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 Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Florida Power & Light
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Indian River. The project site is located on the north side of Nasa Parkway W between East Avenue SW and Kennedy Parkway N in Sections 25, 35, and 36, Township 22 South, Range 36 East, Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 95, take exit 215 for State Road 50 east and travel 0.37 miles. Turn right on Columbia Boulevard (State Road 405) and travel approximately 10.92 miles across the NASA Causeway on to Nasa Parkway W. The project site is across the street from the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.534942°
Basic: Energy generation.
Overall: Construction of a solar power generation facility in north Brevard County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is approximately 504 acres. Wetlands on the project site consist of approximately 43 acres. The wetlands throughout the site consists of mangroves, willow, exotic wetland hardwoods, mixed forested wetlands, and freshwater marsh. Vegetation is consistent throughout each wetland location. White mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa) populates the mangrove fringe at the southern edge of the project site, which runs along a canal. The willow wetlands make up a small section of the onsite wetlands and are dominated by Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana). Herbaceous wetland groundcover is present throughout the willow wetlands.
The exotic wetland hardwoods is nearly exclusively dense stands of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) with sparse cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) scattered throughout. Groundcover is absent due to the shading from the Brazilian pepper. Occasional dead and dying trees are found throughout these systems. The mixed wetland forest is also vegetated by Brazilian pepper. Cabbage palm, laurel oak (Quercus virginiana), red maple (Acer rubrum), southern hackberry (Celtis laevigata), Carolina willow, wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa), and cattail (Typha domingensis) make up the dominant species throughout this wetland type.
There are two small freshwater marshes on the project site that have formed in a former citrus grove, likely resulting from agricultural irrigation modifications. Cattail, creeping primrose willow (Ludwigia repens), herb-of-grace (Bacopa monnieri), turkey tangle (Phyla nodiflora), sedges (Cuperus spp.), cogon grass (Imperata cylindrical), and Carolina willow are the dominant species in these marshes. The remaining areas of the project site include roads, dormant citrus groves, and upland herbaceous prairies.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct a 74.5 megawatt solar generation facility. The project will involve the discharge of approximately 1,518 cubic yards of fill over 0.95 acre of waters of the United States (wetlands). The project will also result in impacts to 7.64 acres of other surface waters.
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 proposes to maintain a minimum undeveloped 25-foot buffer around non-impacted wetlands. The applicant proposes to implement best management practices, effective soil erosion control measures, and routine inspections during construction until soil stabilization has occurred. The applicant will conduct an analysis to ensure the proposed stormwater design will not cause adverse effects to nearby wetland and surface water functions.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant has proposed to purchase federal mitigation bank credits from the Neoverde Mitigation Bank.
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Atlantic salt marsh snake (Nerodia clarkii taeniata), Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), and woodstork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Michael Ornella, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at Michael.Ornella@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1904; or, by telephone at (904)232-1498.
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.