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: United Parcel Service
500 Callahan Drive
Knoxville, TN 37912
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project contains freshwater wetlands and other waters of the U.S. and is located in Pinellas County, Florida within Section 29, Township 30 South, Range 16 East. The site is bordered by commercial and industrial properties on all 4 sides. The Cross Bayou Canal is located approximately 500 feet west of the northern property boundary.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Interstate-275 South (I-275) to Exit 30 and keep left at the fork. Merge onto 118th Avenue North. After approx. 0.8 miles turn right onto 49th North. After 0.5 miles turn left onto 126th Avenue North. The UPS Shipping facility will be on the left.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 27.885754
Longitude: - 82.709580
Basic: To expand existing building and parking lot capacity.
Overall: To expand the employee parking lot in the northern portion of the site and the expansion of the existing building and truck parking lot in the southern portion of the site to meet the UPS’s shipping facilities staffing demand.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed project site comprises approximately 29.33 +/- acres consisting of approximately 17.34 +/- acres of existing structure and parking area, 7.44 +/- acres of shrub/brushland and upland mixed forest, and 4.55 +/- acres of freshwater wetlands.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to expand the existing facility and associated parking areas by placing clean fill material into 1.57 acres of wetlands.
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 wetland impacts shown are necessary for the viability of this project. The site is designed to allow UPS to provide appropriate customer service requirements to the delivery area. The Pinellas planning area has exceeded capacity due to a substantial increase in package delivery volume. This increase in volume requires an increase in staffing and parking requirements. The land use is consistent with the surrounding area.
The applicant owns areas on site that are viable for the required parking expansion, therefore offsite areas were not evaluated for the expansion. Other areas evaluated on site include:
- South of the shipping facility, southern portion of site – the parking/paved areas immediately surrounding the existing warehouse facility are utilized for loading and semitrailer parking. The proposed expanded warehouse facility will require additional loading areas and semi-trailer parking over the southern portion of the site. Inclusion of employee parking in this area would not allow sufficient space for loading activities and semi-trailer parking.
- Alteration of current parking areas north of N 126th Avenue – alteration or changing of parking area type (garage) would severely hinder the availability of parking currently provided to employees causing a disruption of business.
Ultimately the subject site was selected based on the following criteria:
- Proposed impacts are to previously impacted, low-quality wetlands (previous impacts are from canal dredging/ surrounding industrial properties).
- Located adjacent to existing employee parking, fits surrounding land use.
- UPS already owns site, cost effective.
- No disruption of business due to location or shutdown of current parking facilities.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: “The applicant has calculated through UMAM that the project would result in a functional loss of 0.52 units for direct impacts. The applicant is proposing to off-set the impacts by purchasing 0.52 credits from Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank. Upon approval of the mitigation plan, the applicant will secure a reservation letter and provide a copy to USACE.
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 made a preliminary determination that the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork and eastern indigo snake. The Corps will request the concurrence of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Wood storks were the only federally listed species documented on the parcel during the applicant’s onsite assessment, though potential suitable habitat for the eastern indigo snake will be considered.
The eastern indigo snake, a federally threatened species, is wide-ranging and may be expected in a wide variety of habitats at low densities. Utilizing the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (updated January 25, 2012) yielded the following progression: A (Not Open Water) > B (Permit conditioned for Standard Protection Measures) > C (Refugia are not present) > No Gopher Tortoise Borrows, Holes, Cavities or Refugia is present Not Likely Too Adversely Affect (NLAA). Based on the progression through the Key, consultation between the ACOE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not required for a "no effect or not likely to adversely affect" determination based on the Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Adherence to the FWS Standard Protection Measures for Eastern Indigo Snakes during construction should minimize regulatory exposure from eastern indigo snakes.
The agent indicated that during the field investigation transects were performed across the site. There were no gopher tortoise burrows found. No other types of refugia were observed during the site investigation.
The project site is located within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of wood stork colonies in Sarasota County. Using the South Florida Programmatic Concurrence Key for the Wood Stork (May 18, 2010), yielded the following progression: A (Impacts SFH >0.47 mile from colony) > B (Impact to SFH < 0.5 acre) - NLAA. Based on the progression through the Key, consultation between the ACOE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not required for a "not likely to adversely affect" determination based on the Programmatic Concurrence Key for the Wood Stork. Less than 0.5 acres of suitable foraging habitat will be impacted. The existing stormwater retention area is proposed to be impacted by expansion of the warehouse facility and expanded truck parking area over the southern portion of the site. However, current site plans allow for a larger stormwater retention area to be located over the southeastern portion of the site which will accommodate the expanded parking areas. It is anticipated that this future retention area will provide a larger foraging area of similar quality to the existing retention area.
Also noted on the Resources At Risk (RAR) database for the project is that the project location is located within the Piping Plover Consultation Area. The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Piping Plover based on lack of species on-site habitat or adjacent habitat. The Piping Plover wouldn’t utilize the onsite habitats. No further consultation 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 initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the Tampa Bay area and Gulf of Mexico. 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 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 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, Candice Wheelahan, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at Peter.T.Romano@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7072.
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.