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News Details

Public Commenting Open for Proposed Environmental Lands Projects

Published on Sep 4, 2020


The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management have received the following application for Federal grant funding.  Final notice is hereby given of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) consideration to provide funding in the form of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Funds will be provided in accordance with Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal actions must be reviewed and evaluated for feasible alternatives and for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Under Executive Order (EO) 11988 and EO 11990 FEMA is required to consider alternatives to and to provide public notice of any proposed actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands. EO 12898 also requires FEMA to provide the opportunity for public participation in the planning process and to consider potential impacts to minority or low-income populations.

Funding for the proposed project will be conditional upon compliance with all applicable federal, tribal, state and local laws, regulations, floodplain standards, permit requirements and conditions.

Applicant: Polk County BoCC

Project Title: ENVI RFI FM-5178-FL-15 (Polk County Board of County Commissioners, Wildfire Mitigation)

Location of Proposed Work: 

Gator Creek Reserve
- 9725 U.S. 98 N. Lakeland, FL 33809. Streets surrounding the property are U.S. 98 North, Hall Road and Moccasin Drive.

Lakeland Highlands Scrub - 6998 Lakeland Highlands Road Lakeland, FL 33813. Streets surrounding the property are Indian Creek Park Drive, Broken Arrow Trail S. and Tomahawk Trail.

Proposed Work and Purpose: The proposed project will offer multiple facets of protection. The scope of work for this project is to conduct hazardous fuel reduction and removal in order to reduce the wildfire threat to nearby structures within the wildland urban interface. Fuel reduction areas have been identified within Lakeland Highlands Scrub and Gator Creek Preserve. Fuel reduction treatments will only occur within these specific treatment areas. Fuel reduction treatments will include non-ground disturbing mechanical treatment, chainsaw felling and thinning of selective trees and shrubs and the use of prescribed fire. If thinning is used, it will be used in specific stands to reduce the density of trees to reduce fuel hazards, to an appropriate number of trees per acre based on habitat. Best Management Practices will be used for all operations. Perimeter roads on each of these properties will be mowed and fuels will be removed vertically and horizontally to serve as pre-suppression fire lines. Rare, imperiled, or listed species will be identified and excluded from the project to mitigate impacts. Activities will be completed in strict compliance with Federal, State, and Local Rules and Regulations.

Project Alternatives: The alternatives to the project that have been and will be considered are 1.) the no action alternative, which increases risk for wildfire in close proximity to private parcels and homes, and 2.) apply prescribed fire without treatment, would take many applications and numerous years before a reduction in fuels was accomplished.

Comment Period: Comments are solicited from the public; local, state or federal agencies; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed project.  The comments should be made in writing and addressed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Bureau of Recovery and Mitigation, 2555 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100. These are due within 30 days of this notice 09/04/2020. The State will forward comments to applicable regulatory agencies as needed. Interested persons may submit comments, obtain more detailed information about the proposed action, or request a copy of the findings by contacting:

Tabitha Biehl, Land & Water Natural Areas Manager: (863) 899-8157
Polk County Parks & Natural Resources,                           

Mindy Yang, State Environmental Specialist: (850) 815-4581
Florida Division of Emergency Management