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:
APPLICANT: Mr. Mario Nuñez Merca
C. Proyecto Enlace Caño Martín Peña
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00940
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with herbaceous freshwater wetlands adjacent to Caño Martín Peña. The project site is located at Pepe Díaz Street, Buena Vista Sector, Hato Rey Ward, Municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Directions to the site are as follows: Expressway Las Américas (PR-18) San Juan to Caguas, exit right side at Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue East (PR-23), continue on Roosevelt Avenue to the end of this road, turn left at the intersection PR-27, on next road PR-40 (Quisqueya Avenue) turn left, turn right (third street to the right side) at Pachin Marin Street and turn right (third street to the right side) at Pepe Díaz Street, and continue after the intersection with street 4 and turn left.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 18.43522°
Basic: Softball Park.
Overall: To provide a recreational facility for the existing Buena Vista Community at Hato Rey.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The wetland system consists of a freshwater system adjacent to tidal waters of Caño Martín Peña. The proposed project site is located at the south side of the Caño Martín Peña. The proposed site contains fragments of a secondary forest and isolated tree and palms (Cocos nucifera) specimens. The Hurricane María caused damages on arboreal vegetation, and many fallen specimens of Terminalia catappa, Albizia procera and Spathodea campanulata are at the project site. The proposed wetlands to be impacted by fill are covered by Mimosa pigra. Outside the project site, there is a stand of mangrove forest, mainly composed by Laguncularia racemosa, Roystonea regia and Calophyllum antillarum toward the north and east sides along the adjacent Caño Martín Peña. The proposed project area is located in the parcel “C”, which is about 5.25 acre. This parcel has been previously impacted through years and contains the remains of demolished family dwellings, and deposits of heterogeneous filling materials (garbage, construction debris, domestic debris, mixed aggregates, etc.) at some portions of the proposed site. Also, a portion of the proposed site contains a community park, which is partially enclosed by a concrete fence (north side).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge approximately 107.75 cubic yards of fill material on approximately 0.17 acres of freshwater wetlands to build a softball field and its associated facilities (i.e. bleachers, lockers room, maintenance room, etc.).
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 indicated the proposed project was located as close as possible to already developed areas, and away from the mangrove stands adjacent to Caño Martín Peña. The proposed park field was reduced from a full size baseball park (338 feet distance from home plate to fence) to a smaller size park field (225 feet distance from home plate to fence) adequate for softball and children baseball.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant is proposing the establishment of approximately 0.75 acres of wetlands by planting over 200 wetland species of trees (Annona glabra, Avicenia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa, Conocarpus erectus, Pterocarpus indicus, Amphitecna latifolia) and about 1,300 shrubs and herbaceous wetland species (Colocassia, Cyperus, Wedellia, Acrostichum and Dieffemcachia) along the proposed green swales and wetland areas. Applicant proposes clean/remove the existing construction debris and heterogeneous filling deposits and preserve existing secondary forested upland vegetation. Also, grading is being proposed (from 0 m to -0.20 m) to provide continuous hydrological conditions for new wetlands plants to stablish and for active colonization of other wetland plant species. The establishment of new wetlands area would accomplish two main objectives: compensate wetland loss and management of run-off waters. A portion of the precipitation will be collected from the roof and used for irrigation and other purposes. Runoff water from the surrounding areas of the park will be directed to the green swales, which discharges to the new wetland areas. The green swales in addition to collect runoff water, are expected to retain some of the silt and macro debris. As part of the maintenance program, green swales will be subject to periodical cleaning, by hand, to remove debris. Also the laminar flow of water from the softball field will discharge to the western edge of the new wetland.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the endangered Puerto Rican Boa (Chilabothrus inornatus). No critical habitat has been designated for this species. The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
SECTION 408: The applicant would require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part would 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 Antilles Permits Section, Fundación Angel Ramos, Annex BLDG., Suite 202, 383 F.D. Roosevelt Ave., San Juan, P.R. 00918 or by electronic mail at email@example.com 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, Carmen G. Román, in writing at the Antilles Permits Section, Fundación Angel Ramos, Annex BLDG., Suite 202, 383 F.D. Roosevelt Ave., San Juan, P.R. 00918; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by telephone at (787) 370-3482.
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: A Water Quality Certification is required from the Point Sources Permits Division of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
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.