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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Central Florida Expressway Authority
4974 ORL Tower Road
Orlando, FL 32807
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Shingle Creek (HUC 030901010302). The project site is located along State Road 417, between International Drive (to the west) and John Young Parkway (to the east), crossing Shingle Creek, within Sections 01 and 12, Township 25 South, Range 28 East and Sections 29 and 32, Township 24 South, Range 29 East, in Orange County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: The project site consists of State Road 417, between International Drive (to the west) and John Young Parkway (to the east) in southwest Orange County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.357416°
Overall: To construct capacity improvements to include one (1) additional travel lane in each direction, from existing four (4) to six (6) lanes, as well as improvements and maintenance to the existing stormwater management system, and other various safety improvements to the overall corridor.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of widening an approximately 4.20-mile long span of existing high-traffic roadway (SR 417). The project corridor is comprised of previously constructed roadway and associated supporting infrastructure, as well as previously disturbed/altered wetland areas or remnant wetland areas of relatively low ecological value within the roadway right-of-way. Land use types located within the proposed project were identified through color aerial photograph interpretation and information provided by the applicant. Each on-site land use form was classified using the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) as defined in the FDOT handbook, 1999. The project corridor is comprised of the following land uses: Transportation (FLUCFCS 814); Cypress (FLUCFCS 621); Vegetated Non-Forested Wetlands (FLUCFCS 640). The Transportation land uses consist of existing high-speed roadways, maintained right-of-way, stormwater control facilities, and other associated infrastructure. The Cypress (wetlands) land use is comprised of remnant forested wetlands within the right-of-way and exhibit substantial inclusion of exotic/nuisance vegetative species. Vegetated Non-Forested Wetlands land uses are comprised of wetland areas located within the right-of-way which have historically been severely degraded by previous alteration and routine right-of-way maintenance. The previously altered, non-forested wetland remnants are of low ecological function.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into approximately 4.07 acres of waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) (wetland: 3.85 acres; surface waters: 0.22 acre) to widen the existing four-lane segment of SR 417 to six-lanes, between International Drive (to the west) and John Young Parkway (to the east).
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:
“It was determined that widening the mainline roadway by adding travel lanes inside the existing, maintained ROW” (right-of-way) “would result in the least amount of environmental impacts. No additional ROW is proposed for the project. All fencing, as it exists today, will be maintained in its current location. … The existing 64-foot median will be reduced to a 40-foot median as part of the proposed project. … The proposed project will consist of widening the existing facility to the inside median. Therefore, no significant changes to outside fill slopes and shoulder widths are anticipated as part of the proposed project. All proposed impacts to wetlands adjacent to existing fill slopes pertain to necessary construction zones, updated clear zone requirements and replacements of existing culverts, as needed for necessary maintenance. … The proposed project will consist of widening the existing facility to the inside median. Therefore, no changes to outside guardrail and retaining walls are anticipated as part of the proposed project.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Compensatory Mitigation will be provided through the purchase of mitigation bank credits from a Federally permitted mitigation bank.”
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’s (FWS) Programmatic Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork (September 2008). Use of the Key for Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D > E (Project provides SFH compensation within the Service Area of a Service-approved wetland mitigation bank or wood stork conservation bank preferably within the CFA, or consists of SFH compensation within the CFA consisting of enhancement, restoration or creation in a project phased approach that provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH (see Wood Stork Foraging Habitat Assessment Procedure6 for guidance), is not contrary to the Service’s Habitat Management Guidelines For The Wood Stork In The Southeast Region and in accordance with the CWA section 404(b)(1) guidelines.) = “not likely to adversely affect” for the Wood Stork. 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. Based upon review of the Corps and Service’s Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (dated August 13, 2013), the proposed project resulted in the following sequential determination: A > B > C > D (The project will impact less than 25 acres of xeric habitat or less than 25 active and inactive gopher tortoise burrows) > E (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 burrow. If an indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. 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.) = “not likely to adversely affect” for the Eastern Indigo Snake. The permit will be conditioned with the Standard Construction Guidelines for the 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 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, 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.