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: Benderson Development Company, LLC
Attn: Mr. Todd Mathes
7978 Copper Creek Boulevard, Suite 100
University Park, Florida 33647
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Nassau River. The project site is located near 350 Pecan Park Road, in Section 40, Township 0 South, Range 0 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 366 and head east on Pecan Park Road. Proceed for a 0.10-mile and the project site is located on the left side of Pecan Park Road.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.525255°
Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a commercial development (industrial warehouse) within a 0.5-mile of direct access to Interstate-95 in Duval County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site (192.32 acres) is within 3 parcels (totaling 852.87 acres) and encompasses land-use categories/vegetative communities categorized by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).
a. Uplands – 125.92 acres
i. Upland Hardwood Forests (FLUCFCS code 434) (77.43 acres) – This land use type is located throughout the center of the Project. The canopy is dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and live oak (Quercus virginiana) with scattered laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) and an understory of saw palmetto (Sabal palmetto).
ii. Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441) (48.49 acres) – This land use type is located in the northern and southern quarters of the Project. The canopy is dominated by planted slash pine with an understory of gallberry (Ilex glabra).
b. Aquatic Resources – 66.40 acres
i. Streams and Waterways (FLUCFCS code 510) (0.72 acres) – This land use type is located in several areas of the project area, and all appear to be manmade drainage ditches. Little to no vegetation is present within these systems.
ii. Reservoirs (FLUCFCS code 530) (22.96 ac.) – This land use type is in the southern half of the Project and consists of a man-made reservoir. Historic aerials were downloaded of the site to determine the history of the system. This system was not constructed in the 1960 aerials but is clearly visible in the 1969 aerial. These historic aerials also suggest that most of this system was constructed in uplands. This system has little vegetation associated with it. There are some minor areas of a littoral shelf that has vegetation consisting of bulltongue arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), and many flower marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata).
iii. Mixed Hardwood Forest (FLUCFCS code 617) (26.75 acres) – This land use type is in four areas within the Project. The canopies are dominated by red maple (Acer rubrum), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens), and laurel oak with an understory of St. John’s wort (Hypericum sp.), yellow hatpins (Syngonanthus flavidulus) and other herbaceous wetland species.
iv. Cypress (FLUCFCS code 621) (1.32 acres) -This community is composed of pond cypress. In the case of pond cypress, common associates are swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora), slash pine and black titi (Cliftonia monophyla).
v. Hydric Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS code 625) (14.24 acres) - Forest with a thick canopy of slash pine (Pinus elliottii). The understory is forbs and saw palmetto (Serena repens).
iv. Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS code 641) (0.41 ac.) – This land use type is in the southwestern corner of the Project and consists of a single, isolated wetland. Dominant vegetation consists of bulltongue arrowhead, pickerelweed, Carolina redroot, and many flower marsh pennywort.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean-fill material in 42.31 acres of freshwater-forested wetlands, 0.41-acre of freshwater marsh, and 0.72-acre of relatively permanent waterways to facilitate the construction of a 192.32-acre industrial warehouse, stormwater retention pond, and associated infrastructure.
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 has provided an Alternative Sites Analysis that supports the Project (the Preferred Site) as the LEDPA. The proposed WOTUS impacts have been limited to low quality systems that have been historically impacted by the construction of Pecan Park Road and Interstate 95 and elevated water levels that have caused significant tree mortality. A Sediment and Erosion Control plan and BMPs will be implemented to minimize the potential for off-site impacts to wetlands due to construction activities.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Off-site wetland mitigation is proposed to offset wetland impacts. Since wetland impacts are too low to moderate quality wetland systems, the mitigation site will provide a higher quality forested system. Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be utilized to ensure that off-site wetlands are not affected by construction activities associated with this project. Likewise, additional impacts to the environment outside the construction area are not anticipated since BMP measures (silt fences, staked turbidity barriers, floating turbidity barriers) will be implemented for the project. Off-site wetland mitigation will be initiated by the permittee to offset the functional loss (UMAM scores) incurred by the Project’s direct wetland impacts. The off-site mitigation area is within the same watershed as the Project.”
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 Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Florida, January 2010. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) using The Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key, August 2013. The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) due to the lack of appropriate habitat.
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 Nassau River. 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 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.
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.
COMMENTS and QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at Brad.J.Carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days of the publishing of this notice.
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: Water Quality Certification is required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) or St. Johns River Water Management District.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved 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.