Nocatee, Florida


The proposed Nocatee mixed-use community development is located in southeastern Duval and northeastern St. Johns Counties, Florida, in a largely rural area.  The site comprises approximately 14,953 acres of mainly undeveloped wooded land, except for a residence, a mobile home and a barn used by the caretaker, and trail roads.  Historically, portions of the property were used for silviculture, and were timbered and planted for pine plantations. The relevancy to this project is similar type of work which included a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, natural community, protected species, water quality, wetlands and archaeological studies for the site.

The initial study addressed potential jurisdictional wetlands, protected wildlife species, protected natural communities, historical and archaeological resources and contamination.  As the project progressed, ESI physically delineated more than 500 miles of wetland jurisdiction lines, provided functional assessment of the on-site wetlands, conducted species specific surveys for protected wildlife and plants.

ESI also prepared appropriate sections of the Application for Development Approval document for the Development of Regional Impacts, including wetlands, vegetation and wildlife, water resources and historical and archaeological resources.  We then prepared the federal wetland permit application and the environmental section of the ERP (SJRWMD) involving nearly 400 acres of wetland impact.  ESI also prepared the wetland mitigation plan and the endangered and threatened species management plan for the project.

The Phase I ESA was conducted in conformance with the scope and limitations of ASTM Standard Practice E 1527-00.  Current conditions for the property were accessed by pedestrian and vehicular inspections of the property.  Inspection was also made of accessible adjoining and nearby properties, paved roads and trail roads to identify potential recognized environmental conditions in connection with the property.  Research on historical use of the property and adjoining/nearby properties included review of historical topographic maps dating from 1918, historical aerial photographs dating from 1942 and historical city directories dating from 1970, and interviews of property owner representatives, the property caretaker and local government agency personnel.  Reviews of regulatory database records, as specified in ASTM Standard Practice E 1527-00, as well as regulatory agency file records for nearby facilities, were completed to identify potential recognized environmental conditions in connection with the property.  

ESI also conducted an intensive cultural resource assessment survey of the Nocatee tract, a total of 31 archaeological sites one historic roadway and one historic bridge were recorded, of which nine archaeological sites, the bridge and the roadway were deemed potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  Three of the sites and a portion of the historic roadway are being preserved in preservation areas, while the other resources have been subjected to further investigation.  Phase III Data Recovery – Mitigation occurred at two of the resources: the Twenty-Mile House, a British to Early American period (1764 to ca 1830) outpost located half way between St. Augustine and the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville; and the Old Kings Road which was built during the British period (ca 1764) to connect St. Augustine with the St. Johns River and beyond to the Georgia Colony. The data gathered during the two studies were sufficient to mitigate for adverse effects caused by the proposed development

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