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: Jacksonville Electric Authority
Mr. Andrew Sears
21 West Church Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Trout River. The project site is located on the south side of Robena Road, west of Verde Gardens Road, in Section 4, Township 1 South, Range 26 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Traveling from Jacksonville take Interstate 95 (I-95) north to Interstate 295 (I-295). Follow I-295 to the State Road 115 exit and turn south onto SR-115 and follow to Robena Road. Turn west onto Robena Road and follow to the project site that is located on the south side of Robena Road just west of Verde Gardens Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is the construction of a water pump station.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a water pump station to accommodate the growing residential development and infrastructure in the immediate area.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is located along Robena Road and includes two Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System communities: Pine Flatwoods and Wetland Forested Mixed. The Pine Flatwoods community includes slash pine, saw palmetto, wax myrtle, and dog fennel. The Wetland Forested Mixed community incudes slash pine, red maple, sweetgum, loblolly pine, bald cypress, tupelo, saw palmetto, Virginia chain fern, cinnamon fern, and fetterbush. There are currently no structures on the project site. The project site is bordered to the east by vacant land and bordered to the north, west, and south by residential development.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill material in 0.71 acre of waters of the United States (Palustrine forested wetlands) in association with the construction of a water pump station to meet the current infrastructure demands.
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 has avoided and minimized wetland impacts to the greatest extent practicable. Entire avoidance of impacts to aquatic resources is not practical and would prevent the construction of the proposed water pump station.
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 0.47 federal mitigation bank credits from a mitigation bank as compensatory mitigation for the proposed work.
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 Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) and the Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). Since the proposed work is located within the Core foraging area for the Wood Stork, the Corps evaluated the potential impacts to the Wood Stork using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida – September 2008 (Wood Stork Key). Use of the Wood Stork Key resulted in the following sequence: A > B > No effect to the Wood Stork, with no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife required. The project site is approximately 16 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for Red Cockaded Woodpecker; and, within the consultation area identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Corps for this species. Therefore, Red Cockaded Woodpecker may utilize the project site.
Habitat for Red Cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities, therefore the Corps determined that the proposed work would have no effect on the Red Cockaded Woodpecker.
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 not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Trout 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 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 Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019 within 15 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, Paula R. Johnson, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232-0019; by electronic mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (904)232-2503.
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.