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SAJ-2021-00271 (Mod #1-TMM)

Jacksonville District
Published May 19, 2023
Expiration date: 6/20/2023

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:  City of Jacksonville

                        Attention: Robin Smith

                        214 North Hogan Street

                        Jacksonville, Florida 32202

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  The project would affect waters of the United States associated with McCoys Creek.  The project site is located at the north and south branches of McCoys Creek from the CSX Railroad to the north and running south to Edison Avenue, Sections 16 and 41, Township 2 South, Range 26 East, Jacksonville, Duval County.

Directions to the site are as follows:  From downtown Jacksonville on the South Bank, travel northwest on the Interstate (I) 95 bridge and cross the St. Johns River. Exit onto I-10 and travel west. Exit onto McDuff Avenue and travel north. Take a right onto Thomas Street and curve to the north onto Bronson Street. Take a right onto Webster Street and a Right onto Hollybrook Avenue. The project site is located west of Hollybrook Avenue.\

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:         Latitude       30.326301°

                                                                                 Longitude -81.700151°


Basic: The basic project purpose is wetland restoration, enhancement, and establishment.

Overall:  The overall project purpose is wetland restoration, enhancement, and establishment of McCoy’s Creek and its associated floodplain to its historic condition, to reduce flooding associated with the creek system, and to improve the water quality of the stream.

EXISTING CONDITIONS:  The project site is a total of 18.83 acres. The wetland system consists of a freshwater system.  The McCoy’s Creek Restoration Phase 0 project area encompasses part of Hollybrook Park and two ponds as well as the north branch, south branch, and confluence of McCoy’s Creek.

    1. Land Use Land Cover: The land use and land cover has been classified from the Florida Land Use and Land Classification Code. Land use within the project area is industrial (150) 0.33 acre, institutional (170) 0.49 acre, recreational (180) with 8.55 acres, open land (190) at 3.37 acres, upland hardwood forest (420) 4.23 acres, reservoirs (530) 7.14 acres, mixed wetland hardwoods (617) 4.29 acres, and Transportation (810) 1.04 acres.

    2. Soils: Arents, nearly level is the dominant soil found within the project area. Other soils include Pelham fine sand (0-2 percent slope), Urban Land-Ortega-Kershaw complex (0-8 percent slopes), and Urban Land-Hurricane-Albany complex (0-5 percent slopes).

PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant seeks authorization to modify the existing permit to extend the restoration work to the McCoys Creek Branches, which are adjacent to the western boundary of the originally authorized permit footprint. The applicant seeks authorization for the following restoration:

Clearing and Contouring: The applicant seeks authorization to place 46,400-cubic-yards of clean fill into 10.69 acres of waters of the United States (1.49 acres of tributaries; 2.02 acres of palustrine forested wetlands, 0.09 acre of herbaceous wetlands and 7.09 acres of stormwater ponds) for mechanized land clearing. A total of 1.23 acres of aquatic resources would remain and not be impacted (0.05 acres of tributary; 0.93 acres of Forested Wetlands; and 0.25 acres of Herbaceous Wetlands).

Reshaping and Planting: The applicant seeks authorization to utilize 45,600-cubic-yards of the abovementioned cleared fill material to create waters of the United States (1.45 acres of tributary and 8.56-acres of palustrine forested wetlands) through contouring and planting.

Stabilization: The applicant seeks authorization to place 2,867-cubic-yards of clean fill into 0.51-acre of waters of the United States (0.18-acre of recontoured tributaries of McCoys Creek Branches and 0.33-acre of palustrine forested wetlands) to install riprap (1,519-cubic-yards of fill), jhook structures (166-cubic-yards of fill), toe wood (370.6-cubic-yards), log habitat array (6.5-cubic-yards), wing deflectors (4.66-cubic-yards), and protective caps over existing sewer lines (800-cubic-yards), which would be added to the streams and wetlands to protect and stabilize the system. This work would be conducted prior to the streams and wetlands being reflooded so the work is not considered in 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:

The proposed project is being designed to restore and enhance the floodplain wetlands associated with McCoy’s Creek. During construction, the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (USFWS, 2013) should be implemented to protect the eastern indigo snake. During construction, erosion control best management practices should be implemented including the use of staked turbidity curtains and silt fencing to protect off site wetlands and surface waters. Logs will be placed to stabilize shorelines while also providing excellent habitat for fish, reptiles, and aquatic macroinvertebrates. Logs will be secured through burying of anchor logs, rebar pins, geotextile fabric, and other methods. Means and methods of dewatering during construction will be left to the discretion of the selected contractor. All work will follow Florida Department of Transportation standards. The concept is to work in phases such that continuity of flow through the system is maintained for the duration of construction, without causing harmful offsite shoaling, erosion, or flooding in excess of permit conditions. At any given point in construction, the CONTRACTOR may elect to rely upon various combinations of recently completed and stabilized work plus the existing drainage system to achieve this objective. The contractor must provide a bypass work plan for City approval prior to commencing work.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

“The proposed project is anticipated to result in the creation of waters of the United States (8.56 acres of palustrine forested wetlands and 1.45 acres of tributary) through recontouring, planting, and removal of invasive exotic species. The proposed creation is anticipated to result in a functional gain of 1.8033.  The Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) was utilized to calculate the functional gain.”


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.


The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). The project site is within the 13-mile United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) North Florida core foraging area for a Wood Stork nesting colony. The Corps evaluated potential effects to Wood Stork using The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008.  Use of this key resulted in the sequential determination A > B > C > D > E > not likely to adversely affect, as the project would provide suitable foraging habitat compensation on site consisting of wetland and stream creation. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required. 

The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis). Habitat for Red-cockaded Woodpecker typically incorporates mature pine woodlands; and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species.  Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees.  The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities.  As significant forested habitat is located near the project site, it is likely that this species would only opportunistically forage at the site, which the project would not preclude.  Therefore, the Corps concludes that the project would have no effect on this species; and, consultation with the USFWS is not required.

The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi). The Corps utilized the Eastern Indigo Snake Programmatic Effect Determination Key January 25, 2010, addendum August 13, 2013, which resulted in the sequence A > B > C > not likely to adversely affect as there are no gopher tortoise burrows, holes, cavities or other refugia where a snake could be buried or trapped or injured during project activities. The USFWS previously indicated that they concur with determinations of not likely to adversely affect based on that key; and, that no additional consultation is required.

The Corps has determined the proposal may affect, but would be not likely to adversely affect the Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta): The Corps evaluated the proposed work utilizing National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO) dated 20 November 2017. The JAXBO analyzes the effects from 10 categories of minor in water activities occurring in Florida and the U.S. Caribbean on sea turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley, hawksbill, and green); smalltooth sawfish; Nassau grouper; scalloped hammerhead shark, Johnson’s seagrass; sturgeon (Gulf shortnose, and Atlantic); corals (elkhorn, staghorn, Boulder star, mountainous star, lobed star, rough cactus, and pillar); whales (North Atlantic right whale, sei, blue, fin, and sperm); and designated critical habitat for Johnson’s seagrass; smalltooth sawfish; sturgeon (Gulf and Atlantic); sea turtles (green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead); North Atlantic right whale; and elkhorn and staghorn corals in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Based on past permitting practices of the Corps and review of consultations with similar in water construction activities, Project Design Criteria (PDCs) were identified in the JAXBO that typically have been applied to permitted in water construction activities.  These PDCs ensure effects of in water construction activities are minimal in nature and do not result in adverse effects to listed species or to essential features of designated critical habitat.  For this authorization, the Corps conducted a project specific review to ensure that all of the PDCs were met for Activity 7: Aquatic Habitat Enhancement, Establishment, and Restoration Activities.  In accordance with the project specific review process established in the JAXBO, a PDC checklist, certification that the activity meets the applicable PDCs, and supporting documentation for the proposed activity will be emailed to NMFS. Therefore, the Jacksonville District will have satisfied the project specific review requirements stipulated in the JAXBO and will have satisfied its obligation under the ESA for the above listed species and critical habitats within the NMFS purview.  Any permit authorization would be conditioned with a JAXBO compliance clause.

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 proposal would impact approximately 3.6 acres of open water utilized by various life stages of summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. 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.

Navigation: The proposed activity is not located in the vicinity of a federal navigation channel.

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 32202 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 32202; by electronic mail at; or, by telephone at (904) 251-9179. 

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: 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.