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: Mr. Bill Young
St. Johns County Utility Department
1205 State Road 16
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Turnbull Creek. The project site is located south of State Road 16 and just east of South Ravello Drive, and extends south, southeast approximately 1 mile. The project site is located in Section 38, Township 6 South, Range 28 East, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from Jacksonville, take Interstate 95 south to the International Golf Parkway exit. Turn west onto International Golf Parkway and then turn east onto State Road 16. Travel east on State Road 16 approximately 1.7 miles. The project site is located on the south side of State Road 16 at the St. Johns County’s Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Sit Mitigation Area.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.945611°
Basic: The basic project purpose is the installation of a utility line.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the installation of a water main to serve the new Steeplechase development and future growth of development to the south.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site traverses the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area, therefore the area surrounding the project site is the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area. The project site contains the following vegetative communities as categorized by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCCS): Pine Flatwoods (FLUCCS 4110), Stream and Lake Swamps (FLUCCS 6150), Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCCS 6300), and Surface Water (FLUCCS 5100). The Pine Flatwoods community consists of 1.2 acres and is comprised of slash pine, loblolly bay, water oak, redbay, and live oak. The shrub layer in this community is dominated by a mixture of gallberry, rusty lyonia, shiny blueberry, saw palmetto, deerberry, and wax myrtle. The herbaceous groundcover is fairly diverse and is dominated by slender goldenrod, starrush whitetop, candyroot, chalky bluestem, and coinwort. The Stream and Lake Swamps community consists of 0.50 acre in the southeast portion of the project site and is associated with Turnbull Creek. This community has a dense canopy of red maple, bald cypress, blackgum, sweetgum, swampbay, sugarberry, American hornbeam, American elm, and pignut hickory. The Wetland Forested Mixed community consists of 2.0 acres and has a dominant canopy species of slash pine, pond cypress, red maple, blackgum, and loblolly bay. The understory in this community is dominated by wax myrtle, buttonbush, myrtle-leaved holly, swamp dogwood, highbush blueberry, Virginia chain fern, cinnamon fern, and royal fern. The Surface Water community consists of 0.01 acre and is a ditch that connects forested wetlands to Turnbull Creek. The area surrounding the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area consists of residential development to the west, State Road 16 to the north, and vacant land to the south and east.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill material in 2.0 acres of waters of the United States, including forested wetlands, in association with the installation of a water main that is a segment of a larger water main that would run from State Road 16 to the new Steeplechase development. The water main would be located within the County Road 2209 right-of-way and would connect existing and future development. St. Johns County (County) received Department of the Army authorization (SAJ-2006-07358) to install the water main that would run from State Road 16 to the new Steeplechase development. The County’s project omitted the segment that traverses the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area. St. Johns County Utility Department is proposing to impact 2.0 acres of waters of the United States in association with the installation of the segment of water main that traverses the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area.
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:
Avoidance and minimization of wetland impacts were evaluated during the design. The current location for this project was selected since it is within an existing road right-of-way. This avoided impacting other undeveloped areas for the creation of an independent utility corridor. The utility corridor width was minimized to the greatest extent possible and represents the minimum area a contractor needs to install the pipe as well as allow County staff access to the pipeline for future inspections and maintenance.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant proposes to utilize 1.53 functional units of credits from the Turnbull Creek Regional Off-Site Mitigation Area as compensatory mitigation for the propose impacts to waters of the United States.
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: Since the proposed work is located within the Core Foraging Area for the Wood Stork, the Corps evaluated the potential impacts to the Wood Stork using 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 (Wood Stork Key). Use of the Wood Stork Key resulted in the following sequence: A > B > No effect to the Wood Stork, with no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife required.
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 impact 2.0 acres of Wetland Forested Mixed community which includes a dominant canopy species of slash pine, pond cypress, red maple, blackgum, and loblolly bay. The impact area also includes an understory dominated by wax myrtle, buttonbush, myrtle-leaved holly, swamp dogwood, highbush blueberry, Virginia chain fern, cinnamon fern, and royal fern. This habitat is utilized by various life stages of reptiles, amphibians, and mammal species such as snakes, frogs, turtles, birds, rodents, armadillo, opossums, and raccoons. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic because the proposed work would be located in forested wetlands and under a non-navigable location of Turnbull 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, P.O. 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box, Jacksonville, Florida, by electronic mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (904)232-2503.
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.