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LRH 2016-337-GBR

Published Nov. 22, 2016
Expiration date: 12/7/2016

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.  

 

APPLICANT:            Oakhurst Club, LLC

                                    5 Kate’s Mountain Road

                                    White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia 24986

 

LOCATION:  The proposed project would be located on a 1,600 acre parcel near White Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier County, West Virginia at approximately latitude 37.860851 and longitude -80.250952 (See Sheet 1 of 6).

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant proposes to discharge permanent fill material within waters of the United States in conjunction with construction of the Oakhurst Development Project.  The Oakhurst Development Project would include the construction of 402 residential home sites, 98 condominiums, ski resort, lodge, dining facilities, Pro-Shop, and 18-hole championship golf course (See Sheets 2-3 of 6).  The proposed construction activities would result in the discharge of 641.4 cubic yards of permanent fill material below the ordinary high water mark of 1,060 linear feet (lf) of two (2) intermittent streams, 938 lf of six (6) ephemeral streams, and 0.31 acre of two (2) emergent wetlands (See attached Table 1 and Sheets 4-5 of 6).  Additionally, the proposed construction activities would include the installation of five (5) permanent culverts associated with road crossings, each culvert no more than 30 lf in length and no less than 24 inches in diameter  (See attached Table 1 and Sheet 6 of 6).

 

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of the proposal, fill material would be discharged below the ordinary high water mark of 1,060 linear feet (lf) of two (2) intermittent streams, 938 lf of six (6) ephemeral streams, and 0.31 acre of two (2) emergent wetlands.  Fill material would also be discharged into jurisdictional streams associated with the installation of five permanent culverts, as described in Table 1.  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 in special aquatic sites, in this case wetlands, practicable alternatives that do not involve wetlands are presumed to be available, unless clearly demonstrated otherwise.  The applicant is required to provide an alternative analysis that must overcome that presumption prior to receiving authorization for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into wetlands.  The applicant’s alternatives analysis includes an assessment of a “no-action” alternative, two on-site alternatives, and one off-site alternative for the proposed project.  A complete copy of the alternative analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the location indicated at the beginning of this notice.  No permit will be issued until our review of the alternative analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.

 

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal.  The applicant has minimized the discharge of fill material within waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable by designing the Oakhurst Development layout to discharge fill material within the minimum length of stream channel and wetland necessary in order to fulfill the project purpose.   The minimization efforts reduced discharges into stream channels by 4,847 lf.

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN (CMP):  The applicant would be required to compensate for the unavoidable discharge of permanent fill material below the ordinary high water mark of 1,060 linear feet (lf) of two (2) intermittent streams, 938 lf of six (6) ephemeral streams, and 0.31 acre of two (2) emergent wetlands associated with the Oakhurst Development Project.  For these proposed fills, the applicant proposes to complete on-site restoration of 1,920 lf of intermittent stream and 1,130 lf of ephemeral stream and on-site creation of 4,155 lf of intermittent stream and 200 lf of ephemeral stream.  The applicant proposes to complete on-site creation of 0.95 acre of emergent wetland.  Based on the West Virginia Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric (WV SWVM), Version 2.1, a total of 2,021.4 credits of compensatory stream mitigation and 0.93 credits of compensatory wetland mitigation would be required to compensate for the permanent discharge of fill material within waters of the United States, as described above.  The proposed on-site stream restoration and creation would yield 2,097.3 credits, and the proposed on-site wetland creation would yield 0.95 credits.  To compensate for impacts associated with culvert installations, the applicant has proposed to countersink the culverts to allow for natural channel bottom development.  The culverts would be designed and sized to accommodate bankfull flow.  As part of our evaluation, the Corps will review the applicant’s CMP and SWVM calculation sheets for accuracy. 

 

The applicant’s CMP is currently under review, and is available for public review.  The proposed CMP is open to comment and is subject to change based on comments received.  After review of all the 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 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. 

 

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:  The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and it has been determined there are no properties currently listed on the NRHP which would be indirectly or directly affected by the proposed work.  The Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on historic properties.  A copy of this public notice and the Corps’ determination regarding effects to historic properties will be furnished to the State Historic Preservation Office for their review and response.  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based on collected data.

  

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

 

Indiana bat (E), Myotis sodalis

northern long-eared bat (T), Myotis septentrionalis

eastern cougar (E), Felis concolor cougar

shale barren rock cress (E), Boechera serotine

small whorled pogonia (T), Isotria medeoloides

Virginia spiraea (T), Spiraea virginiana

 

The Corps has consulted the most recently available information and information provided by the applicant and has determined the proposed project does not provide suitable habitat for the eastern cougar.  Therefore, the Corps has determined the project would have no effect on the eastern cougar.  The proposed project, including upland areas, would require the removal of approximately 10 acres of forested habitat in order to facilitate construction of the overall project.  The applicant has proposed to complete all tree clearing activities during the bat’s dormant season, November 15 – March 31.  Based on this information, the Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat.  No terrestrial plant habitat assessment or presence/absence surveys have been completed for the Oakhurst Development Project.  Additional information will be required before the Corps can determine the effects of the project, if any, on shale barren rock cress, small whorled pogonia, and Virginia spiraea.  This public notice serves as a request to the United States 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 whether 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. 

 

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.  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.  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.  A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

 

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:

                                                                       United States Army Corps of Engineers

ATTN: CELRH-RD-S

Public Notice: LRH-2016-337-GBR

502 Eighth Street

Huntington, WV 25701-2070

 

Please note comments submitted in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, are 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 Kayla Adkins of the South/Transportation Branch, at 304-399-5710, by mail at the above address, or by email at kayla.n.adkins@usace.army.mil.

                                                                                                Table 1

Proposed Discharges of Fill Material into Waters of the United States

Associated with the Oakhurst Development Project

LRH-2016-337-GBR

 

Waterway name

Flow Regime or Cowardin Class

Duration of Fill

Type of Discharge

Length (lf) and/or Acres (ac) of Fill

Stream 2

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

145 lf

Stream 2B

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

20 lf

Stream 8

Intermittent

Permanent

Stream Fill

890 lf

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

510 lf

Stream 9A

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

59 lf

Stream 9B

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

109 lf

UNT A

Intermittent

Permanent

Stream Fill

170 lf

RUT 1

Ephemeral

Permanent

Stream Fill

95 lf

WL 1

Emergent

Permanent

Wetland Fill

0.14 ac

WL 2

Emergent

Permanent

Wetland Fill

0.17 ac

RUT 1

Ephemeral

Permanent

Culvert

30 lf

RUT 1

Ephemeral

Permanent

Culvert

30 lf

RUT 2

Ephemeral

Permanent

Culvert

30 lf

RUT 6

Intermittent

Permanent

Culvert

30 lf

Shuirmann Hollow

Perennial

Permanent

Culvert

30 lf

Total Proposed Discharges of Fill Material

into Waters of the United States

2,148 lf

0.31 ac