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LRH 2016-0788-CUY

Posted: 6/12/2017

Expiration date: 7/8/2017


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army Permit under the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  This notice serves as the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) request to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to act on Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following application.  

 

APPLICANT:      Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

1980 West Broad Street, Mail Stop 4170

Columbus, Ohio 43223

           

LOCATION:  The proposed overall roadway project, referred to as CUY-480-18.42, PID 90591, is located at the Valley View Bridge carrying Interstate Route (I) 480 over the CSX Railroad, the Cuyahoga River, West Canal Road, and Canal Road; east of the I-480/I-77 interchange; in the City of Independence and Village of Valley View; in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  The proposed project has a center coordinate of 41.409 north latitude, 81.633 west longitude. 

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant has requested authorization to permanently discharge 3,097 cubic yards of earthen fill into 1.92f1. acres of two wetlands, referred to as Wetland B and Wetland C, to facilitate replacement of the I-480 bridge decks and the construction of a new four-lane structure in the median of the I-480 twin bridges.  Implementation of the proposal would result in the permanent discharge of fill material into 1.61 acres of Wetland B and 0.31 acre of Wetland C.  Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice. 

 

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of the proposal, permanent fill material would be discharged into 1.92 acres of two jurisdictional wetlands.  The project does not require access or proximity to or siting within the wetlands to fulfill its basic purpose and is considered a non-water dependent activity.  The Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines state that for non-water dependent activities, practicable alternatives that do not involve wetlands are presumed to be available, unless clearly demonstrated otherwise.  The applicant is required to provide an alternatives analysis that must overcome the presumption prior to receiving authorization for the discharge of fill material.  No permit would be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.  The applicant has submitted the required alternatives analysis, which is currently under review.  The alternatives analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the location described at the beginning of this Public Notice.

 

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  In evaluating a project area containing waters of the U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding waters of the U.S.  If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. must be minimized.  Approximately 2,261 linear feet of four streams and 2.04 acres of three (3) wetlands subject to Section 404 Clean Water Act regulation are present within the proposed project area.  According to the applicant, on-site alternatives were considered and avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the project design.  The project has been designed to completely avoid the Cuyahoga River (290 linear feet), the Ohio & Erie Canal (312 linear feet), Stream 3 (70 linear feet), Stream 4 (1,589 linear feet), and Wetland A (0.12 acre).  The applicant has indicated that the discharges of fill material into Wetlands B and C are unavoidable and that no fill material would be discharged into waters of the U.S. in excess of the minimum needed to complete the project.  Minimization of adverse effects to aquatic resources would also be achieved through adherence to the applicant’s Construction and Material Specifications and the implementation of construction Best Management Practices for sediment and erosion control.  Such measures may include the installation of silt barriers, silt fence, and ditch checks appropriately placed prior to construction.

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN:  To compensate for the discharge of fill material into 1.92 acre of two Category 1 wetlands, the applicant proposes to deduct 2.88 acres of wetland mitigation credit from the SUM-8 Pond Brook Pooled Mitigation Area in Summit County, Ohio.  The applicant’s proposed compensatory mitigation plan is open to comment and is subject to change based on comments received. After review of all submitted information, the Corps will make a determination of appropriate mitigation, in the event a decision is made to issue a permit.

 

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  A Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required for this project.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

 

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:  Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327(a)(2)(B) and a Memorandum of Understanding executed on December 11, 2015 between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and ODOT, FHWA assigned, and ODOT assumed, responsibility for compliance with the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  Based on previous cultural resources surveys, the applicant determined the subject undertaking would have no effects on any historic property.  In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected and consultation performed by ODOT regarding the effects to historic properties.  A copy of this Public Notice will be sent to the Ohio History Connection for review.  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based upon collected data.

 

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES:  The proposed project is located within the known or historic range of the following endangered (E) or threatened (T) species:

  • Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E)

  • Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (T)

  • Kirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) (E)

  • Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) (E)

  • Rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) (T)

 

Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327(a)(2)(B) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed on December 11, 2015 between FHWA and ODOT, FHWA assigned, and ODOT assumed, responsibility for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.  Prior to execution of the MOU, on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration, the applicant determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Kirtland’s warbler, piping plover, or rufa red knot.  The applicant also determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat.  Through informal consultation completed between the applicant and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on January 23, 2014, the Service concurred with the determinations for the Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat.

 

In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected by ODOT, and consultation performed by ODOT, regarding the effects to threatened or endangered species.  This public notice serves as a request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any additional information they may have on whether any listed or proposed to be listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the activity, pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).

 

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW AND CUMULATIVE EFFECTS:  This application will be reviewed in accordance with 33 CFR 320‑332, the Regulatory Program of the Corps, and other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders.  Our evaluation will also follow the guidelines published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act (40 CFR part 230).  The decision to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, 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 that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those factors 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, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.  A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

 

SOLICITATION OF COMMENTS:  The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, state and local agencies and officials, Indian Tribes and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity.  For accuracy and completeness of the administrative record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed work should be submitted in writing setting forth sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition.  Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in the notice, that a public hearing be held to consider the application.  Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps 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. The comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  The comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Written statements received in this office on or before the expiration date of this Public Notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final determination. 

 

CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD:   All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before the close of the comment period listed on page one of this Public Notice. 

If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District

ATTN: CELRH-RD-S-OT Public Notice No. LRH-2016-00788-CUY

Building 10 / Section 10

PO Box 3990

Columbus, OH 43218-3990

 

Please note names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, may be available to the public under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.  Thank you for your interest in our nation’s water resources.  If you have any questions concerning this Public Notice, please contact Tim Long of the South/Transportation Branch, at (614) 692-4654, by mail at the above address, or by email at Timothy.M.Long@usace.army.mil.