Public Notices

Listed below are the current Public Notices published by the Walla Walla District for proposed projects within the state of Idaho. The Public Notices are sorted by Effective Date and are provided in PDF format. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC to view these files. 

Viewing Public Notices. To view a Public Notice, left-click on the Permit Application Number (highlighted in blue). To download the file to your PC, right-click on the Permit Application Number, then select "Save Target As" from the menu.

How to Submit Comments. To submit comments via email, cut and paste the email address of the respective Project Manager's from the table below into an email and in the subject line of your email enter: Public Notice Comments for (referencing the specific project).  To submit comments in writing, send them to the respective Project Manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District Regulatory Division, 720 E. Park Blvd., Suite 245, Boise, ID 83712. All comments should include the permit application number and project name, your name, address, and phone number.

NWW-2009-00030-I01: Caribou County, Simplot Dairy Syncline - Proposed Phosphate Mine

Published March 17, 2020
Expiration date: 4/17/2020

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, as described below in the attached documents:

  • NWW-2009-00030_PN_Drawings_24_Pages.pdf

APPLICANT:  J.R. Simplot Company, PO Box 912, Pocatello, Idaho 83201; Attn: Lori Hamann; 208-235-5670. 

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECT MANAGER:  Robert Brochu, Idaho Falls Regulatory Office, 900 North Skyline Drive, Suite A, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 83402-1718.  208-522-1645.

PURPOSE:  To recover phosphate ore contained within J.R. Simplot’s Dairy Syncline Phosphate Leases I-28115 and I-0258 in southeastern Caribou County, Idaho.

WATERWAY:  Slug Creek, Wilde Canyon, Johnson Creek, and other unnamed tributaries of the aforementioned, and the Left Hand Fork of Georgetown Creek.                                                                                                                                  

LOCATION:  Majority of regulated impacts are located in Sections 20, 21, 22, 28 and 29 of Township 9 South, Range 44 East, Boise Meridian, Caribou County, Idaho.  The center of the proposed mine is approximately Latitude 42°37’7.44” and Longitude -111°19’49.57”.  Proposed mitigation is located in Section 9, Township 8 South, Range 43 East, Caribou County, Idaho, near Latitude 42°44’52.91” an Longitude -111°26’41.42”.  A location map is provided on Sheet 1 of the drawings.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:  From Georgetown, Idaho, proceed east on Stringtown Road for 2.3 miles, then turn left onto Georgetown Road.  Travel approximately 5.6 miles, wherein the road becomes Slug Creek Road (same road).  Travel 4.1 miles more on Slug Creek Road.  Turn left on an unmarked minor road toward Wilde Canyon and Green Basin.  Travel 0.9 to the project entrance.

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 (DA) permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands.

WORK:  The J.R. Simplot Company proposes to mine phosphate ore using open pit extraction techniques.  The proposed mine is known as the Dairy Syncline Phosphate Mine.  An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared for this project. 

In order to construct and operate the proposed mine, land features, including wetlands and streams will be adversely impacted.  Approximately 4.23 acres of waters of the U.S., to include wetlands and stream channels, will be adversely impacted by overall mining operations that includes pit excavation, overburden piles, road construction and pipeline construction.  The locations of impacts to waters of the U.S., as well as plan view and side (section) view, are provided on the enclosed drawing sheets.

The table below lists the various impacted waters of the U.S., their type, dimensions of impacts, and the general location:





Unless otherwise noted impacts are permanent













Wet Meadow





North Pit, See Sheets 3, 4 and 5 of 24







Overburden Disposal Area, See Sheets 3 and 6 of 24

Drainage between Wetland H, Pond 1 and confluences


Ephemeral drainage





North Pit, See Sheets 3 and 6 of 24

Pond 1

Man- made, stock pond





North Pit, See Sheets 3, 6 and 7 of 24

Drainage between Pond 2, Wetland G, and to confluences


Ephemeral drainage





North Pit, See Sheets 3, 4 and 5 of 24

Pond 2

Man-made, stock pond





North Pit, See Sheets 3 and 4 of 24

Drainage between Pond 3 and confluences


Ephemeral drainage





North Pit, Access Road and Haul Road, See Sheets 3, 8 and 9 of 24

Pond 3

Man-made, stock pond





Haul Road, See Sheets 3, 8 and 9 of 24







Temporary impact

Pipeline, See Sheet 3 of 24 (plan view only, no section view)







Temporary impact

Pipeline, See Sheets 10, 11 and 12 of 24

Wilde Canyon

Ephemeral drainage





Access Road – including long culvert, See Sheets 3, 8 and 9 of 24







Access Road, See Sheets 10, 11 and 12 of 24



LH Fork (George-town Canyon)





Access Road, See Sheets 19 and 20 of 24


Slug Creek (head-waters)





Access Road, See Sheets 13, 14 and 15 of 24


Slug Creek






Access Road, Sheets 13, 14 and 15 of 24




Slug Creek





Access Road – including culverts See Sheets 16, 17 and 18 of 24




Slug Creek





Access Road - including culverts, See Sheets 16, 17 and 18 of 24









ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  The J.R. Simplot Company proposes to offset impacts to waters of the U.S. through implementation of permittee-responsible mitigation.  Drawing sheets 3, 21, 22, 23, and 24 depict the proposed mitigation site and components.  A 30% design mitigation plan is described herein and was included in the Final EIS.

The proposed mitigation site is located within a 312 acre ranch owned by the J.R. Simplot Company.  A conservation easement would be established on 25.5 acres of the ranch, which includes approximately 2,600 feet of Trail Creek and 1,550 feet of an unnamed tributary and their adjacent wetlands.  Trail Creek provides perennial flow at the site and the unnamed tributary provides ephemeral flow.  The 25.5 acres will be protected by fencing and land management restrictions to limit or prohibit future grazing and to implement weed control and monitoring.  The conservation easement will be held by a 3rd party conservation easement holder.  The protected wetlands consist of: 21.2 acres of scrub-shrub and emergent wetlands along Trail Creek; 1.17 acres of emergent wetlands west of Trail Creek; and 1.96 acres of scrub-shrub hillside wetland seeps adjacent the unnamed tributary.

A baseline functional assessment of the wetlands to be impacted and the mitigation site has been performed and is described in detail in the EIS.  The proposed mitigation is anticipated to functionally replace the wetlands and channels adversely impacted to support the proposed mine.

Grazing along the creek has compacted wetland banks and restricted shrub growth.

Sheep grazing, along Trail Creek will be prohibited or restricted.  As described above, emergent wetland and shrub communities previously impacted by grazing will be enhanced through native plantings.  Three or more existing, woody debris dams will be reinforced with woody material and an additional three or more woody debris dams will be constructed to enhance the duration of riparian wetland inundation.

Within the easement area, an existing dirt road crossing of Trail Creek and two culverts will be removed, resulting in the restoration of approximately 3,400 square feet of filled area and adjacent steep banks.  Other activities include: installation of an approximate 600 square foot low profile rock ford; planting of approximately 3,400 square feet of Trail Creek banks with live willow stakes to restore riparian banks impacted by past grazing; and enhancement of approximately 1900 square feet of Trail Creek banks by de-compaction of bank soils and revegetation. 

CONSTRUCTION PERIOD:  The applicant proposes to start construction upon receipt of all federal, state and local permits.  It is anticipated that work would begin in the summer or fall of 2020.  A permit duration of 10 years is requested.

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

  • J.R. Simplot Company will undertake storm water control measures throughout the proposed mine site and at all construction sites to reduce or eliminate generation of erosion and runoff of eroded materials into waters of the U.S.
  • J.R. Simplot Company will implement the aforementioned proposed Trail Creek permittee-responsible mitigation plan prior to or concurrent with any discharges of dredged or fill material authorized by DA permit (see Additional Information).

The Final EIS includes specific discussion on project alternatives, including alternatives to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to aquatic resources.

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/or 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 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:

Mr. Bruce Olenick, Regional Administrator

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Pocatello Regional Office

444 Hospital Way, #300

Pocatello, Idaho  83201

AQUATIC RESOURCE DESCRIPTION:  4.23 acres of waters of the U.S. will be adversely impacted by the Dairy Syncline Mine Project.  The majority of these impacts are to emergent wetlands or ephemeral stream channels described below.

  • Wetland G and Pond 2 are located along a perennial reach of a snow melt and spring-fed surface water feature.  Approximately 2.8 acres of channel and wetland would be permanently eliminated to construct the North Pit.  Wetland G is a mineral soil, emergent wetland on mildly steep slopes adjacent an unnamed channel.  Pond 2 is a 0.07 acre man-made stock water pond at the origins of the unnamed channel and Wetland G.  The unnamed channel is a tributary to Wilde Canyon and is well defined.
  • Wetland H, 0.04 acres, is located along an organic soil perennial spring system with a barely discernable channel with emergent wetlands fringed by scrub-shrub wetlands abutting an Aspen forest community.  Wetland H and channel are a tributary to Wilde Canyon.  Approximately 0.15 acres of wetlands and channel would be lost to a proposed overburden disposal area.  Pond 1, 0.05 acres, is a stock pond development in the midst of this small drainage.  Pond 1 and the downstream channel would be lost to the North Pit.
  • Pond 3, 0.13 acres, and its downstream drainage (0.05 acres) are ephemeral and generally lack wetland development.  The principle water source appears to be snow melt.  This system drains to Wilde Canyon.  Impacts here would result from proposed haul road construction, and North Pit construction.  In addition, a segment of the channel would be eliminated by proposed storm water management system construction.
  • Wetland G drainage, Wetland H drainage, and Pond 3 drainage unite to form Wilde Canyon.  From its inception, Wilde Canyon conveys surface flow for several weeks to several months during snow melt through spring, with the duration of flow dependent on snow pack.  Water flow from Wetlands G, H, and Ponds 1, 2, and 3 will either be eliminated by the North Pit or be captured in proposed storm water management system construction.  In addition, 0.26 acres of Wilde Canyon downstream its origin of approximately is proposed to be piped to provide for a proposed haul road and storm water controls.
  • Johnson Creek (JC) and wetlands (0.18 acres), Slug Creek (SC) and wetlands (0.34 acres), and Left Hand Fork Georgetown Creek (GC) wetlands (0.02 acres) are proposed to be impacted for access road development.  These waters of the U.S. are generally narrow fringes of emergent wetlands abutting stream channels. 
  • In addition, temporary wetland and channel impacts are proposed along Johnson Creek (0.12) and a spring identified as DSW-01 (0.06) for buried pipeline construction. 

ANTICIPATED IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT:  The project as proposed would impact waters of the U.S. as outlined above under Work and Aquatic Resource Description.

OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS:  Approvals for the proposed activities may be required by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Water Resources.  As stated above, approval is required by Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

CULTURAL RESOURCES:  Coordination has conducted by the BLM with the office of the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office to determine if all components of the Dairy Syncline Phosphate Mine will affect sites.  BLM has also conducted coordination with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.  We are also coordinating with the appropriate Tribal entity or the Tribal Historic Preservation Office for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall 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 BLM and the U.S. Forest Service have coordinated 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; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.).  The USFWS has concurred that the project may affect, but is not likely to affect Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis).  Further, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service have determined, and we concur that the overall mine project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of North American wolverine (Gulo gulo lucscus).

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:  An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for the Dairy Syncline Phosphate Mine.  The BLM, Pocatello Field Office and the U.S. Forest Service, Caribou Targhee National Forest were co-lead federal agencies in preparation of the EIS.  Cooperating agencies included the State of Idaho Departments of Environmental Quality and Lands, the Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Walla Walla District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Final EIS was released on November 8, 2019.  Final agency approvals in the form of Records of Decision are pending from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.  The EIS addresses a multitude of environmental issues and topics that were determined through scoping and public comment to be of substantial concern, including avoidance of and mitigation for remaining wetland impacts. 

The Final EIS is available on the BLM and USFS websites as follows:

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 project.  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 received in response to this Public Notice will be used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

PUBLIC HEARING:  Public Meetings were held by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service during several stages of development of the EIS.  In 2010, public scoping meetings were held in Soda Springs, Georgetown, Fort Hall and Pocatello, Idaho.  In January 2019, after release of the Draft EIS, public meetings were held in Georgetown, Pocatello and Soda Springs.

Any person may request in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider the proposed work described in this Public Notice.  Please note that the activity being evaluated by the Army Corps of Engineers is limited to our regulatory authority under Clean Water Act Section 404.  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

Robert A. Brochu

Idaho Falls Regulatory Office

900 N Skyline Drive, Suite A

Idaho Falls, Idaho  83402-1700  

Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of April 17, 2020, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration.


                                                                  Kelly J. Urbanek

                                                                  Chief, Regulatory Division

                                                                  Walla Walla District



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