Request for Comments on Re-Issuance
DATE OF NOTICE: October 29, 2019
COMMENTS DUE DATE: November 28, 2019
Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting public comment on a proposal to re- issue Regional General Permit 27 (RGP-27) to authorize certain work in navigable waters of the United States in Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River within the State of Idaho.
ACTIVITIES: The following non-commercial activities would be authorized under the RGP-27 provided they meet the required terms and conditions:
- Piers and floating docks
- Marine launching rails
- Mooring piles
- Portable boat-lift stations
- Small diameter waterline in-takes
Separate approval for these activities may be required from the State of Idaho Department of Lands and/or the State of Idaho Department of Water Resources.
LOCATION OF WATERS COVERED BY RGP-27: Areas of Lake Pend Oreille, Pend Oreille River and their tributaries that are inundated by the summer pool elevation of 2062.5 feet, NGV Datum, in Bonner and Kootenai counties, Idaho. This area includes all navigable waters of the United States located upstream of the Albeni Falls Dam. Certain geographic areas within these waters are excluded from RGP-27 and are described in the body of the permit along with a map depicting their location.
PURPOSE: To improve efficiencies and expedite permit processing for activities that have minimal individual and cumulative impacts on the aquatic environment.
REGULATORY AUTHORITY: Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) requires a Department of the Army permit for work or structures waterward of the ordinary high water mark in navigable waters of the United States or that would affect the course, condition, or capacity of the navigable waters. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 CFR 1344) requires a Department of the Army permit for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.
BACKGROUND: Regional permits are Department of the Army permits issued on a regional basis for categories of activities that:
- Are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts;
- Would avoid unnecessary duplication of regulatory control exercised by another Federal, state, or local agency.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This notice will also serve as public notice that Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is evaluating whether to certify that the discharges of dredged and fill material proposed for the RGP-27 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 State of Idaho, as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. If water quality certification is not issued, waived or denied within 60 days of this public notice date, and an extension of this period is not granted to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, certification will be considered waived. Comments concerning certification for this regional permit should be mailed to Ms. Mary Anne Nelson, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, 1410 North Hilton, Boise, Idaho, 83706.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: Coordination is currently being conducted with the Office of the Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to determine if these activities may affect site(s) that is/are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or a site(s) that may be eligible for listing on the Register. SHPO did not convey any concerns about the described action(s).
TRIBAL CONSULTATION: Federal agencies acknowledge the federal trust responsibility arising from treaties, statutes, 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 Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, and the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribe. 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: Coordination is currently being conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine if this activity will have any effect on species designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, or their critical habitat.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to re-issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. That 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 230.7) as required by Section 404(b) (1) of the Clean Water Act.
For further information about the Department of the Army permit program, Walla Walla District, please visit our website at: https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Regulatory-Division/ or call 509-527-7156.
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.
COMMENTS AND REVIEW PERIOD: Interested parties are invited to provide their comments on the proposed activity, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the decision. Comments should be mailed to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Walla Walla District
Attn: Duane Mitchell
201 North 3rd Avenue
Walla Walla, Washington 99362-1876
Or email to:
Comments should be received no later than the comments due date of this notice to receive consideration. For further information about the Department of the Army permit program in Walla Walla District, please visit our web page at: https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Regulatory-Division/ or call Duane Mitchell at 509-527-7156.
Kelly J. Urbanek
Chief, Regulatory Division