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SAJ-2020-00414(SP-VEK)

Published March 26, 2020
Expiration date: 4/25/2020
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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:

APPLICANT: Peter Nanula
c/o Concert Fountains Properties, LLC
1 Coast Oak
Newport Coast, CA 92657

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with on-site herbaceous palustrine wetlands and non-wetland surface waters of a golf course. The project site is located at Fountains Country Club Parcel D (Parcel # 00-42-44-27-04-000-0020), Section 27 & 28, Township 44 south, Range 42 east, Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: Take the Florida Turnpike south to the Lake Worth Road exit. Head east and take a right onto Fountains Drive. Parcel D will be in the right past Tivoli Court.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude: 26.6146666667
Longitude: -80.1536083333

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: Residential development

Overall: Construct a development to provide residential housing in southeastern Palm Beach County.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The approximately 32.08 acre project site contains an existing golf course with 5.48 acres of non-wetland water features present as water hazards/ golf course ponds and 0.28 acre of herbaceous palustrine wetlands. The site is regularly mowed and maintained and is surrounded by residential development, water management canals and ponds and roadways.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact 0.28 acre of herbaceous wetlands via the placement of 1,355 yd3 of fill and impact 0.82 acre of surface waters via the placement of 7,502 yd3 of fill and excavation of 16,830 yd3 of material for the construction of a residential development with associated parking, amenities, and a surface water management system.

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:

In total there are 5.48 acres of surface waters and 0.28 acres of wetlands on the subject property. All efforts were made to avoid impacts to the surface waters through the careful design of the proposed development to incorporate the surface waters into the plan. The only impacts to the surface waters are those areas that required filling to allow for access to the rest of the property and an area along the west property line where Palm Beach County Land Development Division required earthwork to establish a 20’ wide lake maintenance easement and perimeter landscape buffer for the adjacent off-site properties. These impacts are unavoidable and total 0.82 acres.

The 0.28 acres of wetlands constitute low areas on the golf course that drain into the lake. These areas are very low quality due to continued mowing and arsenic contamination. Impacts to all 0.28 acres are unavoidable in order to properly remediate the contaminated soils. Compensatory mitigation will be provided to offset any functional loss resulting from the impacts.

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

The applicant proposes to purchase federal herbaceous credits from FPL’s Everglades Mitigation Bank which serves this area.

CULTURAL RESOURCES:
The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and if applicable, 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 has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood stork (Mycteria americana) and the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi).

Wood stork: Potential effects to the threatened Wood stork were assessed using the Programmatic Concurrence Key dated May 18, 2010. Use of this key produced the sequential determination of A-B-C-E-MANLAA. The project site is within three Wood stork core foraging areas and supports marginally Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) in the form of the 5.48 acres of on-site ponds and water hazards and 0.28 acres of herbaceous wetlands. The functional use of the 0.82 acre of open water SFH proposed to be impacted will be replaced on-site and in-kind by the proposed surface water management system associated with the development. As the project is within the service area for the FPL Everglades Mitigation Bank, the functional use of the 0.28 acres of herbaceous wetland SFH proposed to be impacted will be replaced in-kind through the purchasing of mitigation credits at the off-site mitigation bank. Therefore, the Corps has determined the project May Affect, but is Not Likely to Adversely Affect the Wood Stork. By letter dated 18 May 2010, the USFWS stated that for proposed activities analyzed with the May 2010 version of The Wood Stork Effect Determination Key that reach a no effect or MANLAA determination, the FWS concurs with the Corps determination and requirements of Section 7 of ESA are fulfilled.

Eastern indigo snake: As the project site is located in an area where the Eastern indigo snake may occur, potential effects to the species were assessed using the Programmatic Effect Determination Key provided by the USFWS South Florida Ecological Services Office (Revised July 2017). Use of this key produced a sequential determination of A-B-C-D-E-MANLAA. This determination is based on the lack of suitable habitat for the Eastern indigo snake as defined by the effect determination key, as the project site is composed of mowed, maintained golf course uplands that lack suitable vegetation or refugia, and contain 5.48 acres of open water ponds and 0.28 acres of herbaceous wetlands. This determination will require that the applicant utilizes Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (2013) during all construction activities. Therefore, the Corps has determined the project May Affect, but is Not Likely to Adversely Affect the Eastern indigo snake. By letter dated 1 August 2017, the USFWS stated that for proposed activities analyzed with the July 2017 version of the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key that reach a MANLAA, the USFWS concurs with this determination and no further consultation is necessary for the effects of the proposed action.

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. Due to the project’s location in freshwater artificial surface waters and freshwater herbaceous palustrine wetlands, the proposed action would not have an impact on EFH or federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. 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 field 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 within 30 days from the date of this notice. Comments may also be submitted in writing via email at Virginia.E.King@usace.army.mil .

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, Virginia King, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Virginia.E.King@usace.army.mil ; or, by telephone at (561) 472-3515.

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.

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.