Public Notice Notifications

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SAJ-2002-06299 (SP-MRE)

Published Nov. 6, 2019
Expiration date: 11/26/2019

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:  The Jacksonville Zoological Society
                       370 Zoo Parkway
                       Jacksonville, Florida 32218

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Drummond Creek. The project site is located at the Jacksonville Zoo, at 370 Zoo Parkway, in Sections 19, 44, and 45, Township 1 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

                                                                          Longitude -81.642677°


Basic: The basic project purpose is institutional development.

Overall: The overall project purpose is the improvement of facilities associated with the Jacksonville Zoo.


General: The project area lies within the northeastern portion of the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens. The Zoo has received several Corps permits in the past including authorizations for an outfall structure into the Trout River (SAJ-2002-06299), a pile-supported walkway and observational deck (SAJ-2017-01762), and filling of existing on-site ponds associated with multiple zoo exhibits (SAJ-1994-00535).

Soils: According to the Soil Survey of City of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida [U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), 1998], four soil types are present within the project area. The soil units mapped on the site include Evergreen-Wesconnett complex, depressional (map unit 22); Hurricane and Ridgewood soils (map unit 24); Pottsburg fine sand, high (map unit 58); and Urban land (map unit 69).

Vegetative Communities: The on-site vegetative communities were classified using the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS). The on-site wetlands were flagged pursuant to the 1987 Corps Wetland Delineation Manual and all applicable Corps Regional Supplements.

a. Mixed Hardwoods (FLUCFCS code 438): On-site uplands are classified as Mixed Hardwoods. Dominant species in these areas include red maple (Acer rubrum), Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera), and giant reed (Arundo donax).

b. Parks and Zoos (FLUCFCS code 185): The majority of the project area encompasses the existing parking facilities and associated infrastructure for the Jacksonville Zoo. A portion of the parking lot to the east is maintained gravel, while the main parking lot is pavement.

c. Mixed Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCFCS code 617): The on-site wetlands are classified as Mixed Wetland Hardwoods. The dominant species include red maple, tupelo (Nyssa biflora), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus).

d. Reservoirs Less Than 10 Acres (FLUCFCS code 534): There are several small stormwater ponds that can be found in and around the project area. These ponds were part of previously permitted site plans authorized by the Corps and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to affect 1.98 acres of wetlands. The majority of the proposed wetland impacts are associated with the excavation of stormwater ponds. The project provides additional educational and recreational facilities within the Jacksonville Zoo property. Other components of the project include parking expansion and reconfiguration, stormwater pond expansion and reconfiguration, and construction of a new entrance structure.

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 existing onsite wetlands are surrounded by development. The northern wetlands are bordered by Heckscher Drive to the north, the existing zoo access road, and zoo facilities to the south. Proposed wetland and surface water impacts would be generated by the construction of Jacksonville Zoo development and associated infrastructure for public use. Wetland impacts have been avoided and minimized to the fullest extent practical given the nature of the project and the limited amount of developable land left within the boundary of the Jacksonville Zoo. There is no Zoo-owned or City-owned land adjacent to the zoo or in the surrounding area that would accomplish the project goals of enhancing the educational and recreational offerings of the zoo.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

The applicant’s ecological agent compiled a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) and a Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure (WRAP) quantifying and qualifying the loss of wetland functions and services associated with the work proposed. The applicant’s agent submitted both a UMAM and a WRAP to provide flexibility (cost comparison) regarding the purchase of mitigation bank credits as compensatory mitigation for the project. In consideration of those functional assessments, the work proposed would require the purchase of 1.45 UMAM credits or 1.27 WRAP credits.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has determined the permit area has been extensively modified by previous work and there is little likelihood a historic property may be affected.


Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The project site is within the Core Foraging Area of the Cedar Point Road (594003) and Pumpkin Hill (594105) Wood Stork colonies. Moreover, the project site is only 320 feet from the Jacksonville Zoo Wood Stork colony and within the Core Foraging Area of that colony. The project would eliminate some suitable foraging habitat (existing pond littoral areas) but, overall, establish additional new suitable foraging habitat (proposed pond littoral areas). Separately, the Corps recognizes that the Jacksonville Zoo Wood Stork colony site is traversed by elevated boardwalks, is contiguous to existing parking areas, and routinely is exposed to noise or other disturbance(s); and, that the suitable foraging habitat (pond littoral areas) affected by the work proposed provides marginal foraging habitat that would be compensated by the establishment of littoral areas associated with the proposed pond system. In consideration of the available information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-may affect (as the proposed work area is within 2,500 feet of an active colony site). The Corps, through separate correspondence, shall initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is within a consultation area identified by the Corps and the FWS for Red Cockaded Woodpecker. Therefore, this species may utilize the project site. Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Further, as significant forested habitat is located near the project site, it is likely that this species would only opportunistically forage at the site, which the development of the site would not preclude. Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species.

The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species.

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 not affect marine or estuarine habitat nor EFH. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have an adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the Trout River. 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark R. Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.

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.