US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

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SAJ-1994-05879 (SP-MRE)

Published June 27, 2019
Expiration date: 7/17/2019

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:  WaterWalk
                       Attn: Mr. Jeff Walenta
                       2121 North Webb Road
                       Wichita, Kansas 67206

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Tiger Hole Swamp, a tributary to Pottsburg Creek. The project site is located at 8833 Perimeter Park Boulevard (Duval County Property Appraiser Parcel Identification Number 147981-6950), in Section 12, Township 3 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude 30.251246°
                                                                          Longitude -81.557612°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.

Overall: The overall project purpose is the establishment of an extended-stay hotel serving businesses located near the intersection of J. Turner Butler Boulevard and Southside Boulevard adjacent to the J. Turner Butler Boulevard corridor.

EXISTING CONDITIONS:

General: Site specific elevation for the project area shows elevations between 64-70 feet NGVD, with the highest elevations located along the north eastern edge of the property. Hydrology on-site generally flows from the north east to the south west across the site where it then flows off-site through a series of ditches and wetlands, the site is within the Pottsburg Creek drainage system.

Soils: The Soil Survey of City of Jacksonville, Florida (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service) identifies three different soil types on the subject project site.

Surrency loamy fine sand, depressional, 0 to 2 percent slopes (map unit 66): This soil is a nearly level, very poorly drained soil found in depressions. Generally, the high-water table is at or above the soil surface for very long periods during normal years. The surface layer is black loamy fine sand about 14 inches thick.
Lynn Haven fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (map unit 35): This soil is a nearly level to gently sloping, very poorly drained, sandy soil found on flats and seepage slopes. Generally, the high-water table is at or near the surface from January through October. The surface layer is normally black fine sand about seven inches thick. The underlying layer consists of very dark gray fine sand extending from 7 to 13 inches.

Leon fine sand, 0 to 2 percent slopes (map unit 32): This soil is a nearly level, poorly drained soil found in the flatwoods. Generally, the high-water table is at a depth of 6 to 18 inches from January through October. The surface layer is very dark gray fine sand about five inches thick. The underlying layers consist of dark gray fine sand extending from five to eight inches, and gray fine sand extending from 8 to 18 inches.

Vegetative Communities: The site encompasses two generalized community types identified by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).

Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS code 630): This land type exists throughout the entire property. Canopy species include loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), pond pine (Pinus serotina), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), red maple (Acer rubrum), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), swamp bay (Persea palustris), and loblolly- bay (Gordonia lasianthus). Understory and groundcover include saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), netted chainfern (Woodwardia areolata), Boston sword fern (Nephrolepsis spp.), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), grapevine (Vitis spp.), and wax myrtle (Morella cerifera).

Professional Services (FLUCFCS code 143): Numerous commercial properties supporting professional services are located along Perimeter Park Boulevard.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material over a total of 5.14 acres of wetlands to facilitate the construction of an extended-stay hotel, associated parking, and stormwater management systems.

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 applicant examined 20 potential sites as alternatives for the project. The applicant was unable to identify an available alternative site within the target area that totally encompassed uplands; or, that the development of which would incorporate less work affecting wetlands. The project site is almost entirely wetlands; and, therefore, the total avoidance of work affecting wetlands is not practical. The applicant expressed an opinion that the work proposed is the minimum necessary to establish an economically practical project.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

The applicant’s ecological agent submitted a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) quantifying and qualifying the loss of wetland functions and services associated with the work proposed. The UMAM calculated the functional loss as 3.26 units. In consideration of that UMAM, the applicant proposes the purchase of 3.26 credits from a federally approved mitigation bank that has a service area encompassing the project site.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. The applicant’s team conducted a cultural resource review of the property. According to the Florida Master Site File database, the project site has not been previously subjected to a cultural resource assessment survey; however, areas to the immediate east, west, and south (south of J. Turner Butler Boulevard) have been tested. None of those surveys yielded any cultural resources. A review of historic maps and aerial images revealed that the site has been historically wet; and, therefore, not likely to support historical/cultural resources. However, 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:

Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is approximately 4.4 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for Red Cockaded Woodpecker; and, within the consultation area identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Corps for this species. Therefore, this species may utilize the project site. Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Further, as significant forested habitat is located near the project site, it is likely that this species would only opportunistically forage at the site, which the development of the site would not preclude. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species.

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): could utilize the area encompassed by the project ESA scope of analysis. The project site is approximately 7.2 miles from the Dee Dot Ranch Wood Stork colony and approximately 11.5 from the Jacksonville Zoo Wood Stork colony; and, within the Core Foraging Areas of these colonies. Therefore, this species may utilize the project site. The work proposed would not affect suitable foraging habitat (SFH). In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-no effect.

The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species.

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 project would not affect marine or estuarine habitat nor EFH. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not affect EFH or federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns River. 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 Corps has not verified the delineation of wetlands encompassed by the site; however, the delineation matches a previous delineation of wetlands at this property performed during the initial development of this section of Perimeter Park Boulevard.

AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or from the St. Johns River 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark R. Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at mark.r.evans@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.

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.