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: Cascade River, LLC, 23 Warm Lake Hwy, Cascade, ID 83611; ATTN: Mr. Josh Davis, 208-630-4090.
AGENT: T-O Engineers, 2471 S. Titanium Place, Meridian, ID 83642; ATTN: Mr. David Sterling, 208-860-7946
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECT MANAGER: Mr. Eric Gerke, Boise Regulatory Office, 720 E Park Boulevard, Suite 245, Boise, ID 83712; (208) 433-4462; email@example.com.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the proposed project is to develop a mixed-use residential and commercial property within Cascade, Idaho.
WATERWAY: North Fork Payette River, and abutting wetlands.
LOCATION: The proposed project would be located within wetlands abutting the North Fork Payette River, near river mile 37, within Section 31, Township 14 North, Range 4 East, near latitude 44.500115º N and longitude –116.021104º W, in Valley County, in Cascade, Idaho.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Heading south on State Highway 55 for approximately 2 miles from downtown Cascade, Idaho, the property for the proposed River District Subdivision development is located on the left (northeast) near mile post 113.7, east of State Highway 55.
AUTHORITY: This permit will either be issued, issued with special conditions, 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: The proposed project will result in the total discharge of approximately 5,071 cubic yards (CY) of dirt, 3,798 CY of gravel/rock, and 145 CY of asphalt, resulting in a permanent loss of 1.59 acres and temporary impact to 0.32 acres of palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands which have been determined to be Waters of the United States (U.S.). An additional 2.37 acres of PEM wetlands will be excavated to supply material for floodplain development. This area will be reclaimed as an amenity for the subdivision resulting in conversion of wetland to an open water pond.
The applicant has stated in the application that the work sequence will generally entail; 1) The use of land clearing equipment to remove existing vegetation (including trees, shrubs, stumps, and roots); 2) The use of earth-moving equipment for the placement of fill (such as dirt, rock, gravel, or structural fill for roads); 3) The use of motor graders or compactors to prepare road or lot base; 4) use of earth moving equipment to place topsoil and backfill; and 5) use of excavation and grading equipment to create the pond area.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The proposed project, referred to as “The River District” subdivision, is located on a 140-acre parcel and would include construction of 12 commercial lots (on 6.17 acres), 135 single family lots (on 64.16 acres), 9 cottage lots (on 1.23 acres), 43 townhouse lots (on 4.99 acres), 52 multifamily lots (on 10.7 acres), and 33 common lots (on 35.78 acres) that includes 4.08 acres of ponds and 31.71 acres of wetland and park areas, along with utilities, roads, parking areas and other associated development.
CONSTRUCTION PERIOD: The applicant proposes to start construction May 2020 and complete the proposed discharges by May 2025. The permit would authorize construction for a period of five years.
PROPOSED MITIGATION: A total of 15.72 acres of PEM wetlands were delineated within the approximately 120-acre project area in 2019. The applicant proposes to avoid the remaining 11.76 acres of wetlands through site selection and planning and design changes. Minimization of impacts are proposed through implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPP) and the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as installing silt fences, fiber rolls, and matting, and re-vegetating temporarily impacted wetland areas.
The applicant proposes to compensate for lost wetland functions through permittee-responsible onsite mitigation, as described in the submitted Conceptual Wetland Mitigation Plan, dated January 2020 (see enclosure).
Generally, the plan proposes to compensate for wetland losses by expanding and enhancing remaining wetland areas, resulting in the establishment of 5.02 acres of palustrine scrub-shrub (PSS) wetlands, to include native vegetation and pollinator habitat, within the north-eastern portion of the property. The Applicant is proposing to place plat restrictions within wetland mitigation areas to address long term protection requirements. The Montana Wetland Assessment Method (MWAM) was completed by the agent for wetlands within the project area and the proposed mitigation site. The proposed compensatory mitigation was identified to support a replacement ratio of 2.8:1 functional units for permanent wetland fills upon success. The Corps will evaluate the proposal to determine its sufficiency, or if additional mitigation will be required.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS AND DA PERMITS ISSUED TO APPLICANT: USACE Approved Jurisdictional Determination, issued November 1, 2019 (NWW-2019-00577).
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, 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, Boise Regional Office, 1445 North Orchard Street Boise, Idaho 83706.
AQUATIC RESOURCE DESCRIPTION: The project area is located within the floodplain and lower terrace of the North Fork Payette River and portions of the project area are within the 100-year floodplain. Beaver Creek is located immediately north of the property, and Little Pearsol Creek is located immediately to the south. The existing use of the property is pasture with cattle grazing. The site is relatively flat with a moderate slope from the North Fork Payette River (west) to an existing 25-foot ridgeline (east) that forms a bench-like feature along the eastern border of the project area. There are several low-lying drainage areas containing wetlands that receive water from seasonal runoff, its relative proximity to groundwater and a small portion receiving backflow from the North Fork Payette River. As previously mentioned, a wetland delineation identified 15.72 acres of PEM wetlands within the project area (T-O Engineers 2019).
Wetland vegetation generally consists of reed canary grass, Nebraska sedge, Baltic rush and silver-sheath knotweed. Upland vegetation generally consists of Wyoming sagebrush and Sandburg bluegrass and cheatgrass. Wetlands within the project area are common, have low structural diversity, and have been partially degraded from cattle hummocking and general agricultural use.
ANTICIPATED IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT: The proposed project would result in temporary impacts to 0.32 acres of PEM wetlands, the permanent loss of 1.59 acres of PEM wetlands, and the permanent conversion of 2.37 acres of PEM wetlands to an open water pond. The project will result in a total permanent impact to 3.96 acres of PEM wetlands
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 entities for the Nez Perce Tribe, and 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 Nez Perce Tribe and 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: No listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats are currently known to exist in the project area, however the project may be within the existing or historic range of the following species: Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis), the North American Wolverine (Gulo gulo Iscus), the Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus brunneus), and Bull Trout (Salvenlinus 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 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
Mr. Eric Gerke
Boise Regulatory Office
720 E Park Boulevard, Suite 245
Boise, Idaho 83712
Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of April 27, 2020, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration.
Kelly J. Urbanek
Chief, Regulatory Division
Walla Walla District