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: Pulte Home Company, LLC
Attn: Mr. Christopher Hill
124 Del Webb Parkway
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Clapboard Creek. The project site is located near 4970 Cedar Point Road, in Section 31, Township 1 North, Range 28 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 363A and turn east on Airport Center Drive. Proceed and the road becomes New Berlin Road. Proceed and the road becomes Cedar Point Road. The project site is located on the right side of Cedar Point Road at the intersection of Teeger Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.458318°
Basic: The basic project purpose is residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is single-family residential development within the geographical area between Interstate-95, the Nassau River, Interstate-295, and the Intracoastal Waterway.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The existing vegetative communities and land uses have been characterized pursuant to the Florida Department of Transportation publication Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).
a. Uplands 45.50 acres
1. Cropland and Pastureland (FLUCFCS 210) 9.41 acres - The northwest corner of the property contains two areas of improved field or pasture vegetated primarily with bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) along with such early successional species as dog fennel (Eupatorium sp.) and blackberry (Rubus sp.).
2. Residential, Low Density (FLUCFCS 110) 1.56 acres - The northwest corner of the property contains four single family residences (three houses and one mobile home) ranging in age from 1936 to 1965 to 1983 to 1985. The houses are surrounded by varying amounts of yard.
3. Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS 411) 5.77 acres- Some of the uplands near the center of the property comprise pine flatwoods, most of which were timbered in the recent past. The canopy includes slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and scattered hardwoods such as water oak (Quercus nigra) and laurel oak (Q. laurifolia). The understory and ground cover vegetation includes such species as bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum). The area of cut-over pine flatwoods along the western property boundary is periodically mown.
4. Temperate Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 425) 19.42 acres - Much of the uplands may be characterized as temperate hardwood forest. The canopy in these areas is dominated by such species as live oak (Quercus virginiana), laurel oak, water oak, southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), and pignut hickory (Carya glabra). The understory and ground cover vegetation include such species as saw palmetto, bitter gallberry, beauty berry (Callicarpa americana), staggerbush (Lyonia ferruginea), wild olive (Osmanthus americana), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), and bracken fern.
5. Hardwood – Conifer Mixed (FLUCFCS 434) 6.95 acres - Some of the uplands have a canopy comprising a mixture of hardwoods and pines with similar ground cover vegetation to the temperate hardwoods. Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) occurs along the northern boundary.
6. Spoil (FLUCFCS 740) 1.60 acres - Narrow strips of old spoil are located along either side of the dredged channel that extends diagonally through the property from northeast to southwest. These spoil areas were created when the adjacent channel was dredged and have revegetated with such species as bracken fern and young oaks.
7. Trail Roads (FLUCFCS 814) 0.79-acre - The property contains several dirt driveways extending through the site.
b. Wetlands and Other Surface Waters 10.95 acres
1. Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) 4.92 acres - Most of the wetlands onsite may be characterized as wetland forested mixed. The canopy in these areas includes such species as blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and red maple (Acer rubrum). Understory and ground cover vegetation includes such species as fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), waxmyrtle (Morella cerifera), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea). The original hydrology of these wetlands was altered (partially drained) when the adjacent channels were dredged. The wetlands continue to be hydrated due to ground water seepage from the adjacent uplands. One area of wetland is isolated from the adjacent dredged channel by a continuous spoil berm. There is a narrow break in another spoil berm which provides a connection to the adjacent dredged channel to the south.
2. Hydric Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS 625) 1.58 acres - The property contains two areas of hydric pine flatwoods. One area near the center of the property borders the upper edge of the adjacent wetland forested mixed community and is vegetated with such species as sweet gallberry (Ilex coriacea), fetterbush and red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia). The second area of hydric pine flatwood is isolated and located along the western property boundary. This second area is vegetated with such species as yellow-eyed grass (Xyris sp.) and cinnamon fern.
3. Salt Marsh (FLUCFCS 642) 0.36-acre - A small area of brackish marsh is located along the southern property boundary. The dominant vegetation includes such species as salt meadow cordgrass (Spartina patens), smooth cordgrass (S. alterniflora), sand cordgrass (S. bakeri), saw grass (Cladium jamaicense), and black needle rush (Juncus roemarianus). Shrubs and scattered trees growing along the upper edges include such species as saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia) and cabbage palm.
4. Wet Field (FLUCFCS 640) 0.12-acre - The northwest corner of the project contains a relatively narrow finger of wet field/yard. Historically this area had comprised part of a forested wetland that was converted over the years into wet field/yard vegetated with such species as St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), rush (Juncus sp.), beakrush (Rhynchospora sp.), and dollarweed (Hydrocotyle sp.).
5. Channel (FLUCFCS 510) 3.37 acres - The property contains two sections of dredged channel that were excavated through the centers of the original forested wetland drainageways. The eastern wetland continues offsite to the north past Cedar Point Road to Cedar Crest Lane. The lower sections of the dredged channels appear to be deep enough for small boats at high tide. Over time the channels have silted in and are mostly dry at low tide.
6. Man-made Pond (FLUCFCS 524) 0.60-acre - The northern half of the property contains a man-made farm pond that was excavated from uplands.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean fill material into 0.24-acre of palustrine-forested wetlands and 0.6-acre of nontidal surface waters to facilitate the construction of a single-family residential development. In addition, the applicant seeks authorization to discharge dredged material into 1.71-acre of palustrine-forested wetlands to facilitate the construction of stormwater retention pond for the development. Furthermore, the applicant seeks authorization to cross 2 tidal canals with a boardwalk.
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 applicant avoided impacting all of the wetlands and surface waters onsite, particularly to the tidal canals and wetlands W6, W7, W12, W13, W14, W15, and W16. Impacts to WOTUS areas are required to develop 34 or 25% of the 135 total lots. Eliminating all wetland impacts for lots would decrease the lot yield by 25% which would jeopardize the financial feasibility of the entire project.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“As mitigation for the proposed impacts, the applicant will purchase credits from a mitigation bank that serves this same area.”
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus), and shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) or its designated critical habitat. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The Corps has determined the project would have no effect on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) due to the lack of appropriate 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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in Clapboard Creek. 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.
SECTION 408: The applicant will not require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, would not alter, occupy, or use a Corps Civil Works project.
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.
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.
COMMENTS and QUESTIONS concerning this application and the proposed work should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at Brad.J.Carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days of this notice.
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.
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.