TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposes to reissue Regional General Permit SAJ-86 (SAJ-86) pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344), as described below:
WATERWAY & LOCATION: The reissued SAJ-86 would be limited to non-navigable and non-tidal waters, including wetlands, which are located within: 1)The Lake Powell watershed, 2) Various drainage basins of the Choctawhatchee Bay watershed, 3) Various drainage basins of the West Bay watershed, and 4) Two small areas which drain either directly to the Gulf of Mexico, or via the Camp Creek Lake watershed into the Gulf of Mexico, all within an area encompassing approximately 48,150 acres in southeastern Walton County and southwestern Bay County, Florida (Exhibit 3).
PURPOSE & WORK: The purpose of SAJ-86 is to authorize the discharge of fill or dredged material into non-tidal waters of the United States, including wetlands, for the construction of residential, commercial, recreational and institutional projects and their attendant features, including roads, utility lines and stormwater treatment facilities within an area of rapid residential and commercial development, while protecting the aquatic environment on a watershed scale by authorizing a forward-looking, flexible and predictable permitting program, that would minimize unavoidable direct impacts to highest quality aquatic resources, minimize impacts to lower quality aquatic resources, and mitigate for direct, indirect and cumulative impacts within the affected watersheds of an approximately 48,150-acre area in southeastern Walton County and southwestern Bay County.
BACKGROUND: Pursuant to 33 CFR 325.2.e(2) regional general permits shall be issued for a period of no more than five years. SAJ-86 was originally issued on June 30, 2004 and was reissued on June 23, 2009 and March 25, 2015. The reissued SAJ-86 expires on March 25, 2020. The Environmental Assessment/Statement of Findings (EASOF) for SAJ-86, as issued in 2004, and the Supplement to the EASOF for the reissuance of SAJ-86 in 2009 and 2015, can be found at the Jacksonville District’s website:
Twenty-one projects have been authorized by the Corps using RGP SAJ-86, since it was issued in 2004 and reissued in 2009 and 2015.
PROPOSED EDITS, CLARIFICATIONS, UPDATES and MODIFICATIONS: Minor proposed modifications to SAJ-86 include addition of clarification text, updating of application forms, changing the identification of appendices to exhibits, and re-numbering the exhibits.
Substantive proposed modifications include the following:
1) Change naming convention from ‘low quality’ wetland to ‘altered’ wetland;
2) Altering SAJ-86 sub-basins to reflect the Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 12 basins;
3) Increasing road width allowances to be consistent with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) standards, i.e. from 100 feet to 160 feet;
4) Addition of a conservation easement template to be utilized for preservation of areas outside of project-specific compensatory mitigation areas which allows limited maintenance activities.
5) Revised time limit to record conservation easements over Conservation Unit areas from 30 days from issuance to annually (February 15th).
A complete copy of the updated and modified draft SAJ-86 and its exhibits proposed for this reissuance are enclosed with this notice.
Comments regarding the reissuance of SAJ-86 should be submitted in writing at the letterhead address to the District Engineer within 45 days from the date of this notice. Written comments can also be sent to the Corps project manager, as identified below, by electronic mail or by fax. A public meeting will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at the Panama City Beach City Hall, Panama City Beach, Florida.
If you have questions concerning this public notice, you may contact the Corps project manager, Mrs. Lisa S. Lovvorn, at the letterhead address, 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 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.