TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a complete prospectus proposing the establishment of a mitigation bank pursuant to the 2008 Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources regulations (33 CFR Part 332) as described below:
APPLICANT: Turpentine GP, LLC
1700 S. MacDill Ave. Suite 340
Tampa, FL. 33629
LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 792-acre Turpentine Wetland Mitigation Bank (TWMB), is located in south central Hernando County just north of the Pasco County line, south of Ayres Road, west of Culbreath Road, and east of Arlanie Road, within Sections 34 and 35, Township 23 South, and Range 19 East, Hernando County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 28.439760°
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the TWMB prospectus online so that it is available for review by the public. The prospectus may be downloaded from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) at web address: https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:2.
Once on the RIBITS homepage, select "Jacksonville" from the "ALL DISTRICTS" drop down menu located in the lower left corner of the screen. Once the district filter has been selected, click on the “Banks & ILF Sites” link located in the Navigation box (upper left corner). This will generate a list of projects, scroll down the list and click on the “Turpentine Wetland MB” link. On this page, click on the "Cyber Repository" link located on the menu bar above the General Information box, then click on the Prospectus Documents folder to access the prospectus associated with the TWMB project.
If you are unable to access the web address, a copy of the prospectus is available upon request to the project manager listed at the end of this public notice.
PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: The applicant seeks authorization to enhance,, preserve and protect wetlands and uplands on the 791.8-acre property. The primary ecological goal of the TWMB is to preserve approximately 792 acres of high quality wetland and upland ecosystems and to manage them in perpetuity to ultimately improve fish and wildlife habitat use/connectivity and the overall integrity of the communities within the Crystal-Pithlachascotee River watershed. Specific objectives include:
• preservation of approximately 105 acres of high quality native palustrine wetlands.
• preservation and enhancement of 686.8 acres of buffering upland habitats by the removal of derelict camp buildings and structures, removal of invasive exotic plants and animals, thinning of pine trees, management of encroaching hardwood species, and implementation of a prescribed fire program.
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of available information indicates that the property historically consisted and currently consists of multiple sinkholes ranging from a few feet across to approximately 100 feet across that periodically open and then become plugged by debris or flooded by periods of high ground water levels causing extreme hydrologic fluctuations in the existing wetlands across the site. The site also contains two freshwater creek systems which flow in from the north and east. Historic aerials also reveal that historical plant communities and vegetative structure changed from open pine flatwoods communities to a more forested canopy as fire became less prevalent on the landscape and the site was planted and utilized as a pine plantation.
ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed TWMB would be established and operated by Turpentine GP, LLC as the Sponsor with the assistance of Quest Ecology Inc. The property that comprises the TWMB is owned by Turpentine Land, LLC. The TWMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following TWMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of TWMB. In addition, the Sponsor will provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed TWMB.
PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project is located within the Hancock Lake Subwatershed, identified as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 031002070401 which is part of the larger Crystal - Pithlachascotee Subbasin (HUC 03100207). The Applicant proposes a Mitigation Service Area (MSA) that is coincident with the Crystal - Pithlachascotee Subbasin. The TWMB MSA is anticipated to include wetland habitat communities that could reasonably be expected to occur on the TWMB.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The proposed mitigation bank is not expected to have any direct or indirect impact to cultural resources. Project review will, however, include review of the proposal for any potential impact to cultural resources.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed mitigation bank site will be reviewed for potential critical habitat and presence of endangered species. The findings will be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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. 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.
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.
COMMENTS: Comments regarding the proposed mitigation bank should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the address below within 30 days from the date of this notice.
The initial evaluation pertaining to whether or not this mitigation bank proposal has the potential for providing compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by issued Department of the Army permits will be based on the information contained in the prospectus, received from this public notice and obtained during an inspection of the project site.
If you have any questions concerning this proposed project, you may contact Ms. Teresa Frame by electronic mail at Teresa.M.Frame@usace.army.mil, by fax at 904-232-1904, or by telephone at 904-232-1677 or at the following address:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
P. O. BOX 4970
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32232-0019
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. That determination 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. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including 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.
The 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 proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.