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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Dominant Assets, LLC
Attn: Mr. Mark Nugent
1148B Fruit Cove Road
St. Johns, Florida 32259
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The proposed project would affect intertidal waters of the United States, including wetlands, associated with Pablo Creek. The project site is located at 14608 Stacey Road, in Section 6, Township 3 South, Range 29 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.27037°
Basic: The basic project purpose is residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the establishment of a residential development in eastern Duval County that provides access to navigable waters of the Intracoastal Waterway.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site encompasses several communities identified by the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) developed by the Florida Department of Transportation:
1. Uplands 2.16 acres
a. Religious (FLUCFCS code 172) 1.84 acres - The property currently contains an abandoned church building, parking lot, driveways, and adjacent yard.
b. Pine – Mesic Oak (FLUCFCS code 414) 0.32 acre - The southern half of the property contains areas of upland forest. The canopy in these areas is dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii) mixed with cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), water oak (Quercus nigra), and southern red cedar (Juniperus silicicola). The understory and ground cover vegetation include such species as yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).
2. Wetlands and Other Surface Waters 0.43 acre onsite
a. Wax myrtle (FLUCFCS code 630) 0.21 acre - The property contains a relatively narrow strip of shrubby wetland between the salt marsh and the upland. This wetland strip is hydrated from seepage of ground water from the adjacent upland and is not tidally influenced except on storm tides. The dominant vegetation is wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) mixed with lesser amounts of saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia).
b. Salt Marsh (FLUCFCS code 642) 0.22 acre - The salt marsh bordering the eastern edge of the property is vegetated primarily by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) and black needle rush (Juncus roemerianus).
c. Open Water (FLUCFCS code 510) - A section of man-made boat canal is located east of the property. Two tidal creeks drain into the western end of the boat canal and are dry at low tide.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material over 0.02 acre of wetlands to facilitate the establishment of sections of three lots of a proposed residential community known as The Cove at Isle of Palms. In addition, the applicant seeks authorization to construct a 10-slip boat dock to facilitate navigable water access to the proposed community residents. The access pier would measure 5-foot by 278-foot; and, be elevated 4 feet above grade over the salt marsh and 5 feet above mean high water on pilings. The spacing between the dock planks would be ¼-inch. A 3-foot by 40-foot aluminum ramp would connect the access pier to a floating dock. The floating dock would include a main section that would measure 6-foot by 140-foot. Five (5) finger piers measuring 4-foot by 30-foot would connect to the main section and form vessel slips.
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:
Wetland impacts were avoided as much as possible while still accomplishing the overall project purpose. Due to requirements associated with the final grade and elevation of the proposed parcels, the limited fill area is necessary to facilitate the establishment of a uniform finished floor elevation of all of the parcels above the 100-year flood zone elevation. Best management practices, such as silt fencing and turbidity barriers would be utilized prior to and during construction.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant’s ecological agent submitted a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) quantifying and qualifying the potential loss of wetland functions and services associated with the proposed work. The UMAM calculated the functional loss as 0.01 unit. Therefore, the applicant proposed the purchase of 0.01 palustrine forested federal credit from the Fish Tail Swamp Mitigation Bank (SAJ-2007-05851).
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. Previous development has occurred at the site. The project site encompasses an abandoned church building and pervious parking 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.
Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is approximately 3 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for red-cockaded woodpecker; and, within the consultation area identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Corps for this species. Habitat for red-cockaded woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities; therefore, the Corps has determined no effect to the woodpecker.
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The project site is approximately 3 miles from the Dee Dot Ranch (594004) wood stork colony; and, within the Core Foraging Area of this colony; therefore, the wood stork could utilize the area encompassed by the project Endangered Species Act scope of analysis. The proposed project would affect less than 0.5 acre of suitable foraging habitat for wood storks. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized 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, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-C-may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, and no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is necessary, per the programmatic agreement.
The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species, other than what is listed above. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996; however, the project site does not encompass an area designated as EFH by the NMFS. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have an adverse impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in Pablo 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 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, Renee Riker, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1904; or, by telephone at (904)232-1497.
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.