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: Orange County Public Works
c/o Ghulam Qadir
4200 South John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32839
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The All American Boulevard project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Wekiva River (Hydrologic Unit Code 0308010114). The project site is located at approximately 6402 All American Boulevard, in Sections 33, Township 21 South and Range 29 East, Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 4 take exit 86, turn left onto Par Street, turn right onto Edgewater Drive (SR-424), and the site will be located northeast of the intersection of Edgewater Drive and Clarcona Ocoee Road and ends at All American Boulevard.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 28.617606°
Basic: Road construction
Overall: Provide a direct roadway connection from Clarcona Occoee Road to All American Boulevard, in Orange County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The freshwater wetland system consists of a 1.72-acre Wetlands Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) directly abutting a relative permanent water (ditch) that drains into the Little Wekiva Canal. The wetland's vegetation consist of canopy dominated by slash pines, sweetbay, red bay, laurel and water oaks, wax myrtles, and of groundcover dominated by swamp ferns, royal ferns, cinnamon ferns, Virginia chain ferns, broomsedge blue stem, and St. Johns wort. The site also contains an isolated Exotic Wetland Hardwood (FLUCFCS 619) on the east side of the property with no hydrologic connections to waters of the U.S. and dominated by the exotic invasive Chinese tallowtree. The ditch that runs from north to south and then west to east into the Little Wekiva Canal contains vegetation dominated by swamp fern and cinnamon fern. The Little Wekiva Canal which flows into the Wekiva River has highly eroded banks containing little to no vegetation. There are also three stormwater ponds in the review area. The upland system consists mostly of Mixed Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 438) with a canopy dominated by laurel oak, chinaberry tree, mimosa tree, and earpod tree, and a groundcover dominated by air potato and Virginia creeper; Herbaceous (FLUCFCS 310) dominated by bahiagrass; and Other Shrubs and Brush (FLUCFCS 329) dominated by gallberry and shiny blueberry.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 0.52 acres of waters of the United States consisting of 0.30 acres of freshwater wetlands and 0.22 acres of surface waters for the construction of a four lane roadway, which will provide a direct connection from Clarcona Occoee Road to All American Boulevard.
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 would result in impacts to an area predominately uplands, and wetland impacts would occur to degraded wetlands entirely surrounded by development. The proposed project would improve water quality discharges through development of on-site wet storm water retention ponds. The road was designed per FDOT and Orange County standards. The roadway profile and cross section are optimized to avoid wetland impacts with a minimum footprint.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“2.05 fresh water mitigation credits have been purchased for the project from Wekiva River Mitigation Bank to compensate the impacts in 2009.”
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area, which is defined by the project boundaries, and no information was provided by the Applicant. The Florida Master Site File database does not indicate a cultural resource assessment survey would be required 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 applicant provided no information regarding federally listed species occurrence on the project site. The Corps has completed preliminary federally listed species affect determinations which include the following:
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork and its designated critical habitat. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) North Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork (September 2008). Use of the Key for Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (The project is more than 2,500 feet from a colony site.) > B (Project impacts SFH) >C (Impacts to SFH > 0.5 acres) >D (Project impacts to SFH within a Core Foraging Area of a colony site) >E (Project provides SFH compensation within the Service Area of a Service-approved wetland mitigation bank or wood stork conservation bank preferably within the CFA, or consists of SFH compensation within the CFA consisting of enhancement, restoration or creation in a project phased approach that provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH) = “not likely to adversely affect” for wood storks. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake and its designated critical habitat. Based upon review of the Corps and Service’s Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (dated August 13, 2013), the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh.) >B (The permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake during site preparation and protection construction.) >C (There are gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities, or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities) >D (The project will impact less than 25 acres of xeric habitat supporting less than 25 active and inactive gopher tortoise burrows) >E (Permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work) = “not likely to adversely affect” for the Eastern indigo snake. The permit will be conditioned with the Standard Construction Guidelines for the Eastern Indigo Snake. No further consultation was required.
Based on existing habitat types, the Corps preliminarily determined the project will have no effect on Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Bluetail mole skink (Eumeces egregious lividus) and Sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi).
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 0.52 acres of freshwater wetlands and surface waters which ultimately discharge to the Wekiva River. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on downstream 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 (NMFS).
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 will be required from the South Florida Water Management District.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926, 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, Brandon Conroy, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section (address above), by electronic mail at email@example.com or telephone at (321) 504-3771 x11.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with FWS, EPA, the NMFS, 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 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.
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.