TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a complete prospectus proposing the establishment of a mitigation bank pursuant to the 2008 Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources regulations (33 CFR Part 332) as described below:
APPLICANT: JR Stuart Land Corporation
6300 NE First Avenue 3rd Floor
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33334
LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 638-acre RG Reserve Mitigation Bank (RGRMB), is located west of SW Pratt Whitney Road, north of Hungryland Preserve, within Section 7, Township 40 South, and Range 41 East, Martin County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 27.008260°
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the RGRMB prospectus online so that it is available for review by the public. The prospectus may be downloaded from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) at web address: https://ribits.usace.army.mil.
Once on the RIBITS homepage, select "Jacksonville" from the "ALL DISTRICTS" drop down menu located in the lower left corner of the screen. Once the district filter has been selected, click on the “Banks & ILF Sites” link located in the Navigation box (upper left corner). This will generate a list of projects, scroll down the list and click on the “RG Reserve MB” link. On this page, click on the "Cyber Repository" link located on the menu bar above the General Information box, then click on the Prospectus Documents folder to access the prospectus associated with the RGRMB project.
If you are unable to access the web address, a copy of the prospectus is available upon request to the project manager listed at the end of this public notice.
PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: The applicant seeks federal authorization to preserve and protect wetlands and uplands on the 638-acre property. RG Reserve Mitigation Bank was authorized by the South Florida Water Management District in October 2003.
The applicant stated that the primary ecological goals of the RGRMB are to preserve wetlands and uplands for wildlife habitat, sediment retention and nutrient storage. Specific preservation acreages include 144.54 acres of pine flatwood uplands, 7.12 acres of bay swamp wetlands, 7.82 acres of cypress wetlands, 80.43 acres of hydric pine flatwood wetlands, 162.13 acres of freshwater marsh wetlands, 198.78 acres of wet prairie wetland, and 37.18 acres of emergent marsh wetlands.
The applicant stated, attainment of ecological goals, would be associated with long-term assurance of perpetual preservation and management. That applicant indicated that preservation of target habitats would occur via recordation of a conservation easement. Additionally the applicant indicated that perpetual management of preserved habitats would include invasive/exotic plant and animal species control.
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of available information indicates that the property historically consisted of deep water emergent marsh wetlands, cypress wetlands, wet prairie wetlands, bay swamp wetlands, hydric pine flatwood wetlands and pine flatwood uplands. The historical vegetation communities are similar to the current vegetation communities, due to the lack of activity from residential or agricultural use. The southern boundary of the proposed RGRMB abuts the 16,969 acre Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission John C. and Mariana Jones Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Area (JCMJHWEA). The JCMJHWEA is the a portion of a wildlife of a corridor spanning approximately 30 miles from Lake Okeechobee tot the Johnathan Dickson State Park on the eastern edge of the corridor near the Atlantic Coast.
ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed RGRMB would be established and operated by JR Stuart Land Corporation as the Sponsor with the assistance of EDC, Inc. The property that comprises the RGRMB is owned by JR Stuart Land Corporation. The RGRMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following RGRMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities would be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of RGRMB. In addition, the Sponsor would provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed RGRMB.
PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project is located within the Kitching Creek Subwatershed, identified as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 030902060602 which is part of the larger Florida Southeast Coast Subbasin (HUC 03090206). The applicant proposes a Mitigation Service Area (MSA) that is coincident with the Florida Southeast Coast Subbasin. The RGRMB MSA is anticipated to include wetland habitat communities that could reasonably be expected to occur on the RGRMB.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the proposed RGRMB site. 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 that the proposed RGRMB site is within the consultation areas for the Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii), Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), and Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). The proposed RGRMB site will be reviewed for potential designated critical habitat and federally-list endangered and threatened species. These findings will be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The proposed RGRMB site is located within two core foraging areas for Wood stork (Mycteria americana). Using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services South Florida Ecological Services Office South Florida Wood Stork Key, 2010, the Corps determined that the proposed RGRMB project was not likely to affect the Wood stork and no further consultation with the USFWS is necessary.
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 the Atlantic Ocean. 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.
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.
COMMENTS: Comments regarding the proposed mitigation bank should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the address below within 30 days from the date of this notice.
The initial evaluation pertaining to whether or not this mitigation bank proposal has the potential for providing compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by issued Department of the Army permits will be based on the information contained in the prospectus, received from this public notice and obtained during an inspection of the project site.
If you have any questions concerning this proposed project, you may contact Mrs. Shannon White by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at 904-232-1904, or by telephone at 904-232-1681 or at the following address:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
P. O. BOX 4970
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32232-0019
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: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. That determination 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. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including 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.
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 proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.