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: Giannini Family Land Trust, LLC
Attn: Mr. Steve Giannini
985 SR 206 West
St. Augustine, FL 32086
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) hydrologically connected to Pellicer Creek. The project site is located at the southeast intersection of State Road 206 and Interstate 95, Section 2, Township 9 South, Range 29 East, in St. Johns County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 29.747842°
Basic: The basic project purpose is to expand an existing commercial facility.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to expand an existing commercial truck sales and repair center in southern St. Johns County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 15.62 acre site consists of 3.62 acres of commercial development consisting of a truck repair and storage area, an office, and associated stormwater infrastructure. On the east side of the site is a Florida Power and Light (FPL) easement road that is at grade with culverts connecting the project area to the wetland strand on the east side. The remainder of the site is undeveloped with pine flatwoods with slash pine and longleaf pine that has remnants of planted pine mixed with natural regeneration. Understory consists of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), bushy broom grass (Andropogon glomeratus), blackberry (Rubus spp.), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum). Wetlands a mixed forested community. Wetland W-1 (reference Figure 1) maintains a canopy of slash pine, Chinese tallow, and loblolly bay. Wetland W-2 (reference Figure 2) consists of loblolly bay, red maple (Acer rubrum), cypress (Taxodium spp.), slash pine, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Chinese tallow, and laurel oak. The understory includes dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), wax myrtle, saw palmetto, shiny lyonia (Lyonia lucida), gallberry, and herbaceous species such as Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), beakrush (Rhynchospora spp.), and yellow-eyed grass (Xyris spp.).
On-site land use types/vegetative communities were identified utilizing the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS, FDOT, 1999). The on-site land use types/vegetative communities include:
Commercial – 3.62 acres (FLUCCS 140) – An existing commercial truck center is found along the road frontage of SR 206.
Pine Plantation - 8.05 acres (FLUCCS 441) – The remaining uplands (approximately 8.17 acres) found on the subject property are considered remnant pine plantation. Evidence of row planting was identified across the site. The canopy is dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii). Some Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum), live oak (Quercus virginiana), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), and loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) are also located within the uplands, but at much less coverage. The understory is dominated by a thick cover of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Other species found, but at a much lesser extent, include wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), bushy broom grass (Andropogon glomeratus), blackberry (Rubus spp.), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).
Wetland Mixed Forest - 3.49 acres (FLUCCS 630) – Both wetlands onsite consist of a mix forest community. Wetland W-1 maintains a canopy of slash pine, Chinese tallow, and loblolly bay. Wetland W-2 consists of loblolly bay, red maple (Acer rubrum), cypress (Taxodium spp.), slash pine, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Chinese tallow, and laurel oak. The understory includes dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), wax myrtle, saw palmetto, shiny lyonia (Lyonia lucida), gallberry, and herbaceous species such as Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), beakrush (Rhynchospora spp.), and yellow-eyed grass (Xyris spp.).
Transmission Line - 0.46 acres (FLUCCS 832) – This habitat consists of an existing transmission line and access right-of-way.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to construct an expansion of a commercial truck sales and repair center along with associated stormwater infrastructure. The project will include the filling of 3.13 acres of waters of the United States (wetlands).
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:
The site plan has been designed to minimize impact to jurisdictional wetlands, and impacts are limited to a site access road connected to State Road 206. The road has been located at the outer edge of wetland W-1 (reference Figure 1). The eastern road access was a safety requirement by Florida Department of Transportation and St. Johns County. The applicant has reduced the proposed wetland impacts as much as possible to construct this project.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Compensatory mitigation for the proposed 3.13 acres of wetland impacts will be accomplished through the purchase of 1.78 UMAM freshwater forested credits from a federally permitted wetland mitigation bank within the service area.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the project 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 project area.
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): Since the proposed work is located within the 13 mile Core Foraging Area of the Matanzas Marsh Wood Stork Nesting Colony and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Wood Stork Nesting Colony, 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 this Wood Stork Key resulted in the sequential determination A > B > C > Not Likely to Adversely Affect due to project impacts to suitable foraging habitat being less than 0.5 acre. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect, based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens): The property is within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Florida Scrub Jay Consultation Area; therefore, Florida Scrub Jays could be found on site. The property does not host short, scrub oak species with open sandy areas and the project area is fully forested, providing perches for predator birds. Therefore there is no Florida Scrub Jay habitat found on site. Additionally, there were no Florida Scrub Jays found on site. Therefore, the Corps has determined that there would be no effect on this species.
Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): Eastern indigo snake frequents pine plantation; therefore, the species could be found on site. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key, August 2013, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A > B > C > D > E > not likely to adversely affect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect, based on the key for eastern indigo snakes; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report on February 18, 2020. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. 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 public notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. The Corps’ initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH. Our final determination relative to project impacts is subject to review 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 Corps has verified the extent of Federal jurisdiction.
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 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, Terri M. Mashour, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (904) 232-1940; or, by telephone at (904) 570-4512.
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.