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. Michael Foster
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS #520
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Grand Lagoon. The project site is located within St. Andrews State Park in Sections 15, 15, 21, 22, and 23, Township 4 South, Range 15 West, Panama City Beach, Bay County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Highway 30, take Peacok Drive south to Thomas Drive. Take bridge over Grand Lagoon and turn left at the red light. Follow the main paved drive until you enter St. Andrews State Park. Follow State Park Circle to the left and the wetlands would be on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.136683°
Basic: Flood protection.
Overall: Park improvements to alleviate flooding of the existing camp sites at St. Andrews State Park in Bay County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland systems on the project site consist of 4.66 acres of freshwater systems (0.27 acres of hydric pine flatwoods (FLUCFCS No. 625), 0.24 acres of vegetated non-forested wetlands (FLUCFCS No. 640) and 4.15 acres of freshwater marsh (FLUCFCS No. 641) and 1.59 acres of saltwater systems (0.86 acres of bays and estuaries (FLUCFCS No. 540) and 0.73 acres of saltwater (FLUCFCS No. 642). The campground facility and internal road system project area has vegetation communities consisting of coastal scrub, pine flatwoods and pine-mesic oak habitats adjacent to the work within the project limits. Predominate vegetative species includes slash pine (Pinus elliottii), sand live oak (Quercus geminata), Choctahatchee sand pine (Pinus clausa var. immuginata), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). The existing area surrounding the project area consists of Grand Lagoon to the north, St. Andrew Bay to the east, a mixture of residential and commercial to the west, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The applicant seeks authorization to perform grading and stormwater retrofitting within the campground at St. Andrews State Park. More than 40% of the campground is adversely affected when flooding occurs. This flooding has degraded the State Park facilities.
PROPOSED WORK: The proposed work includes filling 0.20 acres of non-tidal wetlands to rebuild the campground and stormwater management facilities. The applicant is also proposing to temporarily impact 0.059 acres of non-tidal wetlands to construct stormwater outfall structures.
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:
Impact is driven by the existing location and conditions. The four temporary impact areas were minimized by reducing the length of the outfall structures. The project design was adjusted to avoid impacts to estuarine habitat and essential fish habitat (EFH) by reducing the number of camping sites.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Stormwater from the campground facility currently discharges into Grand Lagoon without treatment. The proposed project would direct stormwater into stormwater water management ponds for treatment and retention pursuant to Northwest Florida Water Management District criteria. The stormwater treatment would benefit the water quality of Grand Lagoon. After the temporary impact areas are restored to grade, the applicant is proposing cordgrass plants to restore the habitat.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate 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: Per the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, the Corps has determined the proposed project is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake. No additional correspondence with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required.
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 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 email@example.com; 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.