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):
APPLICANT: Osceola County
1 Courthouse Square, Suite 4700
Kissimmee, FL 34741
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Tohopekaliga (HUC 0309010104). The project site is located along Bill Beck Blvd., crossing Mill Slough, between E. Osceola Parkway and Lund Avenue, just west of the Florida’s Turnpike (SR 91) within Sections 02 and 11, Township 25 South, Range 29 East, in Kissimmee, Osceola County, Florida (Latitude: 28.335589°; Longitude: -81.382441°).
Directions to the site are as follows: From FL-528 West and I-95. Continue on FL-528 to Exit 16 towards Tampa and merge onto FL-417 South. Take Exit 12 to Florida's Turnpike south to Miami. Take Exit 249 Osceola Parkway and turn right. Take first left onto Bill Beck Boulevard project begins at the intersection of Bill Beck Boulevard and Osceola Parkway.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.335589°
Overall: To construct a connection between two (2) existing roadways in order to improve traffic flow on Osceola Parkway in Osceola County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of approximately ±25 acres (jurisdictional wetlands: 1.73 acres; non-jurisdictional wetlands/waters: 0.54 acre; uplands: 22.73 acres). Jurisdictional wetlands (Wetland 1) consist of a freshwater, Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) community including the linear surface water of Mill Slough. The non-jurisdictional wetland/waters (Wetland 2) is also characterized as a freshwater, Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) community. Uplands consist of existing roadways (FLUCFCS 814), Stormwater Ponds (530), and Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS 411). The immediately surrounding areas consist of existing residential development, urban roadways, and Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS 411).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 1.39 acres, convert (clearing and shading) 0.34 acre, and secondarily impact 2.71 acres of waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) to extend Bill Beck Boulevard, a two-lane road, from its existing northern terminus near Osceola Parkway to its southern terminus, a distance of approximately 0.9 miles through two vacant parcels. Proposed activities also include the construction of a bridge over Mill Slough, construction of three new stormwater ponds, and the modification of an existing/permitted stormwater pond.
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:
“Direct wetland impacts resulting from this project have been reduced to the greatest extent practicable, considering applicable roadway design criteria and the need to effectively connect to existing roadways. The proposed roadway has been designed along the edge of Mill Slough, which has reduced habitat quality due to nearby development, in order to decrease the impacts downstream. The proposed bridge would reduce long-term adverse wetland impacts and flood stage fluctuations compared to installing a box culvert.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) was used to evaluate the loss of wetland function due to anticipated project impacts. Based on this analysis, the County intends to purchase 1.22 UMAM federal credits from the Southport Ranch Mitigation Bank to offset functional loss from the 1.39 acres of direct impacts, 0.34 acres of other impacts, and 2.71 acres of secondary impacts. … The Southport Ranch Mitigation Bank is 3,280 acres of regionally significant, perpetually-managed upland and wetland habitat. The majority of the site provides vital hydrologic recharge functions for the Florida Aquifer, Reedy Creek Swamp, and Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.”
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.
Wood Stork: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork and its designated critical habitat. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork (January 2010). Use of the Key for Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > E (Project provides SFH compensation in accordance with the CWA section 404(b )( 1) guidelines and is not contrary to the HMO; habitat compensation is within the appropriate CFA or within the service area of a Service-approved mitigation bank; and habitat compensation replaces foraging value, consisting of wetland enhancement or restoration matching the hydroperiods of the wetlands affected, and provides foraging value similar to, or higher than, that of impacted wetlands.) = “not likely to adversely affect” for Wood Storks. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
Eastern Indigo Snake: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake and its designated critical habitat. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon review of the FWS South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Eastern Indigo Snake (August 2017). Use of the Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be evacuated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrows. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work.) = “not likely to adversely affect” for Eastern Indigo Snake. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated 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 RAR Report did not identify EFH within the project area. 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. 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926, 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, Jason D. Perryman, in writing at Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (321) 504-3803; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771 x10.
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.