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: South Florida Water Management District
Attn.: Holly Andreotta
4900 South University Drive, Suite 207
Davie, Florida 33328
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States
within the L-6 Canal located at the S-6 Pump Station, which is adjacent to the western
side of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: The S-6 Pump Station (PS), associated with Stormwater Treatment Area 2 (STA-2), is located at the south termination point of the L-15 Canal, and adjacent to the intersection of four levee systems: L-7, L-15, L-39, and L-6. The L-15 west access road crosses over a concrete box culvert connection between the L-15 Canal and the L-6 Spur Canal approximately 150 feet upstream of the S-6 PS trash rake bridge. There is no levee at the proposed project location on the west side of L-15 Canal.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is to improve flood control efficiencies.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to improve flood control efficiencies at the S-6 Pump Station, that would overall improve treatment into the STA in Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site is at an existing flood control canal known as the L-6 Canal, which is part of the Central & South Florida (C&SF) flood control canal system. The project area within the L-6 Canal generally bisects natural wildlife and wetland habitat of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Water Conservation Area 2 as well as adjacent, undisturbed areas and agricultural areas. Surrounding the canal includes existing access roads and bridges, as well as adjacent upland levee and wetlands consisting mostly of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terbinthifolius) saplings, Leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium), Swamp mallow (Kostelezkya virginica), Cattail (Typha domingensis), and Broom grass
PROPOSED WORK: The project consists of the construction of a pump station G6A (total 1,050 cfs) and canal expansion. The proposed activities include approximately 5.161 acres of work within jurisdictional waters of the U.S. (2.723 acres herbaceous wetlands and 2.438 acres open waters). Approximately 24,612.16 cubic yards of fill would be placed within the jurisdictional waters (23,431.86 cubic yards in herbaceous wetlands and 1,180.3 cubic yards in open water). Additionally, approximately 12,566.04 cubic yards of sediment will be dredged within the jurisdictional waters (2,866.22 cubic yards in wetlands and 9,699.82 cubic yards in open water).
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:
“Best management practices, including silt screens and turbidity barriers, will be utilized throughout the duration of construction. The project is not expected to negatively impact threatened or endangered species, or their habitats. All internal and external staff working on the project will receive Threatened and Endangered Species Training, Qualified Eastern Indigo Snake Observer Training, and Ground Nesting Bird Training through the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION –
The applicant has provided the following explanation why compensatory mitigation should not be required:
“The SFWMD has been operating and monitoring water discharges from STA-2 into Water Conservation Area 2A (WCA-2A) since 2001. The main objective of the STA discharges has been to distribute treated water along a broad boundary of the water conservation area to more evenly distribute inflows of treated water across the WCA. The SFWMD has implemented a monitoring and assessment program to evaluate ecological changes associated with STA-2 discharges in WCA-2A by performing field monitoring, research, mapping, and reporting activities.
Benefits identified in the WCA-2A Report have included restoring a more natural hydroperiod and hydropattern throughout the northwestern sections of WCA-2A and improved ecological functionality of the marshes downstream of STA-2. Since treated water from STA-2 was released into this region beginning in July 2001, mean water depths have significantly increased and hydroperiod has also increased from under five months to just less than ten months. Surface water total phosphorus (TP) decreased at most of the sampling locations during the post-discharge period.
Monitoring results indicate that there have also been improvements at several previously nutrient-impacted sites, i.e., areas with soil TP > 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), and there was generally no negative impact at previously unimpacted sites in WCA-2A resulting from STA-2 discharge. The benefits include increased hydroperiod and improved water quality, as evidenced by decreased surface water TP, stable soil TP concentrations, increased relative abundances of low nutrient periphyton indicator species, decreased relative abundances of high nutrient periphyton indicator species, and decreased nutrient content in periphyton tissues.
The purpose of the G-6A PS is to improve the timing of surplus water discharges from the tributary basin and reduce operational dependency placed on the larger S-6 PS. The G-6A PS will allow for one pump unit at the S-6 PS to be out for service while still maintaining the maximum design discharge from the Hillsboro Canal into STA-2 with two 975 cubic feet per second (cfs) diesel units at the S-6 PS and two smaller 500 cfs diesel units at the G-6A PS. In addition, the smaller two 500 cfs diesel pumps at the G-6A PS will allow for a more gradual increase and decrease of flow from the Hillsboro Canal into STA-2, which could be beneficial for STA performance. No mitigation is proposed, as the G-6A PS project will result in a net positive environmental benefits to the downstream Everglades Protection Area, by improving the timing, distribution, quantity and quality of water delivered; thus restoring a more natural hydroperiod, hydropattern, and improved wetland functionality.”
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.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to
adversely affect the Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), Florida’s
Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), and Eastern
Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi corais). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and
Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered
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. The areas affected by the project include a freshwater flood control canal. 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 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 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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 within 21 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, Christian Karvounis, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by e-mail at Christian.G.Karvounis@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561)-472-3508.
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.
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.