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: Collier County Board of Commissioners
2885 South Horseshoe Drive
Naples, FL 34104
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect Waters of the United States (WOUS) associated with Winchester Head, Winchester Strand, and Shaggy Cypress Swamp. The project will affect freshwater wetlands and other waters. The project corridor includes a section of Oil Well Road and adjacent land, approximately 4.7 miles east of the community of Orangetree in Sections 14-17, 20-23, Township 48 South, Range 28 East, Collier County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 Exit No. 111, travel east on Immokalee Rd. (SR 846) for nine (9) miles, road will turn north, drive one (1) more mile to Oil Well Road (SR 858), turn right (east). Travel three (3) miles to Everglades Blvd. Project is Segment 3 which is between Everglades Blvd. and Oil Well Rd. (approximately 3.4 miles in length).
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 26.2936°
Basic: The basic project purpose is transportation improvements.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to widen an existing two-lane rural roadway to a six-lane roadway with concurrent improvements to sidewalks, intersections and side streets.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems consists of freshwater systems. The onsite vegetation consists of pine, cypress, cabbage palm, exotic melaleuca, goobergrass, maidencane, dog fennel, spurge, slash pine and bald cypress. The existing area surrounding the project corridor consists of slash pine, wax myrtle, goobergrass, rush fuirena, pink sundew, spurge, Asian coinwort, pennywort, red root and yellow-eyed grass.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill into 24.98 acres of WOUS to widen an existing two-lane rural roadway to a six-lane roadway with concurrent improvements to sidewalks, intersections and side streets.
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 proposed project is to widen an existing road. The applicant indicates that a new roadway or re-orientation of the existing roadway is impractical and would adversely affect a greater area of wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable impacts and functional loss to the aquatic environment: Mitigation for the entire project, including Segments 2, 3 and 4, was proposed and approved in the original permit application (issued June 2, 2009). This mitigation project was an offsite permittee-responsible plan that included the manual or mechanical removal of Category 1 and 2 invasive exotic plant species from 529.2 acres of Camp Keias Strand and the breaching of a historic farm berm on this same parcel of land to allow the natural or planting enhanced formation of a previous wetland. This mitigation plan has been constructed and accomplished and deemed acceptable by the Corps of Engineers.
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 Crested Caracara, the Everglades Snail Kite and the Eastern Indigo snake or their designated critical habitats. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the Florida Panther, Florida Bonneted Bat and the Woodstork. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida Scrub Jay.
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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Ft. Myers, Florida 33919 within thirty (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, Greg Currey, in writing at the Ft. Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Ft. Myers, Florida 33919; by electronic mail at Gregory.firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (239)334-0797; or, by telephone at (904)570-4510.
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.
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.