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: Tavistock East Services, LLC
c/o Mr. Clint Beaty
6900 Tavistock Lakes Boulevard
Orlando, Florida 32827
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The 16,518 acres Sunbridge/NED project would affect waters of the United States associated with Upper St. Johns River (Hydrologic Unit Code 03080101) and the Kissimmee River Hydrologic Unit (Hydrologic Unit Code 03090101). The project site is south and east of the previously permitted Sunbridge Parkway and Sunbridge Neighborhoods DEF with the Osceola County line as the northern boundary. The Project is located in Sections 1, 12-14, 23-27, and 36, Township 25 South, Range 31 East, and Sections 4-9, 15-22, and 27-34, Township
25 South, Range 32 East, Osceola County, Florida
Directions to the site are as follows: From FL Greenway 417 take Exit 22, south onto County Road 15/Narcoosee Road. In approximately 5 miles turn east onto Cyrils Drive Proceed approximately 2 miles to the end of Cyrils Drive. Project is located approximately 1.0 mile east of the end of Cyrils Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 28.299814°
Basic: Mixed-use Development
Overall: The overall project purpose is construction of a mixed-use development within the Northeast District as identified in the Osceola County Comprehensive Plan.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill of 326.02 acres of direct impact and 126.37 acres of secondary impacts to proposed jurisdictional waters of the United States located within or immediately adjacent to the Project limits. The Project will also result in 178.49 acres of direct impacts and 7.67 acres of indirect impacts to on-site wetlands and surface water proposed non-jurisdictional to the Corps. The jurisdictional line has not been verified by Corps personnel.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The property within the proposed Project limits is currently undeveloped and will continue to be used for agriculture and silvicultural operations until the proposed development activities occur. The Project area is primarily used for cattle ranching. The property is also leased for hunting. Of the 16,518 total acres within the Project limits depicted herein, pastures and rangelands comprise approximately 18%; upland forests cover 16%. Forested and herbaceous freshwater wetlands comprise approximately 57%. Lakes and other surface waters comprise approximately 8%. Existing transportation and utility infrastructure comprise <1% of the site. The characterization of the vegetative communities and land use types was based on the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System. The extent of wetlands presented in this report is based on proposed wetland jurisdictional limits, subject to pending agency approval. The Corps and applicant are currently reviewing the wetland lines and jurisdiction of onsite wetlands and while the below numbers offer a reasonable representation of onsite wetlands the final approved jurisdictional determination has not been completed. Descriptions and vegetative associations of each land use type are provided below. Botanical nomenclature (i.e., scientific names), as presented is per Wunderlin and Hansen.
Regenerated upland communities and existing agricultural land uses are both represented within the Project. Cycles of land management include timber harvest, as well as clearing and burning to create pasture and rangeland for cattle. Most of the current upland cover types resulted through regrowth or succession of the natural communities historically present. Upland communities within the Project consist of Improved Pastures – 211, Mixed Rangeland – 330, Live Oak – 427, Upland Scrub, Pine, and Hardwoods – 436, and Hardwood–Coniferous Mixed – 434. Upland land uses include Roads and Highways – 814 and Electrical Power Transmission Lines – 832.
Improved Pasture – 211 cover type comprises ± 2,010.09 acres represented by actively grazed and managed pasturelands. Predominate cover is by planted forage-grass species such as bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) and limpograss (Hemarthria altissima). Other groundcover species present included Baldwin’s spikerush (Eleocharis baldwinii), beaked panicum (Panicum anceps), blackroot (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum), bluestem (Andropogon sp.), dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), flatsedge (Cyperus sp.), lopsided cyperus (Sorghastrum secundum), netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata), pricklypear (Opuntia humifusa), slender flattop goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana), sweetbroom (Scoparia dulcis), and tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum). Small, scattered patches of live oak (Quercus virginiana), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) are also present within this land use. This cover type also includes cattle-ponds created from upland pasture areas. Vegetation and water quality are limited by cattle usage. Species present on the trampled banks or pond interior include bahiagrass, Baldwin’s spikerush, hemlock witchgrass (Dichanthelium portoricense), Leconte’s flatsedge (Cyperus lecontei), limpograss, soft rush (Juncus effusus), spatterdock (Nuphar advena). Invasive exotic species observed within the cattleponds include Cuban bulrush (Scirpus cubensis) and torpedograss (Panicum repens).
Mixed Rangeland – 330 cover type comprises ±1,013.29 acres throughout the site and is represented by areas subject to agricultural activities and management, but not improved with planted forage grasses. Predominate cover is by shrubs and grasses with occasional canopy/subcanopy trees; species composition and diversity differed with management cycle and cattle usage. Characteristic species include bluestem, bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), gallberry (Ilex glabra), goldenrod (Solidago sp.), groundsel tree (Baccharis halimifolia), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), live oak, loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), lopsided cyperus, muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia), saw palmetto, sawtooth blackberry (Rubus argutus), shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), slash pine, slender flattop goldenrod, staggerbush (Lyonia sp.), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), wiregrass (Aristida stricta). Invasive exotic species noted within this cover include climbing fern (Lygodium sp.) and cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica). Other species present within the 330 cover type include bahiagrass, beaked panicum, blackroot, dahoon (Ilex cassine), Elliott’s lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii), Elliott’s milkpea (Galactia elliottii), huckleberry (Gaylussacia sp.), longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia), netted pawpaw, partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum), rice button aster (Symphyotrichum dumosum), rustweed (Polypremum procumbens), shortleaf gayfeather (Liatris tenuifolia), sweetbroom, tall elephantsfoot (Elephantopus elatus), whitetop aster (Sericocarpus tortifolius).
Live Oak – 427, Upland Scrub, Pine, and Hardwoods – 436, and Hardwood-Coniferous Mixed – 434 cover types comprise ± 246.73, 2,243.97, and 165.72 acres, respectively and are characterized as mature or regenerating upland forests of live oak and/or slash pine with a variable understory of immature canopy species, woody shrubs, and frequently a thick detritus layer. Diversity and density of the understory vary by location, due to prior land uses and prolonged fire suppression. Other subcanopy and shrub species present include Chapman’s oak (Quercus chapmanii), coastalplain staggerbush (Lyonia cyperus), gallberry, loblolly bay, maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), swamp bay (Persea palustris), wax myrtle, and winged sumac. Groundcover species present include airplant (Tillandsia sp.), bahiagrass, beaked panicum, blue maidencane (Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum), bluestem, bracken fern, cinnamon fern, dogfennel, Elliott’s milkpea, fascicled beaksedge (Rhynchospora fascicularis), fourpetal St. John’swort (Hypericum tetrapetalum), goldenrod, hemlock witchgrass, little bluestem, narrowleaf silkgrass, pinebarren flatsedge (Cyperus retrorsus), reindeer lichen (Cladonia sp.), saw palmetto, sawtooth blackberry, shiny blueberry, tall nutgrass (Scleria triglomerata), and thin paspalum (Paspalum setaceum), and Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica). Invasive exotic species noted within this cover include climbing fern. Infrequent occurrences of pond-cypress (Taxodium ascendens) indicative of historic conditions are also present within this cover type.
Roads and Highways – 814 and Electrical Power Transmission Lines – 832 cover types comprise ±80.44 and 19.59 acres, respectively, and are represented by existing improved and unimproved access and transmission routes which traverse portions of the Project. Nova Road bisects the southern portion of the Project from east to west; Sungrove Lane crosses the western portion of the Project from south to north. Powerline easements are located primarily in the southwest portions of the Project area and in association with existing roads. All access and transmission routes are subject to routine maintenance.
The Corps and applicant are currently reviewing the wetland lines and jurisdiction of onsite wetlands and while the below numbers offer a reasonable representation of onsite wetlands the final approved jurisdictional determination has not been completed. Construction of adjacent canal projects along the western portion of the project has altered the hydrology of many systems from their historical condition. Many smaller wetlands and the edges of larger strands have been subject to ongoing agricultural/silvicultural uses and management practices such as cattle grazing, logging, and ditching. Cycles of management include long-term fire suppression followed by selective timber harvest. Topographic disturbances from cattle-use and/or feral pig activity are present in many wetlands. Generally, the current condition of each wetland has been variably altered relative to the optimal condition by the historical land uses. However, many wetland areas retain characteristic species composition and hydrologic functions, and comparable ecological benefits are provided by many of the successional communities, although the suite of species they support may differ from the historical conditions. Wetland communities within the Project consist of Cypress – 621, Wetland Forested Mixed – 630, Wetland Shrub – 631, Freshwater Marshes – 641, Wet Prairies – 643, and Emergent Aquatic Vegetation – 644.
Cypress – 621 cover type comprises ±2,927.56 acres and is characterized by an overstory of cypress, although size class, density, and understory composition are variable based on location. Most strand and dome systems are predominated by pond-cypress; bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum) occurs primarily along the on-site lakes. Other overstory species may also be present such as slash pine, swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), and water oak (Quercus nigra). Midstory density differed by location including species such as cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), dahoon, fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), slash pine, swamp bay, wax myrtle. Groundcover diversity and coverage varied by system, but commonly observed species include beaksedge (Rhynchospora sp.), blue maidencane, camphorweed (Pluchea sp.), eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), falsefennel (Eupatorium leptophyllum), greenbrier (Smilax sp.), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), primrosewillow (Ludwigia sp.), sphagnum (Sphagnum sp.), sugarcane plumegrass (Saccharum giganteum), swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum), Virginia chain fern, warty sedge (Carex cyperus), Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana), and yelloweyed grass (Xyris p.). Recruitment of pine and/or hardwood species noted in select wetlands are indicative of historical and successional changes in hydrology. Vegetative coverage and diversity may also vary based on degree of cattle-use. Species composition varied by location based on the type and degree of historical alterations to the wetland. Additional species present in less altered 621 wetlands include airplant, bulltongue arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia), cinnamon fern, climbing hempvine (Mikania scandens), grassy arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea), Jamaica swamp sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), sandweed (Hypericum fasciculatum), smallfruit beggarticks (Bidens mitis), sour paspalum (Paspalum conjugatum), southern cutgrass (Leersia hexandra), taperleaf waterhorehound (Lycopus rubellus), tenangle pipewort (Eriocaulon decangulare), viviparous spikerush (Eleocharis vivipara), water cowbane (Oxypolis filiformis), and woolly witchgrass (Dichanthelium scabriusculum). Other species present in more altered 621 wetlands include American cupscale (Sacciolepis striata), broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus), early paspalum (Paspalum praecox), falsefennel, fascicled beaksedge, flaxleaf false foxglove (Agalinis linifolia), purple bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus var. glaucopsis), sawtooth blackberry, spadeleaf (Centella asiatica), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), and thin paspalum.
Wetland Forested Mixed – 630 cover type comprises ±3,070.59 acres and is characterized by a variable overstory of hydrophytic species such as laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), live oak, pond-cypress, red maple (Acer rubrum), slash pine, and swamp tupelo. Most occurrences are associated with edges of other wetland cover types or higher topography within larger systems. Midstory and understory density and composition varied by location. Commonly observed midstory species include canopy recruits, dahoon, fetterbush, loblolly bay, maleberry, swamp bay, sweetbay, and wax myrtle. Groundcover species include a variety a ferns, forbs, and vines including blue maidencane, cinnamon fern, climbing hempvine, fascicled beaksedge, greenbrier, lizard’s tail, maiden fern (Thelypteris sp.), muscadine, purple bluestem, redtop panicum (Panicum rigidulum), saw palmetto, sawtooth blackberry, and Virginia chain fern. Invasive exotic species observed include old world climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) and wild taro (Colocasia esculenta).
Wetland Shrub – 631 cover type comprises ±614.52 acres and is represented by communities exhibiting succession of woody species, many within formerly herbaceous wetlands. Recruiting tree and shrub species commonly observed in the sparse to moderately dense midstory include dahoon, pond-cypress, slash pine, swamp bay, swamp tupelo, and wax myrtle. The groundcover frequently includes characteristic herbaceous wetland species such as beaksedge, blue maidencane, falsefennel, greenbrier, Jamaica swamp sawgrass, royal fern, sandweed, southern umbrellasedge (Fuirena scirpoidea), sphagnum, and yelloweyed grass.
Freshwater Marsh – 641 cover type comprises ±2,393.87 acres and is characterized by a predominanceof hydrophytic ferns, graminoids, and forbs with occasional woody species and observed hydrologic indicators. Where present, tree and shrub species include dahoon, pond-cypress, slash pine, swamp bay, swamp tupelo, and wax myrtle. Characteristic species present include American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), broomsedge bluestem, bulltongue arrowhead, combleaf mermaidweed (Proserpinaca cyperus), fascicled beaksedge, maidencane, narrowfruit horned beaksedge (Rhynchospora inundata), pale meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana), pickerelweed, primrosewillow, purple bluestem, sandweed, southern umbrellasedge, sugarcane plumegrass, swamp fern, Virginia chain fern, and yelloweyed grass. Invasive exotic species observed include torpedograss. Abundant recruitment of woody species and/or predominance of wet prairie species noted in select wetlands are indicative of historical and successional changes in hydrology. Species composition varied by location based on the type and degree of historical alterations to the wetland. Additional species present in the freshwater marsh wetlands include bladderwort (Utricularia sp.), grassy arrowhead, narrowfruit horned beaksedge, roundpod St. John’s-wort (Hypericum cistifolium), royal fern, sand cordgrass (Spartina bakeri), smallfruit beggarticks, sphagnum, tenangle pipewort. Other species present in the freshwater marsh wetlands subject to reduced hydrology, grazing, or other alterations include bahiagrass, Baldwin’s spikerush, bog white violet (Viola lanceolata), broomsedge bluestem, ciliate redtop panicum (Panicum longifolium), duckweed (Lemna sp.), flatsedge, glade lobelia (Lobelia glandulosa), herb-of-grace (Bacopa monnieri), manyflower marshpennywort (Hydrocotyle cyperus), pinebarren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa), slender flattop goldenrod, soft rush, spadeleaf, and sweetbroom.
Wet Prairie – 643 cover type comprises ±357.79 acres and is characterized by a predominance of hydrophytic grasses and sedges with scattered woody species and limited evidence of above-ground hydrology. Where present, tree and shrub species include pond-cypress and slash pine. Characteristic species present include Baldwin’s spikerush, beaksedge, big carpetgrass (Axonopus furcatus), blue maidencane, broomsedge bluestem, ciliate redtop panicum, maidencane, purple bluestem, roundpod St. John’s-wort, slender flattop goldenrod, and yelloweyed grass. Invasive exotic species observed include old world climbing fern. Abundant recruitment of woody species and/or prevalence of dry prairie species noted in select wetlands are indicative of historical and successional changes in hydrology. Species composition varied by location based on the type and degree of historical alterations to the wetland and land use activity. Additional species present in the wet prairie wetlands include aster (Symphyotrichum sp.), big carpetgrass, bladderwort, bog white violet, butterwort (Pinguicula sp.), clustered mille cyperus (Oldenlandia uniflora), combleaf mermaidweed, erectleaf witchgrass (Dichanthelium erectifolium), glade lobelia, hooded pitcherplant (Sarracenia minor), knotweed (Polygonum sp.), manyflower marshpennywort, myrtleleaf St. John’s-wort (Hypericum myrtifolium), pineland rayless goldenrod (Bigelowia nudata), primrosewillow, rough hedgehyssop (Gratiola hispida), sandweed, soft rush, southern umbrella sedge, spadeleaf, tall threeawn (Aristida patula), tenangle pipewort, Virginia buttonweed, water cowbane, and wiregrass. Other species noted in the wet prairies subject to grazing, reduced hydrology or other alterations include common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), gallberry, smallfruit beggarticks, and Virginia chain fern.
Emergent Aquatic Vegetation – 644 cover type comprises ±119.14 acres and is characterized by the vegetated littoral zones of the five named lakes located within or partially within the Project area. Herbaceous species present commonly include American white waterlily, bladderwort, bulltongue arrowhead, cattail (Typha sp.), combleaf mermaidweed, maidencane, narrowfruit horned beaksedge, pickerelweed, soft stem bulrush (Scirpus tabernaemontani), southern cutgrass, southern umbrella sedge, spatterdock, sugarcane plume grass, and swamp fern. Invasive exotic species observed include Cuban bulrush and torpedo grass.
22.214.171.124 Surface Waters
Hydrologically isolated and connected wetland systems are both represented within the Project. Construction of adjacent canal projects has altered the hydrology of most systems from their historical condition. Many smaller isolated wetlands and the edges of larger strands have been subject to ongoing agricultural/silvicultural uses and management practices such as cattle grazing, logging, and ditching. Wetland communities within the Project consist of Canals – 513, Ditches – 516, Lakes – 520, and Reservoirs – 530.
Canals – 513 cover type comprises ±25.24 acres and is represented by historically constructed flood control features located within or partially within the Project area, to include the C-30, C-32, and Myrtle-Preston canals. These large-scale conveyances exhibit various flow directions and are routinely maintained and managed by the SFWMD. The canal banks are comprised of mowed bahia grass with occasional trees and shrubs. Floating or emergent vegetation within the canals is sparse; where present, species included American white waterlily, bulltongue arrowhead, coast cockspur (Echinochloa walteri), maidencane, netted chain fern (Woodwardia cyperus), pickerelweed, smallfruit beggarticks, and spatterdock. Invasive exotic species observed include torpedo grass and water spangles (Salvinia minima). Water of varying depths is perennially present in the canals.
Ditches – 516 cover type comprises ±11.20 acres and is represented by historically constructed drainage features, including agricultural ditches and roadside swales. These features are variably maintained, and many are subject to grazing. Species composition and hydrology both vary by location; vegetation includes species such as bahiagrass, beaksedge, Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus) maidencane, pickerelweed, soft rush, waterhyssop (Bacopa sp.), and wax myrtle. Invasive exotic species observed include Cuban bulrush and torpedo grass.
Lakes – 520 cover type comprises ±1,178.25 acres and is represented by five named lakes located within or partially within the Project limits, including Lake Bullock, Lake Myrtle, Lake Preston, Lake Joel, and Trout Lake. Except Bullock Lake, the lakes are interconnected by large flood control canals and lake levels are controlled by the associated flood control structures and regulating lake management schedules. Open water vegetation is limited.
Reservoirs – 530 cover type comprises ±40.65 acres and is represented by existing cattle ponds and historically constructed borrow areas associated with construction of Nova Road. The individual features vary in size, but most are utilized as water sources for cattle and other agricultural operations. Species composition is variable by location; vegetation includes species such as American white waterlily, bahiagrass, Baldwin’s spikerush, blue waterhyssop (Bacopa caroliniana), bulltongue arrowhead, Cyperus Leconte’s flatsedge, hemlock witchgrass, limpograss, maidencane, pickerelweed, primrose willow, soft rush, and spatterdock. Where present, banks may include shrub species such as dahoon, pond-cypress, and wax myrtle. Invasive exotic species observed include Cuban bulrush, torpedo grass, and water spangles.
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:
“Impacts to WOTUS could not be totally avoided due to Osceola County’s mobility policies, significant effort has been taken through the selection and design process to minimize wetland impacts associated with the Project to the greatest extent practicable while remaining consistent with the objectives and policies of the Sunbridge PD. The first federal requirement, impact avoidance, has been satisfied through the local comprehensive planning process of Osceola County. As discussed in Section 5.0, the proposed Project area was selected after extensive environmental analysis to identify key natural features and landscape linkages, and was carefully designed to avoid impacts to aquatic resources and wildlife habitat where practicable. The second federal requirement, impact minimization, has been satisfied by siting the proposed Project. within wetlands of lower functional value where possible. Additionally, consideration of future wildlife utilization potential in accordance with the policies of the Sunbridge PD found no value in avoiding or minimizing impact to smaller wetlands which would become isolated from surrounding natural habitats in the post-development condition. Instead, avoidance and minimization efforts focused on protection and preservation of larger, higher quality systems with existing off-site regional connections. In determining whether significant degradation will occur, the ACOE and the state may consider proposed mitigation measures (see Headquarters U.S. Army Corps Engineers Review and Findings, Twisted Oaks Joint Venture Permit §404[q] Elevation; also see ERP Applicant’s Handbook Volume 1, Section 10.2.1) (15). Having satisfied the requirements for “avoidance and minimization,” the proposed mitigation plan (see [below mitigation section]) satisfies the requirement for compensatory mitigation for those impacts that cannot be avoided or minimized.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Compensatory mitigation to offset to functional loss due to unavoidable Project impacts to jurisdictional wetlands will be provided through the purchase of mitigation credits at the TM Econ Mitigation Bank. In accordance with the preference hierarchy, the proposed credit purchase will support an approved mitigation plan of regional significance that will provide long-term, viable, and sustainable ecological and hydrological functions to sufficiently offset the proposed Project impacts to jurisdictional wetlands. Additionally, most of the Project wetlands will be preserved post-development pursuant to the policies and objectives of the Sunbridge PD (36). The on-site preservation areas will remain hydrologically and ecologically connected through installation of strategically sited culverts and wildlife crossings and will be subject to a HCMP [habitat conservation management plan]. These on-site mitigation activities will provide additional compensatory value to offset any functional loss resulting from non-jurisdictional impacts.”
The Corps and applicant are currently reviewing the proposed onsite wetlands for jurisdiction as well as evaluating the function of the onsite resources. Upon completion of those reviews the applicant will follow the preference hierarchy in 33 CFR Part 332.3 (b)(1) and purchase mitigation credits as described above.
The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), Everglades Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), Audubon's Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), and/or their designated critical habitats. These determinations are based on species specific Programmatic Effect Determination Keys and DRAFT Standard Local Operating Procedures for Endangered Species (SLOPES) guidelines.
The Corps has determined the proposed project “may affect” the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key (dated August 1, 2017), the Corps determination sequence is as follows: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh.) > B (The permit will be conditioned for use of the Service’s Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake during site preparation and construction.) > C (The project will impact more than 25 acres of eastern indigo snake habitat.) = May Affect. The Corps will initiate formal consultation with USFWS pursuant to the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with these determinations, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The proposed work would have no effect to EFH
SECTION 408: The applicant will 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.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 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, Brandon J. Conroy, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida; by electronic mail at Brandon.J.Conroy@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771 x 0011.
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. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
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.
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.