Public Notice Notifications

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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

Antilles - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the Antilles area (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

Tropical Storms & Other Emergencies - These public notices provide information on procedures for emergency permitting requirements due to specific tropical storm events or other emergency situations.

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Administrative Penalty - These public notices provide information associated with Administrative Penalties. An Administrative Penalty can be assessed to address violations associated with issued Department of the Army permits.

SAJ-1999-01095 (SP-JNP)

Published May 4, 2021
Expiration date: 5/24/2021

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:

Collier County Airport Authority
c/o Mr. Andrew Bennet, Interim Executive Manager
2005 Mainsail Drive, Suite 1
Naples, Florida 34114

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States, including wetlands, associated with Chokoloskee Bay. The project site is located at the Everglades Airpark, 650 EC Airpark Road, in Section 11, Township 53 South, Range 29 East, in Everglades City, Collier County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From the Fort Myers field office, turn left onto Summerlin Road (0.2-miles), turn right onto Colonial Boulevard (5.1-miles), merge onto Interstate 75 South (55-miles), take Exit 80 and merge onto FL-29 South (20-miles), the road turns slightly right and becomes Collier Avenue (0.6-miles), turn right onto Broadway Avenue E (0.1-mile), take the 4th exit at the traffic circle onto Copeland Avenue (0.6-miles), turn right onto EC Airpark Road and continue 0.3-miles until you reach the airport at the end of the road.

Latitude: 25.848940°
Longitude: -81.389930°

Basic: The basic project purpose is aviation upgrades.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to rehabilitate an existing runway at Everglades Airpark to meet minimum Federal Aviation Administration and Florida Department of Transportation standards.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The total parcel acreage is approximately 29.14-acres. The parcel contains a general aviation facility with runway, taxiway, main-building, and appurtenant structures. The greenspaces adjacent to the airfield pavement are vegetated by a mixture of upland grasses and saltmarsh wetlands. Saltmarsh wetlands comprise 3.86-acres and generally follow drainage features parallel to the runway, though in some areas, wetlands are directly abutting runway pavement. Saltmarsh species present include sea purslane (Sesuvium portulastrum), saltwort (Batis maritima), saltweed (Blutaparon vermiculare), sea oxeye daisy (Borricha arborescens), glasswort (Salicornia depressa), smooth-water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri), American bluehearts (Buchnera americana), oak-leaf fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius), torpedo grass (Panicum repens), and Rhyncospora sp. Incidental juvenile buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) are also present. The airfield vegetation is regularly mowed for safety purposes, thus the saltmarsh vegetation is highly disturbed. Stormwater conveyance structures, including swales and culverts, direct water into adjacent Chokoloskee Bay. In some places within swales, ponded water is present and vegetation absent. The airfield is level and free of concavities/burrows. The shoreline along the property is fringed by mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, and Laguncularia racemose), buttonwood, and invasive seaside mahoe (Thespesia populnea).

PROPOSED WORK: The proposed project is the placement of fill material within wetlands to act as a suitable base for the expansion of the existing runway. The applicant proposes to place 56 cubic yards of fill within 0.18-acres of saltmarsh wetlands to widen the existing runway by 10-feet. This will be accomplished by paving the existing 5-foot shoulders on either side and filling/grading new shoulder area adjacent to the widened runway. The runway rehabilitation and widening are required to bring Everglades Airpark into compliance with minimum standards for runway design set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The project will also incorporate new FAA fillet designs for taxiway/runway connections, which will result in some removal of existing pavement.

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:

“Impacts to jurisdictional wetlands cannot be avoided due to the linear nature of the project, the proximity of wetlands to the existing runway, and the requirement to bring the Airpark into compliance with minimum standards for runway design. The Everglades Airpark Runway Rehabilitation Project is planned to be funded by the FAA. As such, a full analysis of practicable alternatives demonstrating avoidance and minimization has been conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Alternatives considered included concepts that would have incurred functionally greater impact to wetlands and surface waters than proposed Alternative 6 that is the subject of this application:

Alternative 1: Extension of sustainable Area for the RSA. Included extending the runway into Chokoloskee Bay.
Alternatives 2-4: Runway relocation, shifting, or realignment.
Alternative 5: Reduction in runway length.
Alternative 6: Displaced thresholds, resulting in shortening the runway length.
Alternative 7: Engineered Materials Arresting Systems for Aircraft Overruns.

Of these alternatives, Alternative 6 was selected as it provided the most feasible alternative for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the runway from an aeronautical and environmental standpoint. Specifically, Alternatives 1-4 would have impacted mangrove forest wetlands and would have required the purchase of additional land to accommodate the relocation of existing buildings; Alternative 5 would have reduced the runway length to 1,936-feet and is considered not practicable; and Alternative 7 was the most expensive alternative, and it also impacted forested wetlands. Alternative 6 impacts no mangrove wetlands; it is also the most practicable and cost-feasible project. Impervious surface and pervious fill impacts for side sloping have been verified by the project engineer to be the minimum necessary for structural integrity. Unavoidable impacts consist of maintained salt marsh wetland directly adjacent to the existing runway footprint.”

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:

“Mitigation is proposed at an off-site area within Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, utilizing mitigation overage that was created by a previously authorized and constructed restoration project. This mitigation plan was approved under a previous permit (SAJ-1999-01095) issued to Everglades Airpark for runway/taxiway improvements. If the Corps determines that claiming mitigation overage for use in this proposal is not acceptable, the application will purchase saltwater credits at Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank.”

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 Corps assessed the project site for Federally listed species using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) web site and all available GIS data within the Corps’ Resources at Risk (RAR) system, for purposes of complying with Section 7 of the ESA of 1973 (as amended). The IPaC system generated a list of 13 species within Collier County.

The Corps has determined that the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), American wood stork (Mycteria americana), and Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps has programmatic concurrence on these determinations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and no further consultation is required.

The Corps has also determined that the proposed project would have no effect on the Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi), West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Gulf sturgeon (Acinpenser oxyrinchus desotoi), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly (Strymon acis bartrami), Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyte floridalis), Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri), Florida prairie-clover (Dalea carthagenensis floridana), and Garber’s spurge (Chamaesyce garberi), or their designated, or proposed for designation, 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 proposal would impact 0.18-acres of low-quality saltmarsh, located above the mean-high water line. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 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 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 Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919-1036 or to the email address of the Project Manager noted below, 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, Mr. John Policarpo, in writing at the Fort Myers Permits Section, 1520 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Suite 310, Fort Myers, Florida 33919-1036, by electronic mail at, or by telephone at (239) 334-1975.

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 impacts, 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 that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including cumulative impacts thereof, among these are conservation, economics, aesthetics, 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.