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LRH 2018-142-TUS

Published Jan. 29, 2020
Expiration date: 2/28/2020

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army Permit (DA) 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 (Ohio EPA) to act on the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following Application.  This Public Notice also provides an opportunity for the public to express their views on proposed adverse effects to historic properties associated with the proposed project.

APPLICANT:        Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)

   2045 Morse Road

                             Columbus, Ohio 43229


LOCATION: The proposed project is located on the North Reservoir of the Portage Lakes, west and south of Portage Lakes Drive, and east and south of Dollar Drive, in the City of Akron, Summit County, Ohio (latitude: 41.004403° N, longitude: 81.552814° W) (Sheet 1: Site Location Map and Sheet 2: Features Map). The North Reservoir is part of the Portage Lakes system, which is located within the watershed of the Tuscarawas River, a navigable water of the United States.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The applicant has requested a DA permit to discharge approximately 25,000 cubic yards of dredged and/or fill material consisting of clean crushed sand and gravel into 3.0 acres of open water along 1,900 linear feet of the west and east embankments of the North Reservoir of Portage Lakes in order to bring the dam into compliance with ODNR dam safety regulations. The existing North Reservoir spillway would be demolished and replaced in its entirety, maintaining the existing weir lengths and dimensions. A cofferdam would be installed to facilitate demolition of the old spillway and construction of the new spillway.

The new overtopping structure would be constructed in the reservoir, upstream of the existing embankment, to improve the existing dam so that it can safely accommodate anticipated storm and flood events. Construction of the overtopping structure would consist of discharging clean granular fill material into the reservoir immediately upstream of the existing embankment to create a working berm, which would remain in place during construction and after the project is complete. The berm would facilitate the deep soil mixing and would allow access into the underlying embankment and foundation to construct the soil-cement gravity section. Plans of the work are attached to this notice (Sheet 3: Exhibit Plan, Sheet 4: Overtopping Structure-Typical Section, and Sheet 5: Spillway-Plan View).

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS: A total of 3.0 acres of open water along 1,900 linear feet of the North Reservoir would be permanently filled as a result of the proposal. No wetlands or other special aquatic sites would be affected by the discharge of dredged and/or fill material. The applicant has submitted the required alternatives analysis. A complete copy of the applicant’s alternatives analysis can be reviewed by appointment at the above address. No permit will be issued until the alternatives analysis demonstrates that upland alternatives are not available to achieve the project purpose.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: In evaluating a project area containing waters of the United States, consideration must be given to avoiding impacts on these sites. If waters of the United States cannot be avoided, then impacts must be minimized. According to the applicant, alternative plans were considered. Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal to reduce the footprint of the proposed project. Stormwater management planning would incorporate best management practices and water pollution controls necessary to maintain compliance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Ohio Water Pollution Control Act.  Stormwater management and erosion control systems would be implemented during construction to minimize indirect effects to the aquatic environment.  All disturbed areas would be seeded and/or revegetated with native plant species and native seed mixes after completion of construction activities.  The proposed project impacts have been minimized to the fullest extent practicable.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: To compensate for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 3.0 acres of open water within the North Reservoir, the applicant proposes to improve stormwater runoff quality and quantity entering the reservoir.  A 2.2 acre vegetated buffer would be established along the new embankment, which would retain and filter run-off from the embankments, private yards, and the adjacent roadway. In addition, enhancements to the nearby ODNR Division of Wildlife public parking lot would improve the quality and treatment of stormwater entering the reservoir. Currently, stormwater from the parking lot drains directly into the reservoir unabated. Stormwater bio-retention areas would be created within the 0.7 acre impervious parking area located south of the east embankment. Also, the proposed dam design includes rock channel/open water wave protection with stone along the entire length of the repaired embankment, totaling 1,900 linear feet, which would improve fish habitat. The rock channel protection would provide additional improved aquatic substrate and habitat compared to the current conditions.

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 EPA. Based on the DA application, the applicant has applied for the required Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Ohio EPA.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was determined to be the lead federal agency for this undertaking, as the only federal action in association with this proposal is the requirement to obtain authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States.

The Corps is mandated by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to ensure no federal undertaking, including a Corps permit action, which may affect historic resources, is commenced before the impacts of such action are considered and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office are provided an opportunity to comment as required by the NHPA, 36 CFR 800, and 33 CFR 325, Appendix C. 

Based on previous coordination efforts between the ODNR, the Corps and the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office (2018-SUM-41481), it has been determined that the North Reservoir Dam’s Eastern Embankment, and the associated dam outlet pipe with sandstone retaining walls, are significant for their association with the Ohio and Erie Canal, as the reservoir was constructed as a water supply for the canal and is considered eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).  

The proposed North Reservoir dam improvements and spillway reconstruction would occur within the proposed NRHP boundary of the Ohio and Erie Canal and would directly affect, through alterations and additions, the North Reservoir Dam, which is a contributing element of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The historic integrity of the dam would be diminished by the widening of the existing earthen embankment. The historic spillway would be removed and reconstructed as it is currently deteriorated beyond repair.

Therefore, based on a review of the documentation provided by the applicant, we have determined the proposed undertaking would have an adverse effect on the NRHP eligible Ohio and Erie Canal. The applicant understands that mitigation would be required for the adverse effect and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) would be required and made a part of any DA authorization of the proposed project.

A copy of this Public Notice will be furnished to the State Historic Preservation Office for their review and comment.

THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project is located within the known or historic range of the following threatened and endangered species: endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). The Corps has consulted the most recently available information, and based on the applicant’s commitment to implement seasonal tree clearing as recommended by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (TAILS #03E15000-2018-TA-09520), the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to affect either the Indiana bat or the northern long-eared bat. Based on this information, the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species which has been determined to be critical. This Public Notice serves as a request for concurrence from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW AND COMMENT: 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 activities on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit that reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposals must be balanced against their reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors that may be relevant to the proposals will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; of 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, 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, the Federal, state, and local agencies and officials, the Indian Tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity, including the proposed adverse effect to historic properties.  Should you wish to participate as a consulting party for the proposed adverse effect to historic properties, please notify our office prior to the close of the comment period for this Public Notice.  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 (1) of this Public Notice.  If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Persons wishing to submit comments or objections concerning this proposal should write:

United States Army Corps of Engineers

Huntington District

ATTN: CELRH-RD-N (Public Notice No. LRH-2018-142-TUS)

502 Eighth Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070.

Please note names, addresses, and, comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, may be available to the public under the 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 Nicole Marisavljevic at the above address, by telephone at (330) 365-4273, or via email at nicole.marisavljevic@usace.army.mil.