TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a request proposing the modification of an existing mitigation banking instrument pursuant to the 2008 Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources regulations (33 CFR Part 332) as described below:
EIP IV Credit Co, LLC
5550 Newbury Street, Suite B
Baltimore, Maryland 21209
LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 569.80-acre Shell Creek Mitigation Bank (SCMB) is located on the south side of Neal Road, east of Babcock Ranch Road and north of Bermont Road. More specifically, the proposed project is located in Sections 20, 29, 32, Township 40 South, Range 26 East; in Charlotte County, Punta Gorda, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the SCMB prospectus online so that it is available for review by the public. The prospectus may be downloaded from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) at web address: https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:2.
Once on the RIBITS homepage, select "Jacksonville" from the "ALL DISTRICTS" drop down menu located in the lower left corner of the screen. Once the district filter has been selected, click on the “Banks & ILF Sites” link located in the Navigation box (upper left corner). This will generate a list of projects, scroll down the list and click on the “Shell Creek MB” link. On this page, click on the "Cyber Repository" link located on the menu bar above the General Information box, then click on the Prospectus Documents folder to access the prospectus associated with the SCMB project.
If you are unable to access the web address, a copy of the prospectus is available upon request to the project manager listed at the end of this public notice.
PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: The applicant seeks authorization to restore wetlands and uplands on the 569.80-acre property. The primary goal of the project is to restore native forested wetlands through the cessation of all silvicultural and commercial hunting activities, stabilize natural hydroperiods, remove invasive exotic and nuisance species, and return the natural community structure within the Peace River watershed.
Specific restoration objectives include:
Rehabilitation of natural hydrology and community structure to 431.05 acres of Cypress – Altered (A) and Cypress – Logged (L) (FLUCCS 621A/621L) community will be accomplished through cessation of silvicultural and commercial hunting activities; removal of invasive exotic species and nuisance species; and supplemental planting of cypress trees; which will result in 431.05 acres of Dome Swamp.
Rehabilitation of natural hydrology and community structure to 110.98 acres of Wet Pine Flatwoods – Altered (A) and Wet Pine Flatwoods – Cleared (C) 093431(FLUCCS 625A/625C) community through cessation of silvicultural and commercial hunting activities; removal of invasive exotic species and nuisance species; thinning shrubs; thinning oak and slash pine trees; and reintroduction of prescribed fire, which will result in 110.98 acres of Wet Flatwoods.
Rehabilitation of natural hydrology and community structure to a 3.91-acre Stormwater Pond (FLUCCS 501) and 2.56-acre Ditch (FLUCCS 511) through cessation of silvicultural and commercial hunting activities (alligator and hogs); removal of invasive exotic species and nuisance species; filling and grading to appropriate wetland grades; herbaceous seeding, shrub planting, planting of slash pine trees; and reintroduction of prescribed fire, which will result in 6.47 acres of Dome Swamp.
Establishment of hydrology and community structure to a 11.26-acre Spoil Area (FLUCCS 742) through cessation of silvicultural and commercial hunting activities; removal of invasive exotic species and nuisance species; grading to appropriate wetland grades; herbaceous seeding, shrub planting, planting of slash pine trees; and reintroduction of prescribed fire, which will result in 11.26 acres of Wet Flatwoods.
Rehabilitation of natural community structure to 3.02 acres of Pine Flatwoods (FLUCCS 411A) community will be accomplished through cessation of silvicultural and commercial hunting activities; planting longleaf pine trees; thinning of shrubs; thinning of oak and pine trees; and the reintroduction of prescribed fire which will result in 3.02 acres of Pine Flatwood.
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of available information indicates that the property historically consisted of isolated cypress domes and large cypress slough wetlands, wet pine flatwoods, and upland pine flatwood habitats.
ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed SCMB would be established and operated by EIP IV Credit Co, LLC as the Sponsor with the assistance of GreenSource Environmental Professionals, Inc. The property that comprises the SCMB is owned by EIP IV Credit Co, LLC. The SCMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following SCMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of SCMB. In addition, the Sponsor will provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed SCMB.
PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project is located within the Peace Subbasin (HUC 03100101). The Applicant proposes a Mitigation Service Area (MSA) that is coincident with the Peace Bay Subbasin. The SCMB MSA is anticipated to include wetland habitat communities that could reasonably be expected to occur on the SCMB.
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 has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect (NLAA) the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), and the Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus), and its proposed designated critical habitat (Unit 2). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
The Corps has determined the proposal may affect the Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). The Corps will request initiation of formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service/National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), and Audubon’s Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway).
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 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.
Navigation: This project will have no effect on navigation.
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.
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.
COMMENTS: Comments regarding the proposed mitigation bank should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at the address below within 30 days from the date of this notice.
The initial evaluation pertaining to whether or not this mitigation bank proposal has the potential for providing compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by issued Department of the Army permits will be based on the information contained in the prospectus, received from this public notice and obtained during an inspection of the project site.
If you have any questions concerning this proposed mitigation bank, you may contact Mr. Ryan Hendren by electronic mail at Ryan.G.Hendren@usace.army.mil, by telephone at 813-769-7075 or at the following address:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
10117 PRINCESS PALM AVENUE, SUITE 120
TAMPA, FLORIDA 33610-8302
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. That determination 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. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including 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 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 proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.