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:
Belleair Capital Group Parrish Plantation, LLC
36 Winston Drive,
Belleair, FL 33756
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Gamble Creek. The project site is located east of US 301 along the south side of Wauchula Rd (SR 62) and the west side of Spencer-Parrish Rd, in Sections 20, 21, 28 & 29, Township 33 South, Range 19 East, in Manatee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take I-75 south to Exit 229; Turn left on Moccasin Wallow Rd; Go east to US 301 and turn right; Go south to Wauchula Rd (SR 62) and turn left; Go east approx. 0.25 mi. and the site is on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Mixed-use residential and commercial development.
Overall: To construct a mixed-use residential/commercial development east of I-75 in northern Manatee County, FL.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site totals 255.49 acres, of which 190.97 acres are characterized as uplands. The uplands are primarily abandoned citrus grove and improved pasture. The site contains a total of one (1) freshwater forested wetland (24.27 acres), seven (7) freshwater marsh wetlands, thirty-one (31) surface water ditches, and one (1) cattle pond. The freshwater forested wetland is a shallow transitional habitat comprised primarily of laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) and red maple (Acer rubrum). The freshwater marshes occur in the northeast and central eastern portions of the site and are dominated by nuisance/exotic species. These systems are surrounded by active improved pastures, abandoned citrus groves, and major highways. The wetlands are interconnected by a large network of agricultural ditches and swales that have severely altered the wetland hydrology. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of agricultural uses and major highway corridors.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into 6.79 acres of wetlands and surface waters (0.77 ac of marsh wetlands and 6.02 ac of agricultural ditches) to construct a mixed-use residential/commercial development.
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: Project has been designed to preserve the highest quality wetlands on site.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Project area is not located in the service area of an approved mitigation bank, therefore applicant proposes to conduct on-site permittee-responsible mitigation, using enhancement methods, to offset impacts. The Corps has not completed the evaluation for the impacts or determined the requirement for compensatory mitigation.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii), Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), and Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). Based on the project description and location, no impacts to these species or their habitat will occur as a result of the proposed action.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA), the wood stork (Mycteria Americana). Use of the 2010 Wood Stork Effect Determination Key yielded the following progression: A>B>C>E MANLAA. Project site is situated 5.7 miles from a colony site and contains suitable foraging habitat (SFH). Project impacts to SFH is greater than 0.5 ac and is within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a colony site. Project activities will include SFH compensation in accordance with the CWA section 404(b)(1) guidelines, that will not be contrary to the Habitat Management Guidelines (HMG).
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA), the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Use of the 2017 Eastern Indigo Snake Key yielded the following progression: A>B>C>D>E MANLAA. Permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s most current guidance for Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake and conditioned such all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, shall be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If excavating potentially occupied burrows, active or inactive, individuals must first obtain state authorization via a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent permit. The excavation method selected shall minimize the potential for injury of an indigo snake. The Permittee shall follow the excavation guidance provided in the most current FWC Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines found at http://myfwc.com/gophertortoise. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows shall be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and if occupied by an indigo snake, no work shall commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of the proposed work.
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 have no effect on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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. The Southwest Florida Water Management District permit number is 793322.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, FL 33610 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, Leanne Obra, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120 Tampa, Florida 33610, by telephone at (813)769-7071, by fax at (813)769-7061, or by electronic mail at Leanne.E.Obra@usace.army.mil.
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, aesthetics, 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.
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.