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):
APPLICANT: Mr. David Edwards
Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners
3093 Crawfordville Highway
Crawfordville, Florida 32327
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Syfrett Creek. The project site is located along 5.6 miles of Smith Creek Road in Sections 31, 32, 33, and 34, Township 4 South, Range 3 West and Sections 2, 3, and 11, Township 5 South, Range 3 West, Sopchoppy, Wakulla County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Winthrop Avenue and Rose Street in Sopchoppy, Florida, travel approximately 0.57 miles west. Take a right onto Smith Creek Road and travel north-northwest for approximately 0.1 mile. The project begins just past the bridge and extends for approximately 5.6 miles.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.090229°
Basic: Linear transportation.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to perform safety and longevity improvements on Smith Creek Road, an existing roadway in Wakulla County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems consist of freshwater systems. The onsite vegetation consists of rush and sedge herbaceous species such as Juncus spp., Rhynochospora spp., Fuirena spp., and Cyperus spp. In addition, there are mixed forested wetland stream crossings within the right of way. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of forested wetland systems such as pine flatwoods, mixed forested bottomland, and forested wetland streams. The remaining area is mostly managed upland pine flatwoods.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact 5.16 acres of wetlands in order to widen both travel lanes and improve safety shoulders along 5.6 miles of Smith Creek Road in Sopchoppy, Wakulla County, Florida. The project will also include extension of existing culverts and re-grading and sodding of shoulders.
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:
Almost all wetland work would occur within manmade herbaceous swales. In addition, FDOT recommends that this type of roadway have 11-foot to 12-foot wide travel lanes. The current width of the travel lanes are 9-feet. Widening the roadway by 2-feet on either side will increase the width of the travel lanes to the minimum recommended safety standard off 11-feet. The safety shoulders were also designed at a 3:1 slope instead of a more standard 4:1 slope. The steeper slopes reduced the footprint of wetland impacts. Proper best management practices would be utilized.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) assessment and mitigation plan is being prepared to quantify mitigation necessary to compensate for unavoidable impacts to roadside herbaceous wetland ditches as a result of widening Smith Creek Road to meet FDOT safety standards. Mitigation requirements would preferably be satisfied using the St. Marks Mitigation Bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. On October 16, 2019, the Corps 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: Based upon review of the Wood Stork Key for South Florida dated May 18, 2010, the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana). Use of The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013, resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E = not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon couperii corais). In addition, the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on red cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis).
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 Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407 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, Mrs. Lisa S. Lovvorn, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Boulevard, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32405; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or, by telephone at (850) 285-9533.
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 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.