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: Lockhead Martin RMS-Sikorsky
Attn.: Patrick Linn
17900 Bee Line Highway
Jupiter, Florida 33478
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated within wetlands located on 17900 Bee Line Highway, Section 14, Township 41 South, Range 41 East, in Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95, exit west onto PGA Boulevard and continue N/NW onto Beeline Highway, within Pratt & Whitney.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is for facility expansion.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to expand the existing Development Flight center facility at Pratt & Whitney/Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is situated within the approximately 7100-acre Pratt & Whitney/Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation property located in Jupiter, Florida. The proposed project extends from the northeast corner of the existing tarmac into and east of an existing upland fill road that provides access to a water level staff gauge and the windsock for flight operations. The majority of the overall property is composed of undeveloped natural areas containing mostly wetlands that are contiguous with large amounts of natural areas.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge 11,085 cubic yards of fill into 1.91 acres of wetlands (1.76 acres of herbaceous wetlands and 0.15 acres of forested), where an additional 0.88 acres of wetlands (0.71 acres of herbaceous wetlands and 0.17 acres of forested) will indirectly impacted. The discharge of fill will support the installation of a new dry retention pond, launch pad, and sound barrier wall.
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:
• Only clean fill materials will be used
• Erosion control measures will be used during construction
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –
The applicant has proposed to compensate wetland impacts by purchase of credits at a mitigation bank.
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 if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the following species. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act:
May affect, not likely to adversely affect:
Wood stork (Mycteria americana): The action area is located within 7.85 miles of one wood stork nesting colony according to the google earth RAR layers. The site includes temporary periods of ponding which would provide wood stork foraging habitat. Using the 2010 Wood Stork Key, the following pathway results in A, B, C, E; not likely to adversely affect. With an outcome of “not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” as outlined in the key, the requirements of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act are fulfilled for the eastern indigo snake and no further action is required.
Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi): Use of The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Indigo Snake Key dated 1 August 2017 resulted in a path of A-B-C-D-E, not likely to adversely affect. A determination of “not likely to adversely affect” was made for the Indigo snake authorization includes the special conditions for the Eastern Indigo Snake Protection Measures during construction and the permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, shall be evacuated via methods pursuant to FWC excavation guidance prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrows. Additionally, holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows shall be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area with work stopping if an indigo snake is discovered. With an outcome of “not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” as outlined in the key, the requirements of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act are fulfilled for the eastern indigo snake and no further action is required.
Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus): The project is located within the species consultation area. The species regularly occur in lake shallows along the shores and islands of many major lakes, including Lakes Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Tohopekaliga (Toho) and East Toho. They also regularly occur in the expansive marshes of southern Florida such as Water Conservation Areas 1, 2, and 3, Everglades National Park, the upper St. John’s River marshes, and Grassy Waters Preserve. Kite foraging habitat consists of relatively shallow wetland vegetation, either within extensive marsh systems, or in lake littoral zones. The project site is not located within these areas specifically, but is located within the consultation area and does contain these types of habitats. The project will cause a loss in potential foraging habitat, so therefore the Corps has determined that the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the species.
Florida’s Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus): The project activity is located within the Florida Bonneted Bat consultation area and will impact foraging and roosting habitat. The Corps has requested a limited bat survey, and will consult with the USFWS as appropriate once the survey is submitted and reviewed.
Audubon's Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus audubonii): The project is located within the species consultation area. Habitat for the caracara consists of large expanses of pastures, grasslands, or prairies dotted with numerous shallow ponds and sloughs and single or small clumps of live oaks, cabbage palms, and cypress. The project consists of potential foraging habitat that will be impacted, so therefore the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the species.
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. No EFH is located within or areas affected by the project as the wetlands are freshwater. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse 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 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 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, Christian Karvounis, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Christian.G.Karvounis@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561) 472-3508.
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.