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: Santa Rosa County Public Works
c/o Michael Schmidt
6051 Old Bagdad Highway, Suite 300
Milton, FL 32583
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Tom King Bayou/East Bay. The Camden Drive Outfall Project is located within the Holley by the Sea subdivision approximately 1.4 miles north of US 98 (Navarre Parkway) and bound by Camden Drive to the west, Sherwood Drive to the east, Indian Street to the south, and Fairmont Street to the north.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola, travel Hwy 98 to Navarre. Turn left onto Edgewood Drive and continue straight for 1.4 mi. Turn right on Indian Street and continue for 0.25 mi to the beginning of the project at Camden Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.424261°
Basic: Drainage and water quality improvements.
Overall: To regrade and widen existing drainage ditches to improve drainage in Holley by the Sea and improve water quality in Tom King Bayou/East Bay.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems proposed for impacts consist of existing ditches and the areas immediately adjacent to them. These palustrine forested systems are densely vegetated with black titi (Cliftonia monophylla), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), fetterbush (Lyonia lucida) bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra), and various ferns. The lowest-elevation portions of the ditches have scattered herbaceous vegetation including hatpins (Eriocaulon spp.) and redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana). The area surrounding the project area consists of platted residential lots of Holley by the Sea with mixed forested/shrub wetlands and uplands surrounding.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into a total of 1.637 acres of Corps-jurisdictional wetlands (1.001-acre of existing jurisdictional ditch, and 0.636-acre of forested wetlands) in order to regrade and widen existing drainage ditches. An additional 0.503-acre of forested wetlands would be temporarily impacted by clearing of vegetation for access by heavy equipment. All activities would occur within platted drainage easements. The intent of this project is to improve drainage in Holley by the Sea, and provide water quality improvements to Tom King Bayou/East Bay. Phase I of this project involved expanding roadside ditches and received a Nationwide Permit verification on June 1, 2018 (file number SAJ-2017-03491). That phase is currently under construction. This proposal is for Phase II, and would consist of expanding roadside ditches to 8' wide and clearing and re-grading an existing drainage easement from Glassport Street north to Elbing Street. Widening of the roadside ditches and drainage ditch within the north-south aligned drainage easement would result in decreased flow velocities allowing some sediment to settle prior to discharge to Tom King Bayou.
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 work will all be maintained to existing county-owned easements. The majority of the work will be contained to previously managed/maintained ditches and will include regrading and some vegetation clearing. As the easement is within a set geographic location that happens to contain wetlands, there is no other upland alternative. Because avoidance and minimization is not applicable, Best Management Practices will be in place to insure the smallest amount of impact to adjacent wetlands and downstream environments. Work within wetlands will be limited to the minimum amount necessary to clear overgrowth and construct the proposed ditches at the elevations shown on the drawings.
The contractor will not be allowed to stage within the Waters of the State. No excavated material from the site will be stored on site. Standard construction methods will be used for clearing and grubbing. Areas outside the limits of the proposed limits of construction will not be disturbed.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The purchase of 0.50 credits from Pensacola Bay 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 proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 proposal would impact approximately 2.14 acres of ditches and forested wetlands hydrologically connected to tidal waters utilized by various life stages of shrimp, reef fish, red drum, and coastal migratory/pelagic fish. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally-managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 been verified by the Corps.
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 N. Jefferson Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 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, Ed Sarfert, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 N. Jefferson Street, Pensacola, FL 32502; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (850)433-8160; or, by telephone at (850)439-9533.
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.