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    Special Public Notice: 2017 Regional Conditions for Idaho

    Posted: 3/17/2017

    Expiration date: 3/18/2022


    THIS IS AN INFORMATIONAL PUBLIC NOTICE ANNOUNCING THE REGIONAL CONDITIONS FOR NATIONWIDE PERMITS IN IDAHO AND STATUS OF SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION FOR NWPs IN IDAHO AND INDIAN COUNTRY.

    On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published notice in the Federal Register announcing the reissuance of all existing nationwide permits (NWPs), general conditions, and definitions. The Corps also issued two new NWPs, one new general condition, and five new definitions (Index of NWP’s, general conditions and definitions enclosed). The NWPs become effective on March 19, 2017, and expire on March 18, 2022.

    The January 6, 2017, Federal Register notice is available for viewing at the Walla Walla District, Regulatory Division website at: http://nww.usace.army.mil/BusinesWithUS/RegulatoryDivisdion.aspx

    or at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/NationwidePermits.aspx  

    As an alternative, interested parties can access the January 6, 2017, final rule that was published in the Federal Register through the U.S. Government Printing Office at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR  

    The Corps has also issued final decision documents for the new and reissued NWPs. These documents are available at www.regulations.gov at docket number COE-2015-0017.  

    Furthermore, the national NWP decision documents will be supplemented by Division Engineers to address decisions concerning the addition of regional conditions to the NWPs.

    Concurrently, with the public interest review conducted for the NWPs, the Walla Walla District solicited public comment concerning proposed Regional Conditions for the 2017 NWPs.  The Regional Conditions are intended to provide additional protection for the aquatic environment, by ensuring that the NWPs authorize only those activities with minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment. 

    The Walla Walla District has made several changes to the Regional Conditions advertised in the June 13, 2016 Public Notice, based on comments from Federal, State, local agencies and the general public. Changes generally include re-working the condition for clarification, or deleting a condition that was repetitive with an existing Nationwide Permit General Condition.  The most notable changes include:

    1. Combining Regional Condition: Dewatering with NWP 33 Temporary Construction, Access and Dewatering into Regional Condition C-Temporary Construction, Access and Dewatering;
    2. Moving Regional Condition: Select Waters and Wetlands from a condition to a coordination provision within a new section of the Regional Condition document titled “Notification Procedures for Certain Nationwide Permits”; and
    3. The addition of three new definitions

    On March 17, 2017 the Northwestern Division Commander approved the revised Regional Conditions (copy enclosed) for Idaho.  The 2017 Final Regional Conditions for Idaho become effective on March 19, 2017.  The final Regional Conditions for the 2017 NWPs can be viewed at: http://nww.usace.army.mil/BusinesWithUS/RegulatoryDivisdion.aspx

    The publication of the Federal Register notice on January 6, 2017 started the 60-day period for states, Indian Tribes, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete their Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) process for the NWPs. The 60-day period for WQC ended on March 7, 2017.

    The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) issued Final Water Quality Certification for the State of Idaho (excluding Indian Country) on March 3, 2017. IDEQ issued partial certification on NWPs 12, 13 and 14; denied certification on NWPs 16, 17, 23, 51, 52, 53 and 54; and certified the remainder of the NWPs. 

    EPA issued Final Water Quality Certification (WQC) in those areas where EPA is the certifying authority within the State of Idaho on March 6, 2017.  After reviewed of the WQC, the Corps has determined that certain EPA General Conditions which pertain to partially certified and certified NWPs contain unacceptable conditions.  Therefore, the Division Commander administratively denied the EPA WQC for the 2017 NWPs in those areas where EPA is the certifying authority within the State of Idaho.  An individual water quality certification from EPA will be required for all actions permitted under the 2017 NWPs for areas in Idaho where EPA is the certifying authority.

    The Coeur d’ Alene Tribe and the Shoshone Bannock Tribe have denied without prejudice, water quality certification for all activities authorized by NWPs on lands within the Shoshone Bannock Fort Hall Reservation and on TAS approved waters of the Coeur d’ Alene Reservation respectively. An individual 401 certification is required for any project within the Fort Hall Reservation and on TAS approved waters  of the Coeur d’ Alene Reservation.

    For further information about the Department of the Army permit program in Walla Walla District, please contact Mr. Greg Martinez at 208-433-4465 or email at greg.j.martinez@usace.army.mil.

     

                                                                    Kelly J. Urbanek

                                                                    Chief, Regulatory Division

     

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