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: MacDill Air Force Base (AFB)
Attn: Robert Wynn
7621 Hillsborough Loop Drive
MacDill AFB, FL 33621
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Tampa Bay. The project site is located on the northwest end of the MacDill AFB airfield, in Sections 20, 21, 29, Township 30 South, Range 18 East, in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-275 in Tampa, take Dale Mabry Highway South for 6.0 miles. Take a right on North Boundary Blvd, then take a left to stay on N Boundary Blvd until entering the Air Force Base. Take a left on Radar Road to continue to the airfield.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Airfield Modification
Overall: Modify clear zone adjacent to MacDill AFB runway (RWY 04/22) to meet Air Force facility standards.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Project site is located on the north side of RWY 04/22. The existing runway lateral clearance distance or clear zone (an unobstructed area adjacent to a runway) does not meet Air Force facility criteria. Air Force guidance provided in the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) 3-260-01, Airfield and Heliport Planning and Design Manual, requires that the lateral clear zone of a runway be 1,000-feet, measured perpendicularly from the runway centerline. The runway clear zone is currently 750-feet, and within the 750-feet to 1,000-foot clear zone there is an existing road, a security fence, drainage ditches, and vegetation obstructions. The Base has waivers issued for the clear zone layout and the presence of above ground structures. However, above ground structures will need to be removed and the area will need to be re-graded to meet the 1,000-foot lateral clearance zone criteria.
The project site contains a total of 26.20 ac of aquatic resources; five (5) surface waters and five (5) wetlands. These features include salt water marsh and saltern wetlands, mangrove forests, freshwater forested wetlands, and roadside ditches and swales.
OSW-3 (0.89 ac) and OSW-4 (1.81 ac) are road-side ditch features that are connected via a culvert. The vegetation within the ditches are comprised primarily of carolina willow (Salix caroliniana), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata), peruvian primrose-willow (Ludwigia peruviana), pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), and virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica). OSW-9 (0.54 ac) is primarily a grassy swale located just south of Radar Road. This feature is connected to OSW 4 through a culvert connection off site.
WL-5 (4.62 ac) is a transitional, freshwater forested system that continues north to a small upland forest. The vegetation within this wetland is comprised primarily of american elm (Ulmus americana), laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), carolina willow, saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), Peruvian primrose willow, Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), wax myrtle, redroot (Lachnathes caroliniana), camphorweed (Pluchea rosea), sedges (Cyperus spp.), and swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum).
WL-5A (1.02 ac) is a mangrove ditch adjacent to WL-5. This feature connects to OSW/WL-7 (1.17 ac), which is a man-made ditch system that flows to the southwest to become an expansive mangrove forest wetland system. The vegetation consists primarily of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), saltbush, Brazilian pepper, and giant leatherfern (Acrostichum danaeifolium).
WL-7 (5.57 ac) and WL7-A (2.97 ac) consist of a mangrove forest and transitional, freshwater forested wetland system. The vegetation within these wetland systems are comprised primarily of black mangrove, white mangrove, red mangrove, buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), and brazilian pepper.
WL-8 (7.17 ac) and OSW/WL-8 (0.44 ac) consist of a saltwater marsh and saltern wetland system. The vegetation is divided by habitat type, with saltbush, black mangrove, buttonwood and marsh elder (Iva frutescens) comprising the majority of the saltwater marsh system and seashore dropseed grass (Sporobolus virginicus), saltwort (Batis maritima), glasswort (Salicornia spps.), foxtail (Setaria spp.), and sea oxeye (Borrichia frutescens) comprising the saltern portion of the wetland.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into 17.36 acres of wetlands and surface waters to establish a 1,000-foot lateral clear zone. The designated clear zone will be filled and graded as needed to provide a smooth surface with a gradual slope toward proposed drainage features. Work includes seeding and placing sod for stabilization, creating shallow, above ground swales; lining shallow ditches with crushed concrete; and replacing open ditches with underground piping. No structures or pavement are being proposed in wetland or surface water areas.
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 project plan has eliminated impacts to two wetlands, previously identified as Wetlands 1 and 2. Additionally, storm water management is being proposed using ditching and minimal piping to avoid development of off-site ponds in adjacent higher quality wetlands. Drainage features have been designed to be within already disturbed areas or immediately adjacent to the cleared/filled areas to minimize encroachment into natural areas and adjacent wetlands as much as possible. To avoid impact to adjacent wetlands, erosion and sediment control measures will also be implemented
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation proposal to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: Impacts will be mitigated with the purchase of mitigation bank credits from the Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank (TBMB). Estuarine Herbaceous/Non-Forested credits will be purchased for areas classified as Mangrove; Freshwater Non-Forested Credits will be purchased for areas classified as Freshwater Forested; and Estuarine Non-Forested Credits will be purchased for areas classified as Salt-Water Marsh or Tidal Flat. See enclosed Impact Summary and Functional Analysis.
The Corps has not completed the evaluation for the impacts or determined the requirement for compensatory mitigation.
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 has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Piping plover (Charadrius melodus). Based on the project description and location, no impacts to this species or its habitat will occur as a result of the proposed action.
The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the wood stork (Mycteria Americana). Use of the 2008 Wood Stork Effect Determination Key yielded the following progression: A>B No Effect. Project site is more than 2,500 ft of an active colony site and project does not affect suitable foraging habitat.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA), the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). Use of the 2010 Eastern Indigo Snake Key yielded the following progression: A>B>C>D>E MANLAA. Permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s most current guidance for Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake and conditioned such all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, shall be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If excavating potentially occupied burrows, active or inactive, individuals must first obtain state authorization via a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent permit. The excavation method selected shall minimize the potential for injury of an indigo snake. The Permittee shall follow the excavation guidance provided in the most current FWC Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines found at http://myfwc.com/gophertortoise. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows shall be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and if occupied by an indigo snake, no work shall commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of the proposed work.
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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would have no effect on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in Tampa Bay. 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. The Southwest Florida Water Management District permit number is 43014123.149.
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, FL 33610 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, Leanne Obra, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120 Tampa, Florida 33610, by telephone at (813)769-7071, by fax at (813)769-7061, or by electronic mail at Leanne.E.Obra@usace.army.mil.
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, aesthetics, 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.