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) and as described below:
APPLICANT: City of Homestead
Public Works Department
100 Civic Court
Homestead, Florida 33030
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Florida Southeast Coast (HUC 8 – 0300206). The project site is located south of the Florida City Canal and East Palm Drive between SW 152nd Avenue and SW 142nd Avenue, in Sections 27 and 28, Township 57 South, Range 39 East, Homestead, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Exit southern terminus of Florida Turnpike Homestead Extension onto US 1 Southbound. Proceed east on East Palm Drive. Site is located south of Florida City Canal and East Palm Drive between SW 152nd Avenue and SW 142nd Avenue.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 25.446787°
PROJECT HISTORY: A Department of the Army permit was issued on May 9, 1994. Several modifications to the original permit have been authorized. On March 26, 1999 the modification authorized impacts to approximately 146 acres of wetlands to include the excavation of a 61.6 acre borrow lake and dredge approximately 5.0 million cubic yard of limerock from the borrow lake and the placement of fill material into 93 acres of wetlands for the construction of an overflow parking lot for the Homestead Motorsports Complex, and the widening of Palm Drive. As compensatory mitigation, 298 acres of wetlands will be restored, enhanced and placed under a Conservation Easement. The Corps of Engineers is evaluating the previous authorizations and compensatory mitigation to ensure the project is in compliance.
Basic: Rock mining
Overall: To continue rock mining at a previously permitted operation located in Homestead, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of previously cleared freshwater system. Prior to permit issuance, the wetlands consisted of a palustrine, scrub-shrub wetland system. The on-site vegetation consisted of a mixture of exotic/nuisance plant species dominated by Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) along with scattered pockets of primrose willow (Ludwigia sp.), cattails (Typha sp.), native willow (Salix sp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) and various fern and grass species (Panicum repens, Acrostichem danaeifolium, etc.).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to excavate approximately 31 acres of previously impacted/cleared freshwater wetlands to complete a previously permitted 61.6 acre rock mine. No activities are proposed outside of the previously authorized area of impact. Approximately 2.5 million cubic yards of limerock will be excavated from the 31 acre area. No filling is proposed as part of the work and no additional compensatory mitigation is proposed.
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 mining activity is located in an area of disturbed wetlands previously scarified and cleared under Department of the Army SAJ-1993-01731. The excavation/mining of 31 acres will occur within the previously permitted 61.6 acre mine footprint. No additional wetland impacts will occur.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required: The 298-acres of compensatory mitigation originally required for the authorized 61.6 acres of impact under DA permit SAJ-1993-01731 has been completed. The proposed impacts will not result in any additional loss of waters of the United States.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected. During the review of the modification, SHPO stated in their December 31, 1998 letter, because of the project location and/or nature, the proposed project would have no effect on any sites listed or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places, or otherwise of national, state, or local significance.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the Florida Bonneted bat, wood stork, Eastern indigo snake and Florida panther or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service/National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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. The jurisdictional line [has/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 Mindy Hogan-Charles, Mine Team, 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, Mindy Hogan-Charles, in writing at the West Permits Branch, Mine Team, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at Melinda.G.Hogan-Charles@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7066.
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.