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: Tyndall Air Force Base
Attention: Lt. Col. Brandy C. Smart
101 Mississippi Avenue, Bldg. 36233
Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida 32403
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with reconstruction of the airfield drainage within the active airfield at Tyndall Air Force Base. The project site is located on the north side of US Highway 98 south of East Bay, adjacent to and within the existing flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Exit 130 on I-10 onto US 231. Head south to State Highway 719. Turn right on to State Highway 22. Turn left on US 98 and continue south and east to Tyndall Air Force Base.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.070934°
Basic: Stormwater management improvements.
Overall: To construct stormwater management improvements within the existing airfield at Tyndall Air Force Base for Bird-Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) reduction.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a heavily impacted system of nontidal, tidal, freshwater and estuarine waters and wetlands located within and adjacent to the existing flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base. The wetlands within the project area have been altered since the runway was originally constructed. Fill material was placed in existing wetlands during construction in order to create the runways and adjacent infrastructure. In order to reduce flooding and deter wildlife, surface water and stormwater flows have been redirected and removed, several times of the life span of the base. Vegetation is regularly mowed to reduce bird strike hazards. On October 10, 2018, Tyndall AFB sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, a category five hurricane with wind speeds in excess of 156 miles per hour. This was the strongest sustained wind hurricane to hit the continental United States in over 25 years. Every facility on the installation sustained at least some damage with more than 50 percent of the facilities significantly damaged. Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to Tyndall AFB facilities, infrastructure, and environmental conditions base wide, including within the project area. The existing area surrounding the project area supports an active military base and State Highway 98, which provides access to communities within Gulf County.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place fill material in 96.8 acres of jurisdictional wetlands in order to regrade and improve the stormwater drainage within the existing airfield.
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:
There are no practicable alternatives to the Proposed Actions that would avoid all
impacts or further minimize impacts to wetlands because the objectives sought by these
projects preclude the selection of any practicable alternatives due to mission
requirements, installation layout constraints, and the nature of proposed projects. The
No Action Alternative would result in maintaining the status quo, in which case the
airfield will experience flooding and water ponding, creating a BASH.
For this project, site plan alternatives, such as locating stormwater treatment facilities outside the flight line were evaluated. The proposed stormwater treatment facilities were determined to be the least environmentally damaging and practicable alternative as the improvements are located within the flight line, which includes wetlands that have been previously impacted by the original development of Tyndall Air Force Base.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The Air Force will be purchasing mitigation credits at an approved mitigation
bank prior to impacting any wetlands. That mitigation will be tied to construction
contracts which have not yet been issued. If possible, we’d like to condition this permit as detailed in at 33 CFR 332.3(l)(3) and 332.8(p)(1), to notify the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the purchase of federal credits prior to impacts. There is only one approved mitigation bank within the basin (Horseshoe Creek Mitigation Bank).
The Corps is evaluating the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This public notice serves to inform the public of the proposed undertaking and invites comments including those from local, State, and Federal government Agencies with respect to historic resources. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts may be subject to additional coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and other interested parties.
Because of the altered state of the jurisdictional waters and wetlands within the project area, the Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): As proposed, the project will not impact EFH. Consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH is not 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 East Bay.
Navigation: Based on the information provided by the applicant, the Corps has determined that the project is located entirely on high ground and will have no effect on Federal navigation channels.
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 not been verified by Corps personnel.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Blvd, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407 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, Tracey L. Wheeler, in writing at the Panama City Permits Section, 415 Richard Jackson Blvd, Suite 411, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407; by electronic mail at email@example.com; or, by telephone at (850)763-0717 ex 4.
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.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This public notice serves as the notification to the EPA pursuant to section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act. Individual Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
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.