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LRH 2016-00064-TUS

Published Jan. 25, 2019
Expiration date: 2/22/2019

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:        The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

1980 West Broad Street, Mail Stop 4170

Columbus, Ohio 43223

           

LOCATION:  The proposed project is located at the Interstate (I) 76 interchange at State Route (SR) 619 (Wooster Road) in the City of Barberton and the City of Akron, Summit County, Ohio.  Center coordinates of the I-76 interchange with SR 619 (Wooster Road) are as follows:

Latitude 41.0357 North and Longitude 81.5787 West

 

Waters of the United States (U.S.) within the proposed project area include approximately 1,233 linear feet of Mud Run, 0.64-acre of adjacent wetlands, and 0.041-acre of jurisdictional ditches at the I-76 interchange with SR 619.  Mud Run is a direct tributary to the Tuscarawas River, a traditional navigable water (TNW). 

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant has requested authorization to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. to remove the I-76 interchange at SR 619 (Wooster Road).  To provide access from SR 619 (Wooster Road) to State Street and I-76 westbound, a westbound connector approximately 1,190 feet long is proposed to converge with a proposed westbound I-76 exit ramp to State Street.  An eastbound connector approximately 1,210 feet long is proposed to diverge from the I-76 eastbound entrance ramp to provide access from eastbound I-76 and State Street to SR 619 (Wooster Road).  New 12-foot wide travel lanes would be added in each direction along I-76 between SR 619 and a new diamond interchange at State Street.  In addition, the I-76 bridges over Central Avenue would be removed and replaced with earthen embankment, which would permanently close Central Avenue to through traffic.

 

The applicant has indicated permanent discharges of dredged or fill material into Mud Run, Wetlands A-B, and Ditches 1-4 are necessary to complete the proposed project.  The applicant proposes to permanently discharge dredged or fill material into a cumulative total of 299 linear feet of Mud Run to remove a slab bridge, install a new culvert, extend an existing culvert, and discharge rock channel protection for erosion control.  The applicant has requested authorization for the permanent discharge of dredged or fill material into 0.07-acre of Wetland A and 0.42-acre of Wetland B for site grading associated with ramp construction.  The applicant proposes to permanently discharge dredged or fill material into 0.021-acre of jurisdictional Ditches 1-4 for site grading.  Temporary discharges of dredged or fill material into Mud Run would be necessary for construction access and to maintain stream flow, where appropriate.  Please refer to Table 1 for a summary of proposed discharges.  Plans of the proposal are enclosed with this notice. 

 

Table 1 – Nature of Proposed Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material in Waters of the U.S.

LRH-2016-00064-TUS; SUM-76-5.62, PID: 96670

 

Aquatic Resource ID

Plan Sheet(s)

Type of Fill Activity

Permanent

Temporary

Fill Volume (cy)

Fill Area (ac)

Length (lf)

Fill Volume (cy)

Fill Area (ac)

Length (lf)

Mud Run

2-9

Bridge removal / Culvert work / Construction Access

305

0.14

2991

17

0.25

519

Wetland A

2-3

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

113

0.07

N/A

0

0.00

N/A

Wetland B

2-3

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

678

0.422

N/A

0

0.00

N/A

Ditch 1

2

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

2

0.001

100

0

0.00

N/A

Ditch 2

2-3

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

15

0.018

109

0

0.00

N/A

Ditch 3

2-3

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

1

0.001

46

0

0.00

N/A

Ditch 4

2-3

Site grading /

Ramp Construction

1

0.001

23

0

0.00

N/A

Totals (rounded)

1,115

0.65

5771

17

0.25

519

 

 

Notes:

1 111 lf of Mud Run is already culverted and would be “day-lighted”, so the required stream mitigation ratio would be 1:1 for post-removal bank shaping.

2 Any equipment working outside the Wetland B permitted fill area must be placed on mats, or other measures must be taken to minimize soil disturbance.

 

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of the proposal, dredged or fill material would be permanently discharged into 0.49-acre of 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 dredged or 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 an alternatives analysis for review.  The applicant completed analysis of three different practicable alternatives that would meet the project purpose and need.  The applicant has indicated that the preferred alternative described above is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative, given the other two alternatives would result in more discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S.  A complete copy of 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 dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. must be minimized.  A total of approximately 1,233 linear feet of Mud Run, a perennial stream, 0.64-acre of emergent wetlands, and 0.041-acre of jurisdictional ditches subject to Section 404 Clean Water Act regulation are present within the proposed project area.  According to the applicant, alternatives were considered as described above, and avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the project design.  The applicant has indicated that the project has been designed to avoid permanent discharges of dredged or fill material into 934 linear feet of Mud Run, 0.15-acre of emergent Wetland B, and 0.02-acre of jurisdictional ditches.  The applicant has indicated no dredged or fill material would be discharged into aquatic resources in excess of the minimum needed to construct the project.  The applicant has indicated 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 (BMPs) for sediment and erosion control.  Such measures may include the installation of silt barriers, silt fence, and ditch checks appropriately placed prior to construction.  Post-construction BMPs would include vegetated biofilters for treatment of roadway runoff, which function to improve water quality over the long-term.

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN:  To compensate for the permanent discharge of dredged or fill material into 0.49-acre of non-forested wetlands, the applicant proposes to deduct a minimum of 0.74-acre of pre-purchased wetland mitigation credit/acreage from the Little Scioto Mitigation Bank located in Marion County, Ohio (Hydrologic Unit Code [HUC] 05060001).  The applicant has referenced the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s wetland antidegradation rule in Ohio Administrative Code 3745-1-54 to satisfy the required mitigation to discharge ratios for Category 1 non-forested wetlands. 

 

To compensate for the permanent discharge of dredged or fill material into 299 linear feet of Mud Run, the applicant proposes to purchase at least 458 advanced stream mitigation credits through the Stream and Wetlands Foundation’s approved in-lieu fee program in the Tuscarawas River watershed (HUC 05040001).  The applicant has referenced the suggested ratios developed by the Ohio Interagency Review Team in Table 11-1 of the Guidelines for Stream Mitigation Banking and In-Lieu Fee Programs in Ohio (Version 1.1).

 

No mitigation is proposed for discharges of dredged or fill material into the jurisdictional ditches.  The applicant’s proposed compensatory mitigation plan is open to comment and is subject to change based on comments received.  

 

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 the ODOT, the FHWA assigned, and the ODOT assumed, responsibility for compliance with the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and it has been determined there are no properties currently listed on the NRHP that would be indirectly or directly affected by the proposed work.  Based on previous cultural resources surveys, the applicant determined no historic cultural resources would be affected by the proposed undertaking.

 

In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected and consultation performed by the 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:

  • Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) (T)
  • Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E)
  • Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (T)
  • Northern monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense) (E)

 

Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327(a)(2)(B) and a Memorandum of Understanding executed on December 11, 2015 between the FHWA and the ODOT, the FHWA assigned, and the ODOT assumed, responsibility for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.  The applicant determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat.  By e-mail to the ODOT dated January 12, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) concurred with these determinations.  The applicant has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the eastern massasauga rattlesnake and the northern monkshood. 

 

In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected by the ODOT, and consultation performed by the ODOT, regarding the effects to threatened or endangered species.  This public notice serves as a request to the USFWS 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-2016-00064-TUS

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 Brett Latta of the South/Transportation Branch, at (614) 692-4654, by mail at the above address, or by email at Brett.C.Latta@usace.army.mil.