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:
SPONSOR: Lake Sampala Timber & Land Company, LLC
c/o James Hancock
Post Office Box 566
Zephyrhills, FL 33539
LOCATION: The proposed project, identified as the 1,345.8-acre Lake Sampala Mitigation Bank (LKSAMB), is located approximately 5 miles south of Interstate 10 and north of County Roads 14 and 360, within Sections 27, 28, 34 and 35, of Township 15 south, and Range 8 east, Madison County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude: 30.36299°
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8(d)(4), the Corps has posted a full copy of the LKSAMB 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 “Lake Sampala 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 LKSAMB 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 Sponsor seeks authorization to re-establish and enhance wetlands on the 1,345.8-acre property. The primary ecological goal of the LKSAMB is to restore forested and herbaceous wetlands through cessation of silvicultural and agricultural activities, restoration of natural hydroperiod and community structure at the site. Specific objectives include:
re-establishment of 68.0 acres of hydric pine flatwoods
re-establishment of 234.6 acres of mixed forested wetlands
enhancement of 766.2 acres of mixed forested wetlands
enhancement of 70.5 acres of herbaceous wetlands
ECOLOGICAL SUITABILITY OF THE SITE: A review of available information indicates that the property historically consisted primarily of freshwater marsh, bottomland forest and wet flatwoods. Some uplands at the site had been altered, and the presence of roads and trails are visible on aerial photographs beginning in the early 1940s within the boundaries of the proposed LKSAMB. The site has been logged, utilized for agriculture, and recreational hunting based on information provided by the Sponsor.
ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BANK: The proposed LKSAMB would be established and operated by Lake Sampala Timber & Land Company, LLC as the Sponsor with the assistance of Natural Resource Planning Services, Inc. The property that comprises the LKSAMB is owned by Lake Sampala Timber & Land Company, LLC. The LKSAMB is proposed to be established as a single and complete project. Following successful implementation and attainment of final success criteria, long-term management activities will be implemented to ensure the sustainability of LKSAMB. In addition, the Sponsor will provide sufficient financial assurances to ensure construction and long-term management of the proposed LKSAMB.
PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The project is located within the Econfina-Steinhatchee Sub-basin, identified as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 03110102. The Sponsor proposes all or portions of the Aucilla Sub-basin (HUC 03110103), the Econfina-Steinhatchee Sub-basin (HUC03110102), and the Lower Suwanee Sub-basin (HUC 03110205) as the Mitigation Service Area (MSA). The Aucilla basin, located on the northern side of the LKSAMB extends north along the Aucilla River into lower Georgia. The Econfina-Steinhatchee basin extends South, following the Econfina River and the Steinhatchee River, into the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, the Lower Suwanee basin begins approximately 4 miles East of the proposed bank and, similarly to the Econfina and Steinhatchee, follows the Suwannee River South into the Gulf. The ecological and hydrologic corridors
that are linked by the conservation of this property extend well into the Econfina-
Steinhatchee and Lower Suwanee drainage basins, which are critical parts of the
larger ecosystem. The connections across these landscapes have been
acknowledged through State-sponsored initiatives like the Florida Wildlife
Corridor. The proposed service area will include portions of all three sub-basins
as it corresponds to the EPA Level IV Ecoregions. The LKSAMB is split
horizontally through its center into two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Level IV Ecoregions: Gulf Coast Lowlands (to the South) and Tifton/Tallahassee
Uplands (to the North). LKSAMB is located on the border of these two subbasins.
The Service Area will provide appropriate mitigation for habitat loss within the
Bank’s watershed and similar habitats in a landscape concept.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
Endangered Species: The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife/National Marine Fisheries Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by separate letter.
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 Kissimmee River, the Atlantic Ocean or 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.
SECTION 408: The Sponsor 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 Sponsor. 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. Daniel Irick by electronic mail at email@example.com, by fax at 850-433-8160, or by telephone at 850-433-8860 or at the following address:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT CORPS OF ENGINEERS
41 NORTH JEFFERSON STREET, SUITE 301
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA 32502
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.
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 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 of potential for 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.