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: 10801 Metro, LLC
c/o Greg Truxton
6810 International Center Boulevard
Fort Myers, Florida 33912
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect forested freshwater wetlands and other surface waters associated with the Estero Bay watershed. The project site is located at 10801 Metro Parkway in Section 6, Township 45 South, and Range 25 East, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida 33966. Parcel ID (06-45-25-00-00008-0000).
Directions to the site are as follows: From Colonial Boulevard travel to Metro Parkway, head south on Metro Parkway to site address 10801 Metro Parkway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is for a commercial/industrial development.
Overall: To construct a commercial/industrial development with stormwater management system, infrastructure and amenities in Lee County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is currently forested and encompasses approximately 28.26 acres, of which 20.02 acres are jurisdictional wetlands and 0.49 acres other waters of the U.S., located west and immediately adjacent to, the intersection of Metro Parkway and Landing View Road. The project site is bounded by undeveloped land to the north, Metro Parkway to the west, commercial properties to the south, and Plantation Road to the east.
All wetland habitats onsite have exotic invasive species and have been affected by past hurricane activity. Several downed trees, due to hurricane damage, and extensive coverage by nuisance/exotic vines occur on site. Although one wetland was identified on the site, the forested system is comprised of differing FLUCFCS depending on the level of nuisance and exotic species coverage. Therefore, each FLUCFCS is described below:
Cypress, Disturbed (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6219 E2, 0.33 acre)
This habitat type occurs in the northern portion of the site at the property boundary. The canopy vegetation is dominated by bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). Additional species observed in the canopy include the exotic punk tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia), the exotic java plum (Syzygium cumini), and the exotic Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia). Groundcover included swamp fern (Telmatoblechnum serrulatum). The exotic old-world climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) was observed in this habitat. The cover of old- world climbing fern is high in areas of this habitat.
Cypress, Disturbed (50-75% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6219 E3, 0.57 acre)
This habitat occurs in the northwestern portion of the site. This habitat is like the Cypress habitat described above, with the exception that exotic coverage is much higher. This habitat contains a higher cover of both punk tree and old-world climbing fern.
Cypress-Oak, Disturbed (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6309 E2, 1.24 acre)
This habitat occurs on the western portion of the site. This habitat contains a mixture of bald cypress and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia). The canopy also includes cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), punk tree, and Brazilian pepper. Patchy groundcover is mixture of swamp fern and royal fern (Osmunda regalis L. var. spectabilis). Sporadic old-world climbing fern was also observed in this habitat.
Cypress-Oak, Disturbed (50-75% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6309 E3, 1.80 acre)
This habitat is like the cypress-oak habitat described above with the exception that punk tree is much denser. This habitat fringes the eastern boundary of the wetland core.
Cypress-Oak, Disturbed (76-100% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6309 E4, 1.22 acre)
This is another cypress-oak habitat that contains a higher percent cover of old-world climbing fern. The coverage of old-world climbing fern is locally dense, creating vegetative mats that cover other vegetation.
Wetland Scrub (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 6319 E1, 3.76 acre)
This habitat comprises the core of the wetland. Vegetation observed included a dense cover of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) and Brazilian pepper. Additional vegetation observed in this habitat included punk tree and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).
Exotic Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 619, 11.10 acre)
This habitat type comprises the largest wetland habitat found on the site. The canopy is dominated by punk tree. Additional canopy species observed included slash pine (Pinus elliottii), Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), cabbage palm, and sporadic bald cypress. Myrsine (Myrsine cubana) and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) are located in the shrub stratum. Groundcover includes swamp fern and shield fern (Thelypteris dentata). Some coverage of old-world climbing fern was also noted.
Ditches (FLUCFCS 513; 0.49 acres)
One ditch was identified occurring on the eastern side of the property along the FPL easement. This ditch appears to retain stormwater from the adjacent sidewalk and roadway.
Approximately 28% (7.75 acres) of the site is considered uplands, the majority of which is disturbed pine flatwoods habitat:
Pine Flatwoods, Disturbed 50-75% Exotics (FLUCFCS 4119E3; 1.69 acres)
Native vegetation within the canopy of this habitat includes slash pine, cabbage palm, and scattered laurel oak. Native groundcover includes saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). This habitat type also contains a high vegetative cover of punk tree, scattered Australian pine,scattered earleaf acacia, and scattered Brazilian pepper.
Pine Flatwoods, Disturbed 76-100% Exotics (FLUCFCS 4119E4; 3.02 acres)
This habitat contains native vegetation like the pine flatwoods habitat described above.
This habitat type contains a higher percent cover of nuisance and exotic vegetation,
predominantly punk tree, particularly in the canopy.
Brazilian Pepper (FLUCFCS 422, 0.92 acre)
This habitat is located on the southeast portion of the site. This habitat is comprised of a
dense canopy of Brazilian pepper on spoil mounds. Additional species in the canopy
include slash pine, cabbage palm, and earleaf acacia. Groundcover includes saw palmetto and cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica).
Melaleuca (FLUCFCS 424, 0.87 acre)
This habitat occurs in the northern central portion of the site. The canopy and subcanopy are dominated by punk tree. Additional species observed included slash pine, saw palmetto, Brazilian pepper, and myrsine.
Disturbed Land (FLUCFCS 740, 0.02 acre)
A small portion of disturbed land habitat occurs on the northwest portion of the site. This
habitat is comprised of outcrops of limestone with predominately exotic vegetation.
Spoil Areas (FLUCFCS 743, 0.33 acre)
This habitat occurs in the eastern portion of the site and is comprised of vegetation growing on spoil. Vegetation observed included Australian pine, slash pine, cabbage palm, Brazilian pepper, and saw palmetto.
Roadway (FLUCFCS 814, 0.90 acre)
This habitat occurs on the eastern portion of the site and is comprised of an FPL easement and sidewalk associated with Plantation Road.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 2,324cubic yards of clean fill within 0.02 acres of other waters of the U.S. and 10.80 acres of freshwater forested wetlands and to excavate 23,180 cubic yards of material from 1.50 acres of freshwater forested wetlands, in order to construct five (5) industrial/manufacturing buildings (192,545 SF), along with associated parking area, utility infrastructure, stormwater management system, landscaping and irrigation system and preserve.
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 Consultant has reviewed the site plan to determine if plan modifications could be made to preserve wetlands on the property. The applicant has implemented practical design modifications to reduce adverse impacts to the wetland functions provided by the higher quality wetlands and focusing unavoidable impacts to lower quality wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: To offset anticipated impacts to 12.30 acres of wetlands, the applicant has proposed the purchase of the 4.18 forested mitigation bank credits from a Federally-approved mitigation bank within the service area of the proposed project.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.
1) The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key (dated August 1, 2017), the Corps determination sequence resulted in A > B > C > D > NLAA. The Permittee agrees to use the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (dated August 12, 2013). The Corps has U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence for the proposed activities through use of the aforementioned determination keys.
2) The Corps has determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps received FWS concurrence letter, dated May 18, 2010 (amended on August 13, 2013) for all work that results in a “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination using the Wood Stork Effect Determination Key. The project proposes less than 50 acres of wetland impacts and the applicant will provide the required short/long hydroperiod compensation through the purchase of federal credits at a mitigation bank within the service area. The Corps has programmatic concurrence with the sequential determination of A > B > C > E> “NLAA” pursuant to the Key.
3) The Corps has determined the project may affect the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). The project is located within the consultation area of the FBB. Furthermore, the project site is 5 ac or greater and includes more than 1 ac (alone or combined) of the following FBB habitat types: upland or wetland forest; upland or wetland shrub; or open freshwater wetlands. The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the FWS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
4) The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). The proposed project is within the consultation area for the Florida scrub-jay. No critical or foraging habitat types utilized by Florida scrub-jays are found within or adjacent to the project area. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
5) The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) (Picoides borealis). Although the project occurs within the Consultation Area of the endangered RCW, the habitats found on the proposed project area are not suitable for the RCW and there is limited open areas for foraging and nest tree development. In addition, there are no documented active RCW colonies within or adjacent to the project area. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
6) The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) or its designated critical habitat. The proposed project is within the consultation area for the snail kite. No habitat types utilized by the Everglades snail kite are found within or adjacent to the project area. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined the proposal will not affect any other threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat other than the ones listed above.
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 project area of reference. 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 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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Suite 310, Fort Myers, FL 33919 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, Stephen J. Fleming, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 310, Fort Myers, FL 33919; by electronic mail at Stephen.J.Fleming@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (239) 334-0797; or, by telephone at (239) 334-1975.
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.