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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
The National Park Service (NPS) is in the process of constructing the Tamiami Trail Welcome Center located on U.S. Highway 41 near the west entrance to Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier County, Florida. The impacts of the project were assessed in an Environmental Assessment (EA), which was released for a 30-day public review period ending September 22, 2003. A Finding of No Significant Impact was signed on February 6, 2004.
The EA included analysis of a proposed right turn lane from U.S. 41 onto Sea Grape Drive associated with the preferred alternative. The EA analysis indicated no impacts to wetland resources associated with the construction of the right turn lane. Subsequent requirements by the Florida Department of Transportation include the construction of a left turn lane onto Sea Grape Drive for westbound traffic on U.S. 41 in lieu of the right turn lane. The construction of the left turn lane will necessitate widening of the road. More detailed design has indicated that construction of the median will result in minor impacts to wetlands located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Sea Grape Drive and U.S. 41.
This draft Statement of Findings has been prepared to comply with NPS Director’s Order #77-1, which requires such statement to be prepared to document why an alternative with such impacts was chosen and to meet the other requirements identified in the procedural manual for protection of wetlands (NPS Procedural Manual #77-1: Wetland Protection 1998).
The public comment period closes on January 15, 2008. Comments on the Statement of Findings may be submitted on the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov or mailed to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, FL 34141-1000.