TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application for a 10-year 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:
Dar Airan, Ph.D
PAJ Investment Group, LLC.
WATERWAY AND LOCATION:
The proposed project is north of N.W. 7th Street and east of N.W. 57th Avenue along the Tamiami Canal in Blue Lagoon Lake in Miami-Dade County. The project is in Section 31, Township 53 South, Range 41 East (Folio #01-3131-011-0060, and 01-3131-011-0140).
Directions to the site are as follows:
From Interstate 95 (I-95), exit to State Road 836. Proceed west to N.W. 57th Avenue. Exit and head south on 57th Avenue. The subject site is north of N.W. 7th St. and east of N.W. 57th Avenue.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is residential.
Overall: The overall project purpose is residential development in north-central Miami-Dade County.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project is located within Blue Lagoon Lake, adjacent to the Tamiami Canal, which empties into Biscayne Bay. The 9.00 acres of waters of the United States affected by this component of the project are characterized as open water with a fringe dominated by Common reed (Phragmites australis) with some exotics such as Australian pine (Casuarina spp.) and tropical almond (Terminalia catappa). According to the National Resources Conservation Service, the site is classified as water. A 2017 benthic survey revealed the presence of 0.33 acres of Vallisneria americana and V. spirabilis within the project footprint.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to construct a residential development known as Garden Homesites involving the placement of 27,800 CY of fill in 9.00 acres of waters of the United States.
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:
“Prior to the start of construction, turbidity curtains will be deployed and will remain in place until all construction induced turbidity has subsided and water clarity has returned to preconstruction conditions.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“If it is determined that the permit issuance is appropriate, mitigation will be required. Upon identification of the appropriate mitigation site for unavoidable impacts, inclusion of the risk and temporal lag associated with the mitigation site will be a required part of the mitigation contribution. Corps staff will perform a functional assessment and determine the appropriate mitigation for this project after consultation with Federal, State and Local agencies.”
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 project site is located in an area of heightened scrutiny for the West Indian manatee. The Corps of Engineers has made a determination that the proposed work “may affect” the West Indian Manatee in accordance with the revised Manatee Key dated April 2013.
The Corps has determined the proposed project will have “no effect” on the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps has U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act through the utilization of the “Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (amended August 13, 2013)”. No further consultation is required.
Using the Florida Bonneted Bat Guidelines and the Google overlay, the proposed project falls within the Florida Bonneted Bat Consultation Area; therefore in accordance with the FBB Guidelines, the Corps has determined that the proposed project "may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect" the Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus). The Corps will seek informal correspondence through separate letter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
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 impact 9 acres of submerged lake bottom EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the snapper-grouper complex. 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 Miami Permits Section, 9900 Southwest 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176 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, Megan Clouser, in writing at the Miami Permits Section, 9900 SW 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176; by electronic mail at Megan.L.Clouser@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (305)526-7182.
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.