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SAJ-2000-00398 (SP-TMM)

Jacksonville District
Published July 10, 2023
Expiration date: 8/4/2023

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) as described below:

APPLICANT:      Global Outreach Charter Academy, Inc.

                                 Attention: Ilya Soroka

                                  1252 Fromage Way

                                   Jacksonville, Florida 32225

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Strawberry Creek. The project site is located at Global Outreach Charter Academy, 8985 Lonestar Road, Section 12, Township 2 South, Range 27 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows:  From Downtown Jacksonville, take the Matthews Bridge east and travel east onto the Arlington Expressway. Exit onto Florida State Road (SR) 113 and travel north. Exit onto Lone Star Road and travel west approximately one quarter of a mile and the Global Outreach Charter Academy will be on the right.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:         Latitude       30.3394°

                                                                                  Longitude -81.5592°


Basic: The basic project purpose is to provide athletic fields.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to provide overlapping soccer  baseball athletic fields as well as a stormwater pond for the students at Global Outreach Charter Academy, Jacksonville, Duval County.


The school is located just north of Regency Square Mall, west of SR 113. The site is on the east side of the high-density residential developments of Arlingwood and Alderman Park, east of Mill Creek Road and east of the Section 10 Strawberry Creek. Strawberry Creek is a deep, channelized creek in this location, but is tidal to the southwest as it flows from the Arlington River and tidal to the north as it flows into the St. Johns River. North of the site is undeveloped, part of a corridor of undeveloped lands bordering the east side of Strawberry Creek most of the way north to the St. Johns River. South of the site is high density residential development. East of the site is the location of the old Humphreys Gold Mine which is currently being developed into a residential subdivision.

The existing land uses and vegetative communities have been characterized pursuant to the Florida Department of Transportation publication Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) as described below and depicted on Figure 4.

  A. Uplands 11.30 acres

    (i) Educational Facilities (FLUCFCS 171) 9.15 acres: Most of the property had previously been developed for a church and contains a 2-story building, parking lot, interior driveways, landscaping, and stormwater pond. Essentially all of the developable uplands have already been developed. Historically most of the uplands had been disturbed by a sand mine operation that extracted heavy minerals from this general area.

    (ii) Hardwood – Conifer Mixed (FLUCFCS 434) 1.36 acres: The western third of the property contains areas of forested uplands that may be characterized as hardwood-conifer mixed woods. These areas historically were likely pine woods that periodically experienced wildfires. The canopy currently is dominated by such hardwoods as laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), live oak (Q. virginiana), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), and camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) along with scattered longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), loblolly pine (P. taeda) and slash pine (P. elliottii). The shrub layer and ground cover vegetation in the less disturbed areas is dominated by such species as saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra) and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).

    (iii) Mixed Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 438) 0.62 acre: The eastern edge of the property contains an area of upland that is vegetated with such species as Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera), camphor, wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), and pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) along with scattered slash pine. This area had previously been cleared a number of years ago.

    (iv) Open Land (FLUCFCS 190) 0.17 acre: The southwest corner of the property contains a relatively small area that appears to be regularly maintained by the City of Jacksonville as it directly abuts a public park. This area comprises a field vegetated with bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) and various early successional weeds.

  B. Wetlands and Other Surface Waters 3.58 acres

    (i) Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS 630) 2.76 acres: The western third of the property contains two areas of forested wetland that connect to Strawberry Creek. The eastern portions of these wetlands comprise seepage slopes that drop in elevation approximately 4 feet from east to west from around +34 feet to +30 feet. The western portions of the wetlands comprise remnants of a slough between elevations +30 feet and +29 feet. The creek channel is located just offsite to the west and was channelized many years ago. The bottom of this channel appears to be around elevations +27 feet to +26 feet. Over time this ditching has altered the original hydrology of the adjacent wetlands. The areas closest to the ditch (original slough) no longer hold surface water but still have a seasonal high-water table near the ground surface. The lower portions of the seepage slope are wet at the ground surface.

Adjacent properties were developed over the years. As a result, there are sections of Strawberry Creek both upstream and downstream of the project site that only comprise the ditch channel without any bordering wetlands. For example, the City park immediately south of the project site only contains a ditch. There is an area located immediately north of the project site that does not have any wetlands abutting the ditch. The property all along the west side of the ditch north of the City park was developed many years ago for a commercial business and multiple single-family lots that were filled up to the edge of this ditch.

The seepage slope portion of the onsite wetlands have a canopy dominated by such species as Chinese tallow, loblolly pine, loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), and dahoon holly (Ilex cassine). The shrub layer and ground cover are dominated by such species as Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), wax myrtle, poison ivy (Rhus radicans), and royal fern (Osmunda regalis).

The canopy in the lower portions of the wetland also contain such species as red maple (Acer rubrum), laurel oak, sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora). Ground cover vegetation includes such species as cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) and netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata).

    (ii) Willow and Elderberry (FLUCFCS 618) 0.19 acre: The southeast corner of the property contains an isolated sliver of wetland vegetated with such species as coastal plain willow (Salix caroliniana), elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and Chinese tallow.

    (iii) Upland-Cut Ditch (FLUCFCS 510) 0.02 acre: The southwest corner of the property contains a short section of upland-cut, man-made ditch that appears to normally be dry.

    (iv) Permitted Stormwater Pond (FLUCFCS 524) 0.61 acre: The south-central portion of the property contains a stormwater treatment pond that was required by the Environmental Resource Permit that was issued by the St. Johns River Water Management District for the previous church.

PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant seeks authorization to place 8,615-cubic-yards of fill into 1.79-acres of waters of the United States (1.77-acres of palustrine forested wetlands and 0.02-acre of ditch impacts jurisdictional to the Corps under a preliminary jurisdictional determination provided by the applicant) for construction of athletic fields for the existing Global Outreach Charter Academy, a Kindergarten through 8th grade Duval County charter school. There would be 1.18-acre of wetlands to remain at the site.

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:

“1. Concept Plan 1: The original plan entailed construction of a separate soccer field and football field with a baseball field overlapping the southern of those 2 fields. Development of this site plan would have entailed a total of 2.63 acres of wetland impacts.

2. Concept Plan 2: A second version of the site plan entailed one field that could be used alternately for soccer or football and a separate baseball field. Development of this site plan would have entailed a total of 2.00 acres of wetland impacts.

3. Concept Plan 3/Proposed Plan: The third and currently proposed plan will entail one field that could be used alternately for soccer of football. A baseball field will overlap this first field. Development of this site plan will entail a total of 1.77 acres of wetland impacts. This plan reduces wetland impacts by 32.7% as compared to the original plan and 11.5% as compared to the intermediate version. Development of the proposed plan will also entail impacting 0.02 acre of upland-cut, man-made drainage ditch. The soccer/football field is oriented in an east/west direction along the northern property boundary in order to utilize the existing uplands as much as possible. All of the stormwater runoff will be collected and treated in a new pond that will be built in uplands in the southwest corner of the property. A relatively small area of 100 year flood zone will need to be filled for the project. A compensatory flood storage area will be excavated from uplands near the northwest corner of the property.”

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

“The proposed wetland impacts will be evaluated pursuant to the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Methodology (UMAM) and the Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure (WRAP). Mitigation for the proposed impacts will be accomplished through the purchase of either UMAM or WRAP credits from a mitigation bank that serves the project area.”


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). 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 > not likely to adversely affect, as the project would affect less than 0.5 acres of suitable foraging habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (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 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. 

On 22 June 2023, the Corps executed a RAR report from the National Regulatory Viewer. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed threatened or endangered species, other than those mentioned above. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any federally listed, threatened, or endangered species, other than those mentioned above

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 not impact essential fish habitat.

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

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 not 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.