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Public Notices

NWW-2018-00499: Bonner County, Priest Lake Management Plan - Thorofare Dredging/Breakwater

Published Aug. 21, 2019
Expiration date: 9/20/2019

Interested parties are hereby notified that the Walla Walla District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in Waters of the United States, including wetlands, as described below in the attached documents:

APPLICANT:  Bonner County, 1500 Highway 2, Suite 101, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864; Point of Contact: Steve Klatt, (208) 255-5681 ext. 1

AGENT: GeoEngineers, Inc., 523 East Second Ave., Spokane, Washington 99202;

Point of Contact: Jason Scott, (509) 209-2816

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECT MANAGER:  Shane P. Slate, (208) 433-4474, shane.p.slate@usace.army.mil

PURPOSE: To improve and expand an existing breakwater and dredge accumulated lakebed material from Priest Lake Thorofare, in order to maintain motorized recreational navigation between Upper and Lower Priest Lakes.

WATERWAY: Priest Lake.

LOCATION:  The proposed project would be located on Priest Lake within Section 10, Township 65 North, Range 4 West, near latitude 48.740167º N and longitude –116.848182º W, in Bonner County, near Coolin, Idaho.  

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From Priest River, Idaho, travel north on ID-57 for 22.4 miles.  Turn right onto Dickensheet Highway.  Travel 5.4 miles to Coolin, Idaho, and turn right onto East Shore Road/Cavanaugh Bay Road.  Travel north for 23.2 miles and turn left onto Sandpiper Shores Road.  Follow Sandpiper Shores Road to its dead end.

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: Work proposed includes dredging at the Priest Lake Thorofare to improve navigability and accessibility for recreational boaters traveling between the Upper and Lower Priest Lakes and the redeposition of dredged material and the discharge of fill material to improve and expand the existing breakwater.  The proposed action includes:

  • Dredging of 12,200 cubic yards of accumulated native lakebed material over 3.5 acres of the Thorofare;
  • redeposition of 11,418 cubic yards of dredged material, 10,866 cubic yards of stone material, and 660 cubic yards of geobags within Priest Lake for improvements to the existing breakwater; rotating the existing breakwater 15 degrees to the north and extending it 215 feet;
  • discharge of 444 cubic yards of fill material for the construction of a 500 foot long by 24 foot wide (12,000 sq. ft.) access road that will ford the dewatered thorofare;
  • discharge of 315 cubic yards of fill material for the construction of a 1,070 sq. ft. lake access point at the Lionhead Boat Launch;
  • excavation of a diversion channel through the existing breakwater;
  • discharge of 1,000 cubic yards of fill material for the construction of a 9,000 sq. ft. channel diversion berm to divert water in the active channel and dewater the work area; and
  • work in 2.5 acres of lakebed for stockpiling and material staging areas.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Of the material dredged from the lakebed, approximately 782 cubic yards will be removed from the lakebed permanently and disposed of at an upland disposal site.  Upland staging and temporary use areas at the Lionhead Boat Launch will total 14,000 sq. ft.

CONSTRUCTION PERIOD:  Applicant proposes to start construction by October 1, 2020, and continue through March 15, 2021.  The permit would authorize construction for a period of 3 years.

PROPOSED MITIGATION:  The applicant proposes the following mitigation measures to avoid, minimize, and compensate for impacts to Waters of the United States from activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material. 

The applicant proposes to conduct work during the winter months while the water level is low.  The active portion of waterway that makes up the thoroughfare will be temporarily diverted through an existing remnant channel and into Priest Lake, minimizing potential turbidity effects from working under dry or near-dry conditions.  Temporary impacts shall be removed in their entirety and areas restored to pre-construction conditions upon project completion.  Shrubs and other small vegetation will be planted on the breakwater area to enhance local habitat.   

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  This notice will also serve as a Public Notice that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) is evaluating whether to certify that the discharge of dredge and fill material proposed for this project will not violate existing water quality standards.  A Department of the Army 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 (30) days of this Public Notice, any person may provide written comments to IDEQ as requested 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, Coeur d’Alene Regional Office, 2110 Ironwood Parkway, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho  83814.

AQUATIC RESOURCE DESCRIPTION:  The proposed project takes place on the Priest Lake Thorofare, an approximately 3-mile long surface water connection between Upper and Lower Priest Lakes.  The lakes’ water level is controlled via the Priest Lake Dam at the southern end of Lower Priest Lake.  The Priest River drains these lakes and flows south approximately 45 miles to its confluence with the Pend Oreille River.  The Priest Lakes/River system drains approximately 980 square miles, with portions of this watershed residing in Washington State and British Columbia.  Though the shores of Lower Priest Lake are intermittently populated with riparian homesteads, the great majority of upland that drains into this system is undeveloped land owned by the State and Federal Governments. 

The primary use of the Priest Lakes system is recreation.  Docks, marinas, and boat launch ramps dot the shoreline and grant access to private riparian owners and the public alike. 

ANTICIPATED IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT: The proposed project would impact 3.5 acres of thorofare lakebed through dredging, and permanently fill 8.3 acres of lakebed to provide improvements to the existing breakwater.  Additionally, 0.5 acres of lakebed will be temporarily filled for the construction of an access road, a temporary diversion berm, and for barge access at the Lionhead Boat Launch.  Staging and stockpiling areas will impact approximately 2.5 acres of lakebed.

Activity

Impact Type

Area

Volume of Material

Dredging

Permanent
(no loss of lakebed)

3.5 acres

12,200 cu. yd. (excavation)

Breakwater

Permanent (loss of lakebed)

8.3 acres

22,944 cu. yd. (fill)

Channel Diversion Berm

Temporary

9,000 sq. ft. (0.207 acre)

1,000 cu. yd. (fill)

Access Road – Thorofare Ford

Temporary

12,000 sq. ft. (0.275 acre)

444 cu. yd. (fill)

Lionhead Barge Access

Temporary

1,070 sq. ft. (0.025 acre)

315 cu. yd. (fill)

Staging/Stockpiling Area

Temporary

2.5 acres

Varies

 

 

OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS:  The proposed project will require approval from the Idaho Department of Lands.

CULTURAL RESOURCES:  Coordination is currently being conducted with the office of the Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer to determine if this activity will affect a site that is 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 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, 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 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.  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 within the known or historic range of Bull Trout (Salvelinus Confluentus).  Coordination is currently being conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine if the activity 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 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

Shane P. Slate

Coeur d’Alene Regulatory Office

1910 Northwest Blvd., Suite 210

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814

Shane.P.Slate@usace.army.mil

Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of September 20, 2019, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration.

                                                           

                                                                Kelly J. Urbanek

                                                                              Chief, Regulatory Division

                                                                              Walla Walla District

 

             


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