Interested parties are hereby notified that the Walla Walla District has received an application for a Department of the Army (DA) permit for certain work in Waters of the United States, including wetlands, as described below:
• On July 14, 2015 the Walla Walla District solicited public comments on the work described below. The application was subsequently withdrawn on August 26, 2015 by the applicant in order to develop a detailed compensatory wetland mitigation plan. This Public Notice provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the proposed work and to comment on the proposed compensatory wetland mitigation.
• Public Notice (PN) NWW-2015-114 Sheets 1 to 9: Applicant Sheets 1 to 9 revised March 27, 2015 entitled “Teton County Idaho, W5750S-Chaplin Ln-W6000S Road Rehabilitation Project,” depict location and plan views of the project.
• PN NWW-2015-114 Sheets 10 to 15: Applicant Sheets 1 to 5 dated 2015/05/15 entitled “Teton County Idaho, W5750S-Chaplin Ln-W6000S Road Rehabilitation Project, Culvert Section Sta.,” depict proposed culvert sections at various road locations.
• PN NWW-2015-114 Sheets 16 to 28: Applicant Sheets entitled “Compensatory Mitigation Plan …Teton County Idaho, W6000S County Road Improvements for wetland losses.” These sheets provide the plan to replacing wetlands and stream functions lost as a result of the proposed project.
APPLICANT: Teton County Public Works, Attn: Daryl Johnson, 150 Courthouse Drive, Room 117, Driggs, Idaho 83422, 208-354-0245 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AGENT: Alder Environmental, LLC, Attn: Brian Remlinger, PO Box 6519, Jackson, Wyoming 832002; 307-690-3625 or email: email@example.com
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECT MANAGER: Robert A. Brochu, Senior Project Manager, 208-522-1645 or email: Robert.A.Brochu@usace.army.mil
PURPOSE: To improve safety and structural integrity of the West 6000 South roadway corridor.
WATERWAY: Fox Creek, and several unnamed tributaries.
LOCATION: The proposed project would be located within portions of Sections 27, 28 and 29 Township 4 North, Range 45 East, near latitude 43º38’08.76” N and longitude -111º09’22.41” W in Teton County, north of Victor, Idaho.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From the City of Victor drive north on State Highway 33 for 2.3 miles. Turn west/left onto county road W6000S (West 6000 South) and proceed 1 miles west to the intersection of a subdivision road known as Head Way or 3000 feet west of S1000W. This is the eastern project limit. The project extends west approximately 2.5 miles on W6000S, past the Teton River until 256 feet west of River Bend Drive.
AUTHORITY: This permit will be issued or denied under the authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). A Department of the Army permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into Waters of the United States, including wetlands.
WORK: Discharge of approximately 1,000 cubic yards (cy) of dirt or topsoil and 2,880 cy of gravel, rock, or stone into approximately 1.81 acres of wetlands (1.57 acre emergent; 0.24 acre scrub/shrub) to widen the road by flattening side slopes and placing new cross drain culverts in the road bed. Work would also impact approximately 340 linear feet of previously impacted stream channel associated with replacing six existing culverts in the road bed. The inlet and outlet of culverts will be protected from erosion either with flared end pierces and/or faced with large angular rock. The proposed work is depicted in PN NWW-2015-114 sheets 1 to 15.
The applicant has proposed to compensate for the lost wetlands by restoring a 1400 foot meandering section of Fox Creek and establishing 0.22 acre of emergent and 1.24 acre of scrub/shrub wetlands adjacent the restored channel and 0.51 acres of open water. Approximately 1007 feet of straight channel which parallels W 6000 S is to be relocated south an average of 125 feet into what is believed to be a former historic channel. Back filling of the existing channel will require the discharge of approximately 3000 cy of rock and dirt into 0.43 acres of existing wetlands and 0.28 acres of open water channel. The proposed mitigation work is depicted on PN NWW-2015-114 sheets 16 to 28.
W6000S is a two lane county road oriented east – west. It connects the east and west sides of Teton Valley. The existing 20 foot driving surface width (two 10 foot wide lanes) is to be maintained, however the road will be raised and flatter 2 foot (horizontal) wide shoulders will be constructed, extending the road width to 24 feet.
To improve structural integrity of the road, an engineered fabric will be placed on top of the existing road. On the fabric an 8 inch layer of -2 inch sub-base materials will be laid. Pit-run gravel will be used to build new shoulders with a minimum of 4 inches of topsoil laid on the slope surface. The shoulders will be a 2:1 slope (horizontal to vertical).
The existing road in the project area has numerous culverts that cross through the road. These culverts convey surface water, creek/stream water, and irrigation flow. Nearly all the culverts will be replaced. The Fox Creek concrete bridge will not be replaced. Further, additional culverts will be installed in the road to improve cross drainage and reduce frost damage. While construction is to be performed during low flow periods it may be necessary to divert ditch and creek/stream flows at some locations to replace culverts.
For culvert replacement during the construction, two options are proposed to be implemented depending on site conditions. The first option is to install a new culvert near the existing culvert, then breach and divert flow into the new culvert. The second option is to construct an open ditch close to the existing culvert, breach and divert flow into the ditch, and then install a new culvert in the original location. Once installed, the diversion would be undone and flow returned to the original channel.
Prior to construction, silt fence will be installed between the work area and adjacent areas. This will protect adjacent wetlands and streams from movement of earthen material into these areas.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The construction contractor, chosen by Teton County, will perform all work per contract requirements with Teton County. Borrow/road construction fills will be obtained from existing approved county, city, state or federal sources or from other uplands sources. All staging sites, including equipment storage sites will be in non-wetland/uplands and surrounded by an erosion control barrier. Borrow and staging locations will be disclosed prior to construction.
CONSTRUCTION PERIOD: The proposed work window is during low stream flow conditions and outside spawning season for trout. Applicant proposes to start construction in late summer and continue until winter shut-down is required. Work would resume the following season during the same periods. The permit would authorize construction for a period of three years.
PROPOSED MITIGATION: Teton County has evaluated alternatives to the proposed project to avoid, minimize, and compensate for impacts to Waters of the United States from activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material. Teton County initially explored three compensatory mitigation sites that could in whole or in part offset the wetlands and streams adversely impacted by the project. After vetting the alternatives more thoroughly, Teton County is proposing to reconstruct a straightened portion of Fox Creek that parallels W6000S. This proposal has the potential to provide wetlands replacement as well as positive stream functions and values. This project would result in overall increased aquatic and riparian habitat function for Fox Creek and replace lost functions and values from the proposed project. A conceptual plan is provided with this Public Notice. See PN 2015-114, sheets 15 to 28.
Fox Creek upstream of the mitigation location is a multichannel, meandering system. Sometime in the past it appears Fox Creek at the mitigation site was confined to a single, straightened channel. It is now deeply incised. Approximately 1007 feet of the existing straightened channel would be filled and replaced with approximately 1400 feet of new meandering channel. The sequence of construction is described in the enclosed mitigation plan. At low flow conditions, a new channel will be constructed by excavating an upland meadow. The upstream end of this new channel will intersect a meander of Fox Creek. Upon completion of the new channel the existing (to be abandoned channel) will be blocked at an existing farm access road. This blockage will impede downstream flow and force Fox Creek into the new channel.
Approximately 0.28 acres of open water and 0.43 acres of wetlands along the existing Fox Creek would be filled below the existing farm access crossing. These wetlands have been determined to be moderate to low quality. A new, meandering channel would be constructed in the adjacent upland meadow and afterward the existing channel would be filled. A new farm road access would be constructed over the new channel prior to opening the channel to flow. The new farm road crossing would either be a full span bridge or box culvert.
The new 1400 foot channel is planned to create 0.22 acres of emergent wetlands, 1.24 acres of scrub wetlands and 0.51 acres of open water for a total of 1.97 acres. The proposed crossing footprint area has been subtracted from the wetland and open water mitigation area calculations. The new wetlands and open water are intended to replace the wetlands and aquatic resources lost to the improvement of W 6000 S and the relocation of Fox Creek. The proposed replacement wetlands and overall aquatic environment are planned to be of higher quality than those eliminated by the project. In addition to providing higher quality wetlands, it is anticipated the constructed meandering creek will provide improved habitat for wildlife and aquatic organisms, including Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
A deed restriction is proposed by Teton County and the landowner to protect the mitigation area. A fence is proposed around the new channel and adjacent wetland meadows. Maintenance of the proposed new farm road crossing would be required.
Please note the full mitigation plan is NOT included in this notice but is available by request.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS AND DA PERMITS ISSUED TO APPLICANT: None
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This notice will also serve as Public Notice that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) is evaluating whether to certify that the discharge of dredge and/or fill material proposed for this project will not violate existing water quality standards. A DA permit will not be issued until water quality certification has been issued or waived by the IDEQ, as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. If water quality certification is not issued, waived or denied within sixty (60) days of this Public Notice date, and an extension of this period is not requested by and granted to the IDEQ, certification will be considered waived. Additionally, within thirty days of this Public Notice, any person may provide written comments to IDEQ and request in writing that IDEQ provide them notice of their preliminary 401 Certification decision.
Comments concerning Water Quality Certification for this project should be mailed to:
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 North Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402-1718
AQUATIC RESOURCE DESCRIPTION: The road widening elements of the project occur in emergent and scrub shrub wetlands as well as limited open water areas. Emergent wetlands here are generally dominated by grasses, sedges, rushes and forbes. Such plants are Meadow foxtail, American mannagrass, fowl mannagrasss, Tufted hairgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, cattail, Nebraska sedge, Baltic rush, and Northwest cinquefoil. Scrub shrub wetlands are generally dominated here by shrubby cinquefoil, honeysuckle, and willows. In an effort assign numeric values to the impacted wetlands as well as the wetlands to be created as mitigation, a functional assessment was conducted on the existing wetlands and the proposed future wetlands in the mitigation site. The method used was the1989 Montana Department of Transportation Wetlands Assessment. Open waters in the project area are spring creek tributaries to Fox Creek and irrigation ditches. Flows in the spring creeks are anticipated to be perennial and the irrigation ditches season from May to October. It is anticipated that native and non-native fish uses the spring creeks during portions of their life stages and that aquatic macro invertebrates.
ANTICIPATED IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT: The proposed project is anticipated to directly fill approximately 2.24 acres of wetlands and 0.28 acres of open water for road improvements and wetland mitigation. Approximately 1.81 acres of waters would be filled for the road widening (1.57 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands and approximately 0.24 acres of palustrine scrub shrub wetlands). Approximately 0.71 acres of waters are to be filled to facilitate the mitigation (0.43 acres of emergent wetlands and 0.28 acres of open water). These moderate to low quality waters will be filled and converted to upland.
Indirectly, the project would improve road cross-drainage with new and replacement culverts. This would also result in less impoundment of water in locations along the road. This could change the character and extent of roadside wetlands. Impounded water and saturation in the road base results in annual degradation of the roadway. The improved road will require less road repair reducing maintenance costs and reducing maintenance related detriments to water quality. Road maintenance activities often gravel and soil into adjacent streams and wetlands.
The proposed mitigation would create 1.97 acres of high quality waters, including improved stream functions and values.
OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS: The proposed project will require approval from the State of Idaho Department of Water Resources to alter several perennial streams.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is coordinating with the Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer to determine if this project will affect a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or a site that may be eligible for listing on the Register. We are also coordinating with the appropriate Tribal entity or the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to determine if there are any tribal historic or cultural interests within the project area.
TRIBAL TREATY RIGHTS AND INTERESTS: Federal agencies acknowledge the federal trust responsibility arising from treaties, statues, executive orders and the historical relations between the United States and American Indian Tribes. The federal government has a unique trust relationship with federally recognized American Indian Tribes, including the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The Corps has a responsibility and obligation to consider and consult on potential effects to Tribal rights, uses and interests. The Corps further recognizes there may be a need for additional and on-going consultation.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project is close to or within the known or historic range of the Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), a threatened species, and the Ute Ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis), a threatened orchid. The Corps is coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine if the proposed project will have any effect on species designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, or their critical habitat, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (87 Stat. 844).
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996, requires all federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions or proposed actions, permitted, funded or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). No EFH species are known to use the project area. Preliminarily, we have determined the described activity would have no effect on EFH.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: Preliminary review indicates the proposed activities will not require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. Comments provided will be considered in preparation of an Environmental Assessment.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. This 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, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. In addition, our evaluation will include application of the EPA Guidelines (40 CFR 230) as required by Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.
CONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC COMMENTS: The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the general public, Federal, State and local agencies and officials, Tribal entities 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 and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this proposed activity. Requests for a public hearing shall state specific reasons for holding a public hearing. A request for may be denied if substantive reasons for holding a hearing are not provided or if there is otherwise no valid interest to be served.
COMMENT & REVIEW PERIOD: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed activity, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final decision.
Please mail all comments to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Walla Walla District
Robert A. Brochu
Idaho Falls Regulatory Office
900 North Skyline Drive, Suite A
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402-1718
or email: Robert.A.Brochu@usace.army.mil
Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of July 14, 2017, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration.
Kelly J. Urbanek
Chief, Regulatory Division
Walla Walla District
If interested parties wish to view plans, drawings, and/or maps associated with the proposed project and Public Notice, please email the Project Manager with your request.