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: City of Palm Coast
160 Lake Avenue
Palm Coast, Florida 32164
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States, including wetlands, associated with Bulow Creek. The project site is located from 63 Seattle Trail to 5 Seafarer Court, in Sections 28, 33, and 34, Township 12 South, Range 31 East, Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 278 and head west. Proceed on Old Dixie Highway until the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and turn right. Proceed until the intersection of Seminole Woods Boulevard and turn right. Proceed until the intersection of Sesame Boulevard and turn right. Proceed until the intersection of the utility easement and project corridor is located on the left side of the Sesame Boulevard within the easement.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.426671°
Basic: The basic project purpose is utility line activities.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to establish utility connections and service road for the expansion of a municipal well field in Palm Coast, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: On-site land use and vegetative communities were classified in accordance with the Florida Land Use Cover & Forms Classification System and are described in more detail below.
(1) 411-Pine Flatwoods: This is the dominant vegetative regime along most of the western edge of the Project Site. The canopy is dominated by slash pines (Pinus elliottii) and loblolly pines (Pinus taeda). The mid-story and under-story are extremely dense and composed of woody species such as saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex glabra), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), sand live oak (Quercus geminata), and myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia).
(2) 833-Water Supply Plants: This area exhibits a pre-existing municipal well casing that rises above ground in the center of a concrete pad. There is also a disturbed perimeter that exhibits a monoculture of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica).
b. Wetlands and Surface Waters
(1) 510-Streams and Waterways: This area is an excavated ditch that is cut through the north portion of the Project Site and drains into the large canal that runs east-west along the northern edge of the Project Site. This area was not flagged, as the boundary is located at the top-of-bank.
(2) 630-Wetland Forested Mixed: These areas exist in a patchwork with the areas of Pine Flatwoods. The canopy in these areas is dominated by a mixture of slash pine, red maple (Acer rubrum), pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica). The mid-story is composed of wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) and dahoon holly (Ilex cassine). The understory is composed of species such as little blue maidencane (Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), lamprush (Juncus effusus) and marsh pink (Sabatia sp).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean-fill material into 0.73-acre of wetlands and 0.26-acre of relatively permanent waterways to facilitate the installation of a pipeline, service road, and electrical utilities.
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:
“In determining whether to grant or deny a permit, the ACOE shall consider whether practicable design modifications have been implemented to avoid and minimize wetland impacts and to balance the need for design modifications as compared to the environmental benefit those design modifications achieve. The footprint is highly constrained by the project requirements. The infrastructure (pipeline, service road and electrical) must access the existing wellhead in the middle of the project. The City of Palm Coast already owns the portion of the Subject Parcel that contains existing wellheads. The City must be able to access the wellheads to service the well equipment and convey water from the wellhead. The City originally planned to place the access infrastructure to the east, further into the power easement. This would have allowed the City to avoid most of the wetlands onsite. The power company rejected this site plan due to proximity to the existing power transmission lines. Access from the west is not feasible due to the existing development in place.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Mitigation for the 0.73 acres of wetland impacts will be provided through the purchase of 0.37 credits from the LSMB.”
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.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), and May Affect, Not Likely Adversely Affect to the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi)
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 Bulow Creek. 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 32232-0019 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, Brad Carey, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at email@example.com; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405.
[OPTIONAL FOR ATF APPLICATIONS] ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: After reviewing all available information pertaining to the completed work, the Department of the Army has not recommended legal action at this time. Final determination regarding legal action will be made after review of the project through the permit procedure.
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.