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: Collier County Facilities Management Division
Mr. Damon Grant
3325 Tamiami Trail East
Naples, Florida 34112
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Cocohatchee Canal. The project site is located on an undeveloped parcel, at 15430 Collier Boulevard, in Section 23, Township 48 South, Range 26 East, in Naples, Collier County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the Fort Myers field office, turn left onto Summerlin Road (0.2-miles), turn right onto Colonial Boulevard (5.1-miles), merge onto Interstate 75 South (24-miles), take Exit 111 and turn left onto Immokalee Road (3.4-miles), turn left onto Colonial Boulevard (0.3-miles), the site is on the right just past an existing wastewater pump station.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 26.276231°
Basic: The basic project purpose is government services.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct needed government services facilities within northern Naples.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of approximately 7.73-acres of former mining lands and an existing wastewater pump station. On-site waters of the U.S. consist of man-made vegetated surface waters surrounded by previously disturbed uplands. The site is bordered by Bellaire Bay Drive to the north and east, Collier Boulevard to the west, and an existing wastewater pump station to the south. The wastewater pump station was previously issued a No Permit Required (SAJ-2006-07883) by the Corps. The site is located in an area portioned off from the overall Heritage Bay development.
Upland communities comprise approximately 3.26-acres and consists of previously disturbed lands associated with abandoned mining activities. Vegetation includes an over- and mid-story dominance of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), melaleuca (Melalueca quinquenervia), ear-leaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), and giant reed (Arundo donaxalso). Also found in this habitat are cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), myrsine (Myrsine cubana), and Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana), with an understory of broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), Spanish needles (Bidens alba), ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia), and bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus). The existing wastewater pump station sits on approximately 1.59-acres of developed land in the southern portion of the project site.
The remaining 2.88-acres on site consists of waters of the U.S. This area was formerly uplands excavated during mining activities. The area contains defined bed and bank and an ordinary high water mark with vegetation consisting of slash pine (Pinus elliotti) and Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) trees, with a mix of cabbage palm, myrsine, Brazilian pepper, melaleuca, and ear-leaf acacia saplings. The groundcover consists of white-top sedge (Dichromena colorata), marsh fleabane (Pluchea odorata), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), Mexican clover (Richardia brasiliensis), spikerush (Eleocharis cellulosa), and torpedograss (Panicum repens), among others.
PROPOSED WORK: The proposed project is the construction of a new government services facility, including an Emergency Medical Services building, two government services buildings, parking facilities, landscaping, utilities, and stormwater management facilities. The site could also be utilized to construct a public water supply well site in the future. The proposed project will have permanent fill impacts to all 2.88-acres of other surface waters to construct the proposed development.
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:
“Impacts to USACE wetlands have been avoided but impacts to USACE surface waters could not be avoided. The property was chosen because its lack of USACE jurisdictional wetland impacts and dominance of upland exotic vegetation. USACE impacts have been minimized by proposing fill within man-made USACE surface waters.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“Since no USACE jurisdictional wetland impacts are proposed, no compensation or mitigation should be required.”
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 assessed the project site for Federally listed species using the FWS’ Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) web site and all available GIS data within the Corps’ Resources at Risk (RAR) system, for purposes of complying with Section 7 of the ESA of 1973 (as amended). The IPaC system generated a list of 16 species within Collier County.
The Corps had determined that the proposed project may affect the Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi), and may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) and Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps has initiated formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter dated July 29, 2020.
The Corps has also determined that the proposed project would have no effect on the Audubon’s crested caracara (Polyborus plancus audubonii), Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), American wood stork (Mycteria americana), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Gulf sturgeon (Acinpenser oxyrinchus desotoi), Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly (Strymon acis bartrami), Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyte floridalis), Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri), Florida prairie-clover (Dalea carthagenensis floridana), and Garber’s spurge (Chamaesyce garberi), or their designated, or proposed for designation, critical habitat.
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 site does not contain EFH and the Corps’ 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 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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919-1036 or to the email address of the Project Manager noted below, 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, Mr. John Policarpo, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919-1036, by electronic mail at John.N.Policarpo@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975.
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 impacts, 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 that 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. 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.