TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received a complete prospectus proposing the establishment of a mitigation bank pursuant to the 2008 Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources regulations (33 CFR Part 332) as described below:
APPLICANT: Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC
13830 Circa Crossing Drive
Lithia, FL 33547
LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 1,455-acre Long Island Marsh Mitigation Bank (LIMMB), is located north of the DeSoto-Charlotte County line, east of Farabee Road, west of the DeSoto-Highlands County line and south of Betty Drive, within Sections 24, 25, 35, and 36, Township 39 South, Range 26 East; and Sections 29, 30, 31, and 32, Township 39 South, Range 27 East, DeSoto County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 27.04612°
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the LIMMB 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 “Long Island Marsh 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 LIMMB 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, enhance, preserve, and protect wetlands and uplands on the 1,455.0-acre property. The primary ecological goal of the LIMMB is to improve fish and wildlife habitat use and connectivity; increase wetland, floodplain, and riverine function and quality; and improve the overall integrity of the communities within the Peace River Watershed. Specific restoration objectives include:
• ESTABLISHMENT of 1,208.2.0 acres of Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS 641) from existing Improved Pasture (FLUCFCS 211) to provide flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
• ENHANCEMENT of 51.8 acres of Wetland Cut Ditches (FLUCFCS 513) by restoring area to the historic Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS 641) vegetative community. Enhancement will improve flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
• ENHANCEMENT of 2.6 acres of Reservoirs less than 10 acres (FLUCFCS 534) by restoring area to the historic Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS 641) vegetative community. Enhancement will improve flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
• ENHANCEMENT of 1.1 acres of Cypress (FLUCFCS 621) to improve floodplain protection, flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
• ENHANCEMENT of 15.2 acres of Freshwater Marshes (FLUCFCS 641) to improve flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
• ENHANCEMENT of 128.3 of Wet Pastures (FLUCFCS 648) by restoring area to the historic Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS 641) vegetative community. Enhancement will improve flood attenuation, water quality treatment, nutrient cycling, aquifer recharge, and wildlife habitat within the Peace River Watershed.
Please note that 38.2 acres of the 1,455.0 acres project consist of access roads (FLUCFCS 814) that are included within the LIMMB boundary and buffer the property to the west, north, and east. However, these areas will be non-credit generating and are not a part of the mitigation plan.
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of available information indicates that the property historically consisted of a large natural depressional feature. The entire site was historically characterized by hydric soils and herbaceous wetland vegetation. Historic aerials indicate that initial disturbance of the site occurred in the late 1960s and included the excavation of the main east-west flow-way canal referred to as the Montgomery Canal. This canal was intended to facilitate drainage of the property as well as to help drain lands to the east and northeast towards Prairie Creek. The Montgomery Canal bifurcated the Long Island Marsh and created farming areas to the north and south of the canal, with the LIMMB representing the northern section. A network of feeder canals was also excavated to control the site’s internal drainage more fully for sod farming. Farming activities included the placement of dikes around the perimeter of the marsh, as well as the creation of a surface water bypass canal around the northern limits of the LIMMB. Hydrologic alteration of the site continued with the eventual installation of a drain tile system that was used to further control the LIMMB’s internal water levels, including shallow groundwater. The uses of the property for sod farming continued until 2003, when the land was converted into cattle pasture, and it has remained cattle pasture until present day.
ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed LIMMB would be established and operated by Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC as the Sponsor with the assistance of Flatwoods Consulting Group Inc. The property that comprises the LIMMB is owned by Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC. The LIMMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following LIMMB successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented in order to ensure the sustainability of LIMMB. In addition, the Sponsor will provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed LIMMB.
PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project is located within the Long Island Marsh Subwatershed, identified as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 031001011004 which is part of the larger Peace Subbasin (HUC 03100101). The Applicant proposes a Mitigation Service Area (MSA) that is coincident with the Peace Subbasin. The LIMMB MSA is anticipated to include wetland habitat communities that could reasonably be expected to occur on the LIMMB.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.
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). 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 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 project, you may contact Mr. Ryan G. Hendren by electronic mail at Ryan.G.Hendren@usace.army.mil, or 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