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: Amendment and Restatement of Trust of Edward H. Hamm
c/o Edward Hamm
408 Saint Peter Street, Suite 434
Saint Paul, MN 55102
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect wetland waters of the United States within the Lower Loxahatchee River sub-watershed (HUC 030902060604). The site is located south of Milkway Avenue and directly west of North Beach Road, within Section 35, Township 38 South, Range 42 East, Hobe Sound, Martin County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Proceed on I-95 to exit 96 and proceed east on County Road 708 for approximately 7.7 miles. Turn left to head north onto North Beach Road. Continue north for approximately 1.1 miles and the parcel is on the west side of the road just north of Brightview Avenue and south of Milkway Avenue.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is to construct a residential development
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a residential development on eastern Martin County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 3.75 acre project site is comprised of undeveloped land and an unimproved dirt road. There are approximately 0.94 acres of mixed wetlands on site and 0.14 acres of non-wetland waters.
The vegetative community of the site is dominated by Brazilian pepper. Additionally, the wetland areas feature varying coverage of giant leather fern, cabbage palm, and cocoplum. The upland areas feature varying coverage of Australian pine and other non-native species. ,
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to place 13,309 cubic yards of fill over 0.91 acres of mixed wetland and 0.14 acres of non-wetland water in order to construct a single-family residential development. The proposed work will consist of construction of the five (5) single family residences, access road and infrastructure, and storm water treatment facility.
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:
“Full and direct impacts are unavoidable, as there is no feasible way to construct five (5) single-family residential lots totaling ±125,000 square feet plus a central access road and an indispensable stormwater treatment without impacting 1.05 acres of the total 3.75 acres of project area.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Wetland debits purchased from Bear Point Mitigation Bank (BPMB) will serve as compensation to nullify on-site impacts.”
The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
The project is within the range and/or consultation area of the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and wood stork (Mycteria americana).
• The project site is located in an area where the eastern indigo snake may occur. The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the eastern indigo snake. The project site contains approximately 3.5-acres of potential eastern indigo snake habitat. By use of the FWS revised Eastern Indigo Snake Key dated August 1, 2017, the following key sequence A>B>C
• The project is located within the species consultation area for the Florida scrub jay. Suitable habitats for the scrub-jay are not only the more “classic” xeric oak scrub, scrubby pine flatwoods, scrubby coastal strand, and sand pine scrub, but also include: improved, unimproved, and woodland pastures, citrus groves, rangeland, pine flatwoods, longleaf pine xeric oak, sand pine, sand pine plantations, forest regeneration areas, sand other than beaches, disturbed rural land in transition without positive indicators of intended activity, and disturbed burned areas. The entire site consists primarily of dense Brazilian pepper and no suitable scrub habitat. Therefore, the project areas does not contain suitable habitat for the Florida Scrub Jay. Based on this information, the Corps has determined the proposed work would have no-effect on the Florida Scrub Jay.
• The project is located within the species consultation area. Piping Plovers nest on coastal beaches, sand flats at the ends of sand spits and barrier islands, gently sloped foredunes, sparsely vegetated dunes, and washover areas cut into or between dunes. The project area does not contain any of these habitats and thus will have no effect on the species.
• Not Likely to Adversely Affect the wood stork. The applicant has proposed compensation for wetland impacts through the use of off-site, in-kind wetland mitigation. By use of the FWS Wood Stork Key dated January 25, 2010 and the May 18, 2010 addendum, the following key sequence A>B>C>E would result in a “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” (NLAA) determination. Any loss of wood stork foraging biomass resulting from the proposed activity will be compensated for through the purchase of mitigation credits from a federally approved mitigation bank within the area.
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 0.81 acres of freshwater wetlands and 0.14 acres of non-wetland waters. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 within 30 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, Trey Fraley, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at email@example.com, or, by telephone at (561) 472-3526.
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.