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: Pensacola North RV Resort, Inc.
Attention: James J Reeves 730 Bayfront Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32502
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Eight Mile Creek. The project site is located along the east side of Pine Forest Road, parcel identification numbers; 13-1S-31-1100-001-039 and 13-1S-31- 1100-001-041, in Section 13, Township 1 South, Range 31 West, Escambia County.
Directions to the site are as follows: From downtown Pensacola, head north on Interstate I-110 North to I-10 West. Take I-10 West to Pine Forest Road/SR-297 (Exit 7). Turn south on Pine Forest Road and continue past Kersey Road. The site is located on the east side of Pine Forest Road, on the north and south side of Eight Mile Creek.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.508757°
Basic: Recreational Vehicle Park
Overall: To construct Phase II of a recreational vehicle park development, in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 35.28 acre project site contains 24.97 acres of wetlands, bisected by Eight Mile Creek. The wetland system consists of a palustrine forested wetland system consisting of mixed baygall and titi swamp. The canopy is dominated by sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens), the subcanopy is dominated by black titi (Cliftonia monophylla), and the shrub stratum is dominated by swamp cyrilla (Cyrilla racemiflora), large gallberry (Ilex coriacea), and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). The uplands in the northwest
portion of the site are developed with an existing recreational vehicle park (Phase I). The project site is bordered to the north, south, and east primarily by residential development and undeveloped forested wetlands and uplands, and to the west by Pine Forest Road/SR-297.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 0.55 acres of freshwater forested wetlands to construct an entrance road to access a 5.87-acre area of developable uplands for the development of Phase II of a recreational vehicle park. The park would consist of 106 recreational vehicle parking spaces, associated roadway, and stormwater management facilities. The road would be 28 feet in width and stabilized with concrete retaining walls through wetlands (in lieu of fill slopes). Two 36-inch reinforced concrete pipes will be installed beneath the road crossing at Eight Mile Creek to maintain hydrology.
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 proposed project is located entirely in uplands except for an access road which is necessary to access the 5.87-acre development area. There are no other alternatives to access the uplands than what is proposed in this application.
Escambia County’s Land Development code prevents commercial access from residential subdivision so the potential to access from existing developed residential subdivisions to the south and east are not possible. Furthermore, there are no established easements or right of way that would facilitate such access. Avoidance was accomplished via the incorporation of vertical retaining walls along either side of the access road to eliminate the need for side slopes. This will also reduce cumulative and secondary impacts to wetlands adjacent to the road and will remain post development.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has provided the following compensatory mitigation plan: “The proposed project is not located within the service area of a state or federally approved mitigation bank or an approved in-lieu fee program; therefore permittee-responsible mitigation using a watershed approach is the only option available to the applicant. The development parcel includes a large forested wetland complex associated with the headwaters of Eight Mile Creek; therefore permittee responsible mitigation through on-site and in-kind mitigation is proposed.
The form of mitigation proposed to offset project related wetland impacts is preservation of existing upland and wetland communities via recording of a conservation easement. Preservation was deemed appropriate via the evaluation of several key parameters including but are not limited to, surrounding landscape composition, state designation of important lands for preservation, a threatened landscape type, lands important for threatened, endangered, rare, and other priority aquatic species, lands important for water quality or quantity threats, and lands subject to development threats.
The mitigation plan includes the perpetual preservation of 24.42 acres of forested wetlands. This condition is guaranteed by the execution and recording of a legally binding conservation easement.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. The Corps has initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) as determined using the 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, following couplets A> B> C> D> E.
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. 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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 N Jefferson St, Suite 301, Pensacola, Florida 32402 within 21 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, Holly Millsap, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 North Jefferson Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502, by electronic mail at Holly.M.Millsap@usace.army.mil, by fax at (850) 433-8160, or by telephone at (850) 470-9823.
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.