 acres of wetland in order to improve the existing berm around the borrow lake; 4) removing 0.32 acre of vegetation for the creation of a maintenance trail.
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: Wetland impacts could not be avoided since the entire area is surrounded by wetlands and preserve. The lowest quality wetlands were chosen to be impacted to minimize the loss of wetland functions.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Mitigation for the wetland impact is proposed through the use of 0.34 credits from the Lee County Island Park Preserve.
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, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Red-cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis) and Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). The Corps will request United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps has concurrence with this determination pursuant to The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Florida dated May 18, 2010. No further consultation with the USFWS is required.
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 determination is that the proposed project would have no adverse impact on EFH as the project site is located approximately 6 miles inland from the nearest tributary that leads into the Gulf of Mexico.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919 within 21 days from the date of this notice. Please reference this permit number, SAJ-2018-00856 (SP-MLB), on all submittals.
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, Michelle Bartley, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919, by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975 ext. 0006.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.