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: D.R. Horton, Inc.
2450 South Hwy 29
Cantonment, FL 32533
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with unnamed wetlands adjacent to Elevenmile Creek within the Perdido Bay watershed. The project site is located south of Highway 98, Parcel Numbers 16-1S-31-2000-510-005, 16-1S-31-2000-513-005, 16-1S-31-2000-600-005 in Sections 08 & 16, Township 1 South, Range 31 West in Escambia County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola head west on Garden Street then continue onto West Navy Boulevard. Turn north onto North W Street, then west onto US-90/Mobile Highway for 9.3 miles. Turn north onto Steeplechase Boulevard. The site is located at the northern terminus of Steeplechase Boulevard.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude 30.515244° North
Longitude 87.354989° West
Basic: Residential Subdivision
Overall: To construct a single-family residential subdivision to accommodate the growing housing needs in southwest Escambia County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: “The total site acreage for the development is 197.99 acres. Wetlands comprise 111.98 acres of the total parcel. Currently the subject property exists largely as Wetland Baygall, Wetland Floodplain Swamp, and Wetland Scrub/Shrub which are all hydrologically contiguous to Eleven Mile Creek. While the property may have been subject to disturbances associated with historical logging activities, its current condition is synonymous with expected historical conditions.”
The existing area surrounding the project area consists of the Nature’s Trail Subdivision mitigation site to the north, an existing 122 lot subdivision and US-90/Mobile Highway to the south, and single-family residences to the east and west.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill a total of 0.62 acres of freshwater forested wetlands for the construction of a 259 lot single-family residential subdivision. The subdivision would be a continuation of an existing 122 lot subdivision. The impacts consist of 0.42 acre of fill in wetlands for road crossings and a lift station and 0.20 acre of fill for various residential lots.
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 development plan was carefully crafted to avoid and minimize impacts to wetland resources. One of the primary features of the Bridlewood Subdivision is the quantity of (avoidance of impacts to) the natural on-site wetlands. The applicant, in an effort to avoid such wetland impacts, has developed a site plan that effectively avoids impacts to wetland resources. Proposed wetland impacts are limited to only where necessary to achieve the project purpose and to provide necessary access to developable uplands and minor lot fill. Impacts associated with the road crossing constitute most of the proposed permanent wetland impacts. In addition, the applicant is proposing a twenty five foot upland buffer along the entire length of wetlands located within the plan of development to limit secondary and cumulative impacts to wetland resources.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The proposed project is not located within the service area of a state or federally approved mitigation bank or an approved in-lieu fee program; therefore permittee-responsible mitigation using a watershed approach is the only option available to the applicant. The applicant does control the remaining post development wetland area within the same parcel of land as the impact site; therefore permittee-responsible mitigation through on-site and in-kind mitigation is proposed.”
The applicant proposes the preservation of a total of 84.06 acres of on-site wetlands and 6.96 acres of on-site uplands. Preservation will be accomplished via recording of a conservation easement.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. The Corps has initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) as determined using the 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, following couplets A> B> C> D> E.
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. 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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida, 32502 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823.
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.