LEWISTON, Idaho – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District has approved a Port of Lewiston dock expansion application after multiple reviews of several facets of the proposal.
District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell made the final approval decision after finding that the proposed expansion to an existing dock would not have significant impacts on the environment, in accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
“I reached a decision after conducting multiple reviews including potential impacts on a federal levee, review of a landside easement agreement, permitting for work in navigable U.S. waters, and Clean Water Act permitting,” Lt. Col. Caldwell said. “Public comments received during various phases of the review process were also carefully considered and helped ensure the decision was well-informed and issues properly considered and addressed.”
The Corps received an application from the Port of Lewiston on May 27, 2011, requesting authorization to expand the port’s existing dock and storage areas in Lewiston. Proposed work includes relocating an existing mooring dolphin, expanding the existing dock and graveling a storage area.
Public involvement and input was a significant part of the well-established review process, including more than a total of four months of public comment periods. All public comments received were considered as part of the decision-making process.
An initial Corps public comment period was June 22 to Aug. 22, 2011, and was extended until October 29, 2011. The Corps held a formal public hearing on Oct. 19, 2011, in Lewiston. Also, an Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) public comment period was held March 2 to March 30, 2012.
“This decision was made based upon the facts surrounding the project, consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, plus public opinion,” Lt. Col. Caldwell added. “Public opinion varied greatly, from strong support to strong opposition.”
Facets of the proposed dock that were reviewed included:
· Corps Regulatory review under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Under Section 404, an Army permit is required for the discharge of dredge/fill material into U.S. waters. Backfilling for the dock extension and the mooring dolphin relocation involves discharge of sand and gravel into the Clearwater River. Under Section 10, an Army permit is required for work or structures in, over or under navigable U.S. waters.
· Corps Real Estate project approval for impacts to an existing landside easement.
· Corps Engineering and Construction review of potential impacts the proposed dock expansion may have on the adjacent levee. This Section 408 review and approval was for potential impacts the proposed dock expansion may have on the federal flood control levee at the site.
The Corps consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in biological opinions that did not identify a significant impact but clearly laid out protection of endangered species during construction, per Endangered Species Act requirements.
The 2012 Environmental Assessment, FONSI and summary of EA/FONSI public comments may be found at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/LewistonDock/default.asp. Detailed information about the application is also contained in the District’s Notice of Public Hearing NWW-2010-00213 on the District website at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/html/offices/op/rf/pn.asp. See “Public Notices” in the “Regulatory” section of the Website for drawings.