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: Manasota Beach Ranchlands, LLLP
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Myakka River. The project site is located near the intersection of Tamiami Trail and River Road, in Section 4, Township 39 South, Range 20 East and Sections 33 & 34, Township 40 South, Range 20 East; North Port, Sarasota County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 in Sarasota, travel south to River Road/County Road 777 (Exit 191). Travel south on River Road to the intersection with Tamiami Trail (US 41). Turn right, and travel approximate 0.5 miles. The site is on the left before you come to West Villages Parkway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Housing and Commercial
Overall: To construct a mixed-use residential and commercial development, including supporting roadway and stormwater infrastructure, within the Venice area of southern Sarasota County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site encompasses 307 acres south of U.S. 41 and west of River Road. Wetlands onsite total 92.74 acres, including 11.87 acres of forested wetlands and 53.38 acres of freshwater marsh. The forested wetlands are dominated by slash pine and wetland hardwoods, while the marsh areas contain maidencane, pickerelweed, sedges, and numerous other herbaceous and shrub species. In addition, the site contains 2.57 acres of surface waters (ditches). The remaining 212.07 acres of the site are uplands. The existing area surrounding the project consists of a state college, wastewater treatment facility, and undeveloped lands.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact 3.04 acres of wetlands to construct the proposed mixed-use development including the associated infrastructure.
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: “Several site plan alternatives were considered for avoidance and minimization of impacts. Road alignments were designed to avoid wetlands to the maximum extent practicable except where road crossings are necessary. Road crossings are proposed in the narrowest portion of the wetlands to minimize impacts. The road alignment will also result in minor encroachments at the edge of wetlands, but was designed to meander around wetlands for avoidance and minimization. Impacts are also proposed to some of the smaller, isolated wetlands (or wetland fingers) that are challenging to design around without rendering significant loss of developable uplands. All larger, high quality wetlands are being avoided.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: “Mitigation will be provided through the purchase of mitigation credits from the Myakka River Mitigation Bank.”
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: The Corps determined the proposal may affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps determined the proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps evaluated potential impacts to the wood stork using the Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork, dated May 18, 2010 (Key).
The Corps has programmatic concurrence with the sequential determination of A > B > C > E “not likely to adversely affect” pursuant to the Key.
The Corps has preliminarily determined that the proposal may affect, but will not adversely affect the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops Floridanus). Survey data will be provided to the FWS for further evaluation.
The Corps determined the proposal will have no effect on the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). No further coordination is 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 affect inland freshwater resources. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries. 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 Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 or via email to email@example.com 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, Candice Wheelahan, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7064.
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.