Public Notice


Published March 21, 2016
Expiration date: 4/19/2016

DISCLAIMER: Please download the attached PDF version of this notice for complete information, proper formatting, and inclusion of tables and figures.


Issue Date: 21 March 2016

Comment Deadline: 19 April 2016

Corps Action ID Number: SAW-2016-00507

The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from

Pender County Schools seeking Department of the Army authorization to impact waters of the US,

associated with the construction of a K-8 school with associated recreational fields, access roads,

parking, and stormwater facilities in Surf City, Pender County, North Carolina.

Specific plans and location information are described below and shown on the attached plans. This

Public Notice and all attached plans are also available on the Wilmington District Web Site at:

Applicant:         Pender County Schools

                           c/o Mr. Kenneth Fuller

                           925 Penderlea Highway

                           Burgaw, North Carolina 28425

AGENT (if applicable):     Land Management Group, Inc.

                                           c/o Ms. Kim Williams

                                           3805 Wrightsville Avenue

                                           Wilmington, North Carolina 28403


The Corps evaluates this application and decides whether to issue, conditionally issue, or

deny the proposed work pursuant to applicable procedures of the following Statutory Authorities:

X - Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344)

   - Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403)

   - Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1413)


Directions to Site: From Wilmington, take Highway 17 North to Pender County. Turn right onto

Shepards Road, then, turn right onto Perkins Drive. The site is located on the left, as shown in

the attached Vicinity Map.

Project Area (acres):  87.47                           Nearest Town: Surf City

Nearest Waterway:     Becky’s Creek            River Basin:   White Oak River Basin

Latitude and Longitude:         34.462N, -77.574W

Existing Site Conditions

The 87.47-acre site is currently forested with dirt access roads throughout and contains

56.9 acres of forested wetlands and 0.041 acres of isolated wetlands. The site was cleared in 2002

so young saplings dominate the upper canopy, which consists of longleaf (Pinus palustris) and

loblolly (Pinus taeda) pine trees, turkey oak (Quercus laevis), and live oak (Quercus virgininana).

In the mid-canopy, red maple (Acer rubrum), titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), live oak, loblolly bay

(Gordonia lasianthus), and wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) are the dominate species. A sparse

herbaceous layer consisting primarily of wiregrass (Aristida stricta) exists. Wetlands identified

in the southwest portion of the site appear the drain south to Becky’s Creek and the northern

wetlands flow northeast toward County Line Branch. Both of the receiving waters are classified as

High Quality Waters and shell fishing and recreational tidal salt waters classification as defined

by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.

Applicant’s Stated Purpose

The purpose of the new school is to provide educational opportunities to a growing community.

Project Description

The proposed project entails the construction of a 162,838 gross square foot K-8 school building,

with an initial footprint supporting 1,140 students and a future expansion that will accommodate a

total of 1,500 students, recreational fields (baseball, softball, soccer, and football), parking,

access roads, and stormwater facilities. The project proposes to impact 8.16 acres of freshwater,

forested wetlands and 0.041 acre of isolated wetland.

Avoidance and Minimization

The applicant provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize

impacts to the aquatic environment: The building would be situated in the largest upland area on

the property in order to use all uplands to the maximum extent practicable. The chosen

configuration of the building was not the preferred configuration; however, it would reduce wetland

impacts compared to other configurations. By combining the elementary school (Grades K-3) and the

middle school (Grades 4-8) impervious surfaces as well as wetland impacts would be reduced

compared to constructing separate schools on different sites.

Compensatory Mitigation

The applicant offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional

loss to the aquatic environment: At this time, the applicant proposes preservation of the remaining

48.77 acres of onsite wetlands to offset impacts to 4.877 acres of wetlands at a 10:1 ratio and

offsetting the remaining 6.5 acres of impact through purchasing credits at a 2:1 ratio (6.5 acres x

2) for restoration of non-riparian wetlands from the Northeast Cape Fear Mitigation Bank located in

the Cape Fear River Basin.

Essential Fish Habitat

Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, this Public Notice

initiates the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation requirements. The Corps’ initial

determination is that the proposed project would not effect EFH or associated fisheries managed by

the South Atlantic or Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Councils or the National Marine Fisheries


Cultural Resources

Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Appendix C of 33 CFR

Part 325, and the 2005 Revised Interim Guidance for Implementing Appendix C, the District Engineer

consulted district files and records and the latest published version of the National Register of

Historic Places and initially determines that no historic properties, nor properties eligible for

inclusion in the National Register, are present within the Corps’ permit area; therefore, there

will be no historic properties affected.  The Corps subsequently requests concurrence from the


The District Engineer’s final eligibility and effect determination will be based upon coordination

with the SHPO with full consideration given to the proposed undertaking’s potential direct and

indirect effects on historic properties within the Corps-indentified permit area.

Endangered Species

Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Corps reviewed the project area, examined all

information provided by the applicant and consulted the latest North Carolina Natural Heritage

Database. Based on available information, the Corps is not aware of the presence of any species

listed as threatened or endangered or their critical habitat formally designated pursuant to the

Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) within the project area. The Corps will make a final

determination on the effects of the proposed project upon additional review of the project and

completion of any necessary biological assessment and/or consultation with the U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service.

Other Required Authorizations

The Corps forwards this notice and all applicable application materials to the appropriate State

agencies for review.

North Carolina Division of Water Resources (NCDWR): The Corps will generally not make a final

permit decision until the NCDWR issues, denies, or waives the state Certification as required by

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (PL 92-500). The receipt of the application and this public

notice, combined with the appropriate application fee, at the NCDWR Central Office in Raleigh

constitutes initial receipt of an application for a 401 Certification. A waiver will be deemed to

occur if the NCDWR fails to act on this request for certification within sixty days of receipt of a

complete application.  Additional information regarding the 401 Certification may be reviewed at

the NCDWR Central Office, 401 and Buffer Permitting Unit, 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh,

North Carolina 27604-2260. All persons desiring to make comments regarding the application for a

401 Certification should do so in writing to:

NCDWR Central Office

Attention: Ms. Karen Higgins, 401 and Buffer Permitting Unit

(USPS mailing address): 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1617

Or to,

(physical address): 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27604

North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (NCDCM):

Based upon all available information, the Corps determines that this application for a Department

of Army (DA) permit does not involve an activity that would affect the coastal zone, which is

defined by the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act (16 U.S.C. § 1453).


The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts

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

benefit 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 the cumulative effects thereof;

among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands,

historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values (in accordance

with Executive Order 11988), 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. For activities involving the

discharge of dredged or fill materials in waters of the United States, the evaluation of the impact

of the activity on the public interest will include application of the Environmental Protection

Agency’s 404(b)(1) guidelines.

Commenting Information

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State and local agencies

and officials, including any consolidated State Viewpoint or written position of the Governor;

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 of Engineers to determine

whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision,

comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality,

general environmental effects and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used

in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Statement

(EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments are also used to determine

the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed


Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a

public hearing be held to consider the application. Requests for public hearings shall state, with

particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing. Requests for a public hearing shall be

granted, unless the District Engineer determines that the issues raised are insubstantial or there

is otherwise no valid interest to be served by a hearing.

The Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District will receive written comments pertinent to the proposed

work, as outlined above, until 5pm, 19 April 2016. Comments should be submitted to Ms. Emily

Greer, Wilmington Regulatory Field Office,

69 Darlington Avenue, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403 , or by email at

DISCLAIMER: Please download the attached PDF version of this notice for complete information, proper formatting, and inclusion of tables and figures.