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SAJ-2019-01911 (SP-MRE)

Published March 24, 2020
Expiration date: 4/23/2020

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:  Bradley Creek Holdings, LLC
                       2245 St. Johns Avenue
                       Jacksonville, Florida 32204

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Bradley Creek, a tributary to Black Creek. The project site is approximately 744.36 acres in size and is located north of Sandridge Road, east of Henley Road (County Road 739), and south of Russell Road (County Road 209), in portions of Sections 10, 14, 15, 16, and 22, Township 5 South, and Range 25 East, Green Cove Springs, Clay County, Florida.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude 30.0607°
                                                                          Longitude -81.7885°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is mixed-use (residential and commercial) development.

Overall: The overall project purpose is the establishment of a mixed-use (residential and commercial) development serving northeast Clay County.

EXISTING CONDITIONS:

General:

The site has elevations between 10-70 feet NVGD. Highest elevations are located in the south portion of the property adjacent to Sandridge Road, while the lowest elevations are associated with the bottom of Bradley Creek in the north central portion of the property. A number of ditches traverse the property and are associated with historic silvicultural activities. Surface water movement predominantly flows towards Bradley Creek, which drains south to north throughout the central portion of the property.

The site borders the Ronnie Van Zant Park (SAJ-1994-06681) on Sandridge Road, the approved Asbury Crossing subdivision (SAJ-2006-02882) on Henley Road (aka Triple B Ranch land), and existing Silver Creek Hills subdivision, the approved Bradley Crossing subdivision (SAJ-2006-00767), and the approved Anabelle Island subdivision (SAJ-2007-02685) on Russell Road. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) First Coast Expressway (SAJ-2017-00571) approved right-of-way traverses the project site.

Soils: The Soil Survey of Clay County, Florida (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1989) identifies 18 soil types on the site.

Albany fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 1): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is somewhat poorly drained. It is usually found along lower slopes of broad, low ridges and on slight knolls between streams. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of very dark gray fine sand about 6 inches thick. The subsurface layer, to a depth of 47 inches is brown, very pale brown, and light gray mottled fine sand. This soil has a high water table at a depth of 12 to 30 inches for 1 to 4 months during most years. The permeability is moderate.

Blanton fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 2): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is moderately well drained; and, commonly found on slight knolls and ridges on the uplands. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of dark grayish brown fine sand about 6 inches thick. The subsurface layer is fine sand. The upper part, to about 20 inches in depth, is very pale brown. The next layer to a depth of 46 inches is a very pale brown. This soil has a water table at a depth of 60 to 72 inches for 1 to 3 months during most years.

Hurricane fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 3): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is somewhat poorly drained. It is found on slight rises on the flatwoods and in transitional areas between rolling uplands and flatwoods. Typically has a surface layer of gray fine sand about 5 inches thick. Subsurface layer is fine sand, and upper part to a depth of 10 inches is brown. The next layer up to 29 inches is very pale brown. This soil has a high water table at a depth of 24 to 40 inches for 3 to 6 months, and may be at a depth of 10 to 24 inches for about 2 weeks or less during wet periods.

Ocilla loamy fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 4): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is somewhat poorly drained. It is located in relatively small, slightly convex areas on the flatwoods and along the lower slopes of the gently rolling uplands. The surface layer is typically very dark grayish brown loamy fine sand about 6 inches thick with a subsurface layer of loamy fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 11 inches, is yellowish brown. The lower part, to a depth of 27 inches, is a very pale brown with brownish yellow mottles. The water table of this soil is high at a depth of about 12 to 30 inches for 2 to 6 months.

Penney fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 5): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is excessively drained. It is located on the deep, sandy uplands. The surface layer of this soil is gray fine sand about 3 inches thick with the underlying material being fine sand. Up to 17 inches depth is brownish yellow, and the next layer, down to 45 inches, is yellow. The water table is typically found at a depth of more than 72 inches.

Mandarin fine sand (map unit 6): This soil is nearly level and somewhat poorly drained; and, located in small to relatively large areas on slight rises on the flatwoods. The surface layer of this soil is black fine sand about 5 inches thick. Subsurface layer goes to a depth of 28 inches and is light gray fine sand. Upper part of the subsoil goes to a depth of 33 inches and is black fine sand and the sand grains are well coated with organic material. The water table of this soil is typically at a depth of 18 to 40 inches for 2 to 6 months.

Centenary fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 7): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is moderately well drained with slopes that are generally convex. It is typically located on slight rises on the broad flatwoods and along transitional areas on the uplands between small streams and creeks. The surface layer is very dark grayish brown fine sand about 5 inches thick. The subsurface is fine sand with the upper part to a depth of 10 inches being brown in color. The next layer goes to a depth of 43 inches and is very pale brown with mottles. The water table is at a depth of 42 to 60 inches for 1 to 4 months. During periods of drought the water table can be at 60 inches or more in depth.

Sapelo fine sand (map unit 8): This soil is nearly level and poorly drained with slopes that are smooth ranging from 0 to 2 percent; and, is located in small and large areas on the flatwoods. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of very dark gray fine sand about 8 inches thick. The subsurface layer goes to 16 inches deep and is light gray fine sand. The upper part of the subsoil goes to 21 inches deep and is black fine sand with organic coatings on the sand grains. The next layer goes to 29 inches and is dark reddish brown fine sand. The soils water table is high within 12 inches of the surface for 1 to 4 months and recedes to a depth of 40 or more inches during the very dry periods.

Leon fine sand (map unit 9): This soil is nearly level and poorly drained with slopes that are smooth ranging from 0 to 2 percent. This soil is found in broad areas on the flatwoods. The surface layer is very dark gray fine sand about 4 inches thick. The subsurface layer, to a depth of 16 inches, is light gray fine sand. The subsoil is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 20 inches, is black and the sand grains are well coated with organic material. The water table is high at a depth of less than 12 inches for 1 to 4 months, receding to a depth of more than 40 inches during very dry periods.

Ortega fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 10): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is moderately well drained. This soil is typically found on slightly convex slopes on the broad flatwoods and along gentle slopes in the deep, sandy areas on the rolling uplands. The surface layer is dark grayish brown fine sand about 3 inches thick with the underlying material being fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 18 inches, is very pale brown. The next layer, to a depth of 62 inches, is yellow with mottles. The water table is high water table at a depth of 40 to 60 inches for cumulative periods of 6 to 8 months, and at depths of 60 inches or more during the droughty periods.

Surrency fine sand, depressional (map unit 12): This soil is nearly level and very poorly drained with slopes that are concave and range from 0 to 1 percent. This soil is located in shallow depressions and broad drainageways. Typically, the upper part of the surface layer of this soil is black fine sand about 6 inches thick. The lower part, to a depth of 12 inches, is very dark gray fine sand. The subsurface layer, to a depth of about 34 inches, is grayish brown fine sand and the subsoil is sandy clay loam. This soil has a high water table within 12 inches of the surfaces for about 6 months or more, and water is on the surface for 4 or more months during most years.

Ridgewood fine sand, 0 to 5 percent slopes (map unit 18): This soil is nearly level to gently sloping and is somewhat poorly drained with slopes that are generally convex. This soil is located in relatively small areas on the broad flatwoods and along transitional areas on the uplands that are between small creeks streams. This soil has a surface layer of dark gray fine sand about 5 inches thick. The underlying material is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 13 inches, is pale brown. The next layer, to a depth of 24 inches, is very pale brown with brownish yellow mottles. This soil has a high water table at a depth of 24 to 40 inches for 2 to 4 months during most years and 15 to 24 inches deep for brief periods of less than 3 weeks during extreme wet periods. During dry periods it is at a depth of more than 40 inches.

Osier fine sand (map unit 19): This soil is nearly level and poorly drained, with slopes that range from 0 to 2 percent. This soil is located on poorly defined flats on the broad flatwoods and in shallow depressions on the sandy, rolling uplands. The surface layer is very dark gray fine sand about 5 inches thick. The underlying material is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 16 inches, is dark grayish brown. The next layer, to a depth of 33 inches, is grayish brown with yellowish brown mottles. This soil has a high water table at a depth of less than 12 inches for 3 to 6 months during most years.

Pelham fine sand (map unit 22): This soil is nearly level and poorly drained with slopes that are nearly smooth and range from 0 to 2 percent. This soil is located in small and large areas on the flatwoods. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of very dark grayish brown fine sand about 4 inches thick. The upper part of the subsurface layer, to a depth of about 20 inches, is dark grayish brown fine sand. The lower part, to a depth of 26 inches, is light gray fine sand. The water table is high and can be found at a depth of less than 12 inches for 1 to 4 months during most years and during droughty periods, at a depth of more than 40 inches.

Pamlico muck (map unit 27): This soil is a nearly level, very poorly drained soil with slopes that are smooth and range from 0 to 1 percent. This soil is located in large and small swamps. Typically, the upper part of the surface layer is dark brown muck. The lower part, to a depth of 38 inches, is very dark gray muck. The underlying material to a depth of 75 inches or more is grayish brown fine sand. The soil has 4 to 24 inches of water above the surface for 3 to 6 months during most years. The high water table is within 12 inches of the surface for most of the year except during long, extended dry periods.

Rutlege-Osier complex, frequently flooded (map unit 29): Rutlege-Osier complex, frequently flooded consists of nearly level, very poorly drained and poorly drained soils with slopes that are nearly smooth and range from 0 to 2 percent. These soils are interspersed across drainageways and river flood plains. Rutlege mucky fine sand makes up about 40 to 55 percent of this map unit, and Osier fine sand makes up about 35 to 40 percent. Rutlege soil is very poorly drained, typically has a surface layer of black and very dark gray mucky fine sand about 14 inches thick. The underlying material is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 18 inches, is dark gray. The next layer, to a depth of 30 inches, is grayish brown mottled with light grayish brown. Rutlege soil has a high water table within 12 inches of surface for long periods during most years. Runoff is slow to ponded and flooding occurs in most years. Osier soil is poorly drained, typically has surface layer of very dark gray fine sand about 6 inches thick. The underlying material is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 32 inches, is dark grayish brown with yellowish brown mottles. Osier soil has a high water table within 12 inches of the surface for 3 to 6 months during most years and a depth of less than 30 inches for cumulative periods of about 3 to 6 months or more. Flooding occurs in most years.

Pottsburg fine sand (map unit 31): This soil is nearly level and poorly drained with slopes that are nearly smooth and range from 0 to 2 percent. This soil can be found in broad areas on the flatwoods. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of very thick gray fine sand about 7 inches thick. The upper part, to a depth of 28 inches, is gray. The next layer, to a depth of 53 inches, is grayish brown. The high water table can be found at a depth of less than 12 inches for 1 to 4 months during most years and can recede to a depth of more than 40 inches during very dry periods.

Penney fine sand, 5 to 8 percent slopes (map unit 34): This soil has slightly convex moderate slopes and is excessively drained. This soil can be found in small areas on sharp breaking slopes paralleling drainageways and in relatively large areas on long, narrow slopes on the broad uplands. Typically, this soil has a surface layer of gray fine sand about 3 inches thick. The underlying material is fine sand. The upper part, to a depth of 57 inches, is very pale brown. The water table can typically be found at a depth of more than 72 inches.

Vegetative Communities: This site contains 15 generalized community types or land uses characterized by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).

Shrub and Brushland (FLUCFCS code 320): The Shrub and Brushland habitat has little to no canopy and is dominated by saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) in the shrub strata, which also supports species such as bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra) and black berry (Rubus sp.). The herbaceous layer includes species such as chalky blue stem broomsedge (Andropogon glomeratus), dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).

Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS code 411): The pine flatwoods are dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii) in the canopy and contained a sparse sub-canopy layer. The shrub strata in this habitat consists of saw palmetto, wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), and bitter gallberry while the herbaceous layer contains sporadic wire grass (Aristida stricta), milk weed (Asclepias sp.), bracken fern, and various grasses.

Longleaf Pine – Xeric Oak (FLUCFCS code 412): The longleaf pine – xeric oak habitats consist of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), and turkey oak (Quercus laevis), and the shrub strata contains sporadic saw palmetto. The herbaceous layer in this habitat contains black berry, wire grass, gopher apple (Licania michauxii), blazing star (Liatris sp.), bracken fern, paw paw (Asimina sp.), lady lupine (Lupinus villosus), and milkweed.

Pine – Mesic Oak (FLUCFCS code 414): The pine – mesic oak habitats contain slash pine, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), pond pine (Pinus serotina), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), and water oak (Quercus nigra). The shrub strata consists of bitter gallberry, wax myrtle, saw palmetto, highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). The herbaceous layer contains Virginia chainfern (Woodwardia virginica), and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and many vine species including greenbriar (Smilax sp.), grapevine (Vitis sp.), and poison ivy (Rhus radicans).

Mixed Pine (FLUCFCS code 415): The mixed pine habitat contains sand pine (Pinus clausa), slash pine, and turkey oak. The shrub strata within this habitat are sporadic with sparse saw palmetto. The groundcover species includes wire grass, bracken fern, gopher apple, and paw paw.

Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441): The coniferous plantation habitats are dominated by slash pine in the canopy with little to no sub canopy. There is no shrub layer within these habitats; and, the herbaceous layers are dominated by black berry and contain various grass species including chalky bluestem broomsedge.

Wetland Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441W): This habitat describes the wetland areas found inside the planted pine communities scattered throughout the entire property. The canopy and subcanopy consist of slash pine, and longleaf pine in some areas. The understory consists of blackberry, and St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.). The herbaceous layer is made up by chalky bluestem, Virginia chainfern, cinnamon fern, wooly panicum (Dicanthelium scabriusculum), sundew (Drosera capillaris), yellow eyed grass (Xyris sp.), redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.).

Streams and Waterways (FLUCFCS code 510): There are numerous ditch systems throughout the property that make up this habitat. The ditches on site typically contain no canopy or shrub layers and are dominated by the herbaceous strata along the banks, and littoral fringes of the ditches. The typical species located in the herbaceous layer of the ditches include redroot, hat pin (Eriocaulon sp.), wooly panicum, sundew, yellow eyed grass, spike rush (Eleocharis sp.), duck potato (Sagittaria sp.), and sphagnum moss.

Stream and Lake Swamps (Bottomland) (FLUCFCS code 615): The stream and lake swamp habitat is located along the Bradley creek system that runs north/south through the property. The canopy and subcanopy are diverse, consisting of red maple (Acer rubrum), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), and muscle wood (Carpinus caroliniana). The shrub layer contains pipestem (Agarista populifolia) and wax myrtle while the herbaceous layer consists of St. John’s wart, bog button (Lachnocaulon sp.), wooly panicum, royal fern (Osmunda regalis), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus), blue flag iris (Iris virginica), duck potato, and pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata).

Wetland Coniferous Forests (FLUCFCS code 620): The wetland coniferous forests contain canopy and subcanopy species of slash pine, loblolly pine, pond cypress, loblolly bay, sweet gum, and red maple. The shrub layer contains wax myrtle, highbush blueberry, and fetterbush while the shrub layer consists of chalky bluestem, cinnamon fern, Virginia chainfern, spike rush, orange milkwort (Polygala lutea), yellow eyed grass, and various sedges (Carex spp.).

Hydric Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS code 625): The hydric pine flatwoods consist of sparse slash pine and loblolly pine canopy with a minor presence of sweetgum and loblolly bay. The shrub layer in this habitat is generally open with sporadic saw palmetto and wax myrtle. The herbaceous layer within the hydric pine flatwoods is dominated chalky bluestem but also contains orange milkwort, Virginia chainfern, various sedges, bog button, yellow eyed grass, spike rush, and sphagnum moss at the lower portions.

Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS code 630): The wetland forested mixed community can be found throughout the entire property. The canopy is comprised of water oak, loblolly pine, slash pine, sweet gum, and loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus). The shrub strata consist of sporadic saw palmetto, fetterbush, bitter gallberry, pipestem (Agarista populifolia), grape vine, and greenbrier. The herbaceous layer is scarce and contains royal fern, cinnamon fern, Virginia chainfern, yellow eyed grass, and spike rush.

Vegetated Non-Forested Wetlands (FLUCFCS code 640): The vegetated non-forested wetlands are typically smoothed out segments of the ditch systems. There are no canopies or shrub layers, leaving the herbaceous layer to dominate. The species typical of this habitat are spatterdock (Nuphar luteum), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), duck potato, pickerel weed, soft rush (Juncus effusus), and hat pin.

Borrow Areas (FLUCFCS code 742): The borrow area community is located in the southern-most section of the property. The majority of this community consists of open ground and a small body of open water. This habitat does not contain a canopy or shrub strata and is dominated by various grasses including chalky bluestem and also contains St. John’s wort. Additional ground cover species include yellow eye grass, hat pin, and spikerush.

Roads and Highways (FLUCFCS code 814): This land use represents the various trail roads that run throughout the property. All trail roads on property are un-paved, maintained dirt roads.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks a 10-year authorization to discharge clean fill material over a total of 30.59 acres of wetlands within Federal jurisdiction, 1.52 acres of wetlands not within Federal jurisdiction [in consideration of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC)], 4.76 acres of ditches not within Federal jurisdiction, and 0.82 acre of surface waters not within Federal jurisdiction.

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 applicant indicates that the location, orientation, and size of the various wetland systems encompassed by the property rendered the total avoidance of work affecting those systems impractical. For example, work establishing the site infrastructure must cross several wetland areas to access developable uplands; and, several of the wetland systems are so convoluted that numerous acres of developable uplands are interspersed within a wetland-upland mosaic, which mandates work within those wetlands to use the upland areas.

The project falls within the boundaries of the Lake Asbury Master Plan Area (LAMPA) within Clay County. The LAMPA currently establishes a commercial district within the central portion of the subject property. Based on the proposed site design, the location of the commercial component within the central portion of the development is not feasible and the applicant has contacted Clay County officials to relocate the commercial component to the west along Henley Road. A portion of the commercial component has already been approved to be relocated to the west along Henley Road (associated with the Bradley Creek development to north of the subject site). Locating the commercial component in the center of the property would also result in higher quality wetland impacts than those currently proposed. In consideration of this information, the applicant expressed the opinion that the work affecting wetlands is further minimized.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

In consideration of the work proposed, the applicant proposes to preserve 47.23 acres of onsite wetlands and 21.65 acres of onsite uplands; and, purchase 13.27 palustrine forested mitigation bank credits from a federally approved mitigation bank with a service area encompassing the project site.

CULTURAL RESOURCES:

The project site was evaluated by professional archaeologists for the potential presence of resources of cultural or historical significance in May and June of 2019. As a result of the investigation, two archaeological sites and one archaeological occurrence were encountered. Both of these newly recorded sites contain low-potential for future work to produce significant new information; and, therefore, are not likely eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The examination of the site resulted in the compilation of a Cultural Resource Assessment Survey (CRAS) report titled A Cultural Resource Assessment Survey of the Bradley Creek Project, Clay County, Florida (November 2019).

The Corps has reviewed the submitted report and finds the report complete and the field work appropriate and sufficient in accordance with Chapters 1a-46, Florida Administrative Code and with Federal regulation 36 CFR 800: Protection of Historic Properties. The survey documented conditions across the project area through pedestrian survey and shovel testing. As a result of the survey, two new archaeological sites (8CL1652 and CL1653) were identified. The sites are low-density, pre-contact lithic scatters that have limited research potential. The investigator recommended the sites to be ineligible for the NRHP. This office concurs with the investigators recommendations and finds that the proposed project will have no effect to historic properties and no further work is required.

In consideration of the CRAS report, the Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: 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 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 federally listed threatened or endangered species. Therefore, the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.

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 project does not affect marine or estuarine habitat nor EFH. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have an adverse effect on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the St. Johns River. 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 Corps has not verified the proposed extent of wetlands nor the extent of Federal jurisdiction. The Corps will verify this information prior to any final decision associated with any authorization of work.

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, Mark R. Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at mark.r.evans@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.

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.