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: Waypoint Realty Holdings, LLC
Attention: Jim Lott
150 East Palmetto Park Road, Suite 700
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Big Davis Creek. The project site is located at the intersection of Pinnacle Point Drive and US 1, Section 37, Township 4 South, Range 28 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From the intersection of Interstate (I) 295 and US-1, drive approximately 1.6 miles south on US 1 to property at the northwest corner of the intersection with Pinnacle Point Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.150561°°
Basic: Development for multi-family residential housing.
Overall: Development for multi-family residential housing and associated infrastructure in south Jacksonville, Duval County.
a. Project History: An approved jurisdictional determination was conducted on the eastern portion of the property on November 26, 2018, under SAJ-2018-01875. The Corps authorized discharge of fill for a public recreational center in December 2014 under SAJ-2012-01071. The work was completed for the fill; however, the recreational center was never constructed and the permit expired March 30, 2020. A preapplication meeting was conducted in April 2022 for the proposed multi-family residential development under SAJ-2018-01875, which determined that the proposed work, as initially submitted, would be retained by the Corps. This determination was made based on an onsite evaluation of the ordinary high water mark and the impacts that are proposed in adjacent wetlands within 300 feet of the retained water. The eastern and western portions of the area were combined and placed under SAJ-2022-01532 in the new applicant’s name.
b. Site Description: The project area is a total of 30.54 acres consisting of a freshwater system, including a portion of Big Davis Creek that runs through the northern boundary of the project area, a cleared, grassy area that was filled as part of a previous Corps permit, and a fallow field. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of US 1 to the west, powerlines crossing Big Davis Creek, a single-family residential subdivision to the southeast, and a grassy field to the south of Pinnacle Point Drive.
c. Vegetative Communities: 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) with 18.12 acres of uplands and 12.42 acres of wetlands and other surface waters as described below:
i. Improved Pasture/Field (FLUCFCS 2110) 9.92 acres: The western portion of the property comprises a field vegetated with such species as bahia grass (Panicum notatum), Vasey grass (Paspalum urvillei) and various weeds. Previously this area had been managed for a number of years as pine plantation. The plantation was cleared and converted to field after the Corps permit was issued for a recreational development.
ii. Pine Plantation, Cut-Over (FLUCFCS 441) 6.41 acres: The eastern half of the property contains areas of cut-over pine plantation. Until very recently this area had been vegetated with rows of even-aged planted slash pine (Pinus elliottii). The pines have all been harvested by the current landowner. The far eastern end of the property is somewhat better drained and has a ground cover including such species as saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra), beauty berry (Callicarpa americana), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).
iii. Open Land (FLUCFCS 190) 1.79 acres: The property contains a thin strip of disturbed land along the western boundary. This strip comprises an earthen berm.
iv. Wetland Pine Plantation, Cut-Over (FLUCFCS 441W) 0.37 acre: The eastern half of the property contains areas of cut-over wet pine plantation. Until very recently this area had been vegetated with rows of even-aged, planted slash pine. The pines have all been harvested. The ground cover vegetation includes such species as warty panic grass (Panicum verrucosum), red root (Lachnanthes caroliniana), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.). The seasonal high water table in these areas is at or very close to the ground surface.
v. Hydric Pine Flatwoods, Cut-Over (FLUCFCS 625) 0.34 acre: The northern end of the property contains relatively small areas of hydric pine flatwoods. Until very recently, the canopy in these areas was dominated by slash pine mixed with loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) with an understory and ground cover of such species as cinnamon fern and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). All of the trees in these areas have been timbered. The seasonal high water table in these areas is at or very close to the ground surface.
vi. Bay Swamp/Gum Swamp (FLUCFCS 611/613) 1.15 acres: The eastern half of the property contains a finger of forested wetland vegetated with loblolly bay, blackgum (Nyssa biflora) and scattered pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens). The understory and ground cover vegetation comprises a relatively dense growth of fetterbush along with such species Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), royal fern (Osmunda regalis) and sphagnum moss. The lower portions of this finger contain shallow standing water during the rainy season. Thin strips of bay swamp are also located along the upper edge of the adjacent floodplain swamp of Big Davis Creek.
vii. Stream and Lake Swamp (FLUCFCS 615) 8.58 acres: The property contains a portion of the floodplain swamp along Big Davis Creek. The canopy in this wetland includes such species as bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), American elm (Ulmus americana), blackgum, Carolina ash (Fraxinus caroliniana), and red maple (Acer rubrum). The understory and ground cover vegetation includes such species as buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), dwarf bluestem (Sabal minor), Virginia willow (Itea virginica), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), iris (Iris sp.), and sedges (Carex spp. and Cyprerus spp.).
viii. Ditches (FLUCFCS 510) 0.89-acre upland-cut: The property contains two man-made ditches. These ditches are vegetated with such species as cattail (Typha sp.), saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia) and wax myrtle (Morella cerifera).
ix. Stream Channel (FLUCFCS 510) 1.09 acres: The property contains portions of the flow channel of Big Davis Creek. This is a black water, tannin-stained creek.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place 3,356-cubic-yards of fill into 1.04 acres of waters of the United States (0.15-acre of palustrine forested wetlands and 0.89-acre of ditch impacts that are jurisdictional to the Corps under a Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination) for construction of a multi-family residential development and associated infrastructure. The applicant also seeks authorization to dredge 3,775-cubic-yards within 1.56 acres of waters of the United States (0.64-acre of cut over hydric pine flatwoods, 0.91-acre of bay swamp/gum swamp, and 0.01-acre of stream and lake swamp) for flood compensatory storage. The applicant is proposing a 5-year authorization.
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 project was designed to avoid all impacts to the forested wetlands along Big Davis Creek. Cut-over wet pine plantation and ditches are proposed to be filled. Cut-over wet pine plantation and hydric pine flatwoods and an area of bay wetland are proposed to be dredged for a compensatory flood storage area.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Mitigation will be accomplished through the purchase of credits from a permitted mitigation bank.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of recorded historic resources within or adjacent to the permit area and 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.
a. Wood Stork (Mycteria americana): The proposed project site is within a Wood Stork Core Foraging Area. Therefore, this species could be present within the project area. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Jacksonville Ecological Services Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork, September 2008 (Key), to determine the potential effects on the species. Use of the Key resulted in the sequence A > B > C > D > E > may affect, not likely to adversely affect as the proposed work would not impact more than half an acre of suitable foraging habitat, but includes mitigation at a wetland mitigation bank. The USFWS has indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for Wood Storks; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
b. Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi): The eastern indigo snake frequents several habitat types, including pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, high pine, dry prairie, tropical hardwood hammocks, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, coastal dunes, and human-altered habitats. Therefore, this species could utilize the area encompassed by the ESA scope of analysis for this project. Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows are commonly utilized as refuge from winter cold and/or desiccating conditions in xeric habitats; and, hollowed root channels, hollow logs, or burrows of rodents, armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) provide shelter in wetter habitats. The environmental consultant indicated that there no gopher tortoise burrows are found on site, no gopher tortoises or habitat has been observed, and the soils mapped for the property are too poorly drained to provide suitable tortoise habitat. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect, as the applicant would be required to implement the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake, August 12, 2013. The USFWS has indicated that they concur with determinations of may affect, not likely to adversely affect based on the key for eastern indigo snakes; and, that no additional consultation is necessary.
c. On April 21, 2022, the Corps executed a RAR report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed threatened or endangered species, other than those mentioned above. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed, threatened, or endangered species, other than those mentioned above.
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 South Atlantic Region. 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 would 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.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207 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, Terri M. Mashour, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207; by electronic mail at Terri.M.Mashour@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 570-4512.
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.
Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972.
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. Water Quality Certification may be required from the St. Johns River Water Management District.
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.