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LRH 2018-824-OHR

Published Jan. 29, 2020
Expiration date: 2/12/2020

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  The following application has been submitted for Department of the Army (DA) authorization 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 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to act on Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following application.

 

APPLICANT:                       

                           West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR)

                           324 4th Avenue

                           South Charleston, West Virginia 25303

                   

LOCATION:  The proposed project, referred to as the WVDNR Beech Fork Lake Dredging project, would be located within an approximate 28-acre (ac) area below the summer pool elevation of Beech Fork Lake, near Barboursville, in Cabell County, West Virginia, at approximately latitude 38.3039°N, longitude -82.33583°W.  Please reference attached Sheet 1 of 10.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant has requested DA authorization for the proposed discharge of dredged and/or fill material below the ordinary high water mark (summer pool elevation) of Beech Fork Lake to facilitate the dredging of accumulated sediments.  Work would be performed “in the dry” during winter drawdown of the lake.  The proposed 28-ac dredging project would include the construction of twelve (12) stabilization construction entrances, two (2) sediment traps, and three (3) temporary ditches (see Sheets 2 through 9 of 10).  The proposed project would be performed utilizing a dozer which would push approximately 68,000 cubic yards (cy) of dredged material to the 12 stabilized construction entrances.  The dredged material would then be loaded by an excavator into dump trucks.  The dredged material would be transported to an upland location (see Sheet 10 of 10).  The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a minimum of 4 feet of water depth in order provide recreational opportunities.  The applicant has indicated the project may be performed in a single winter drawdown season, or in phases over multiple years.  Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice.

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of implementation of the proposal, dredged and/or fill material would be discharged into approximately 28 acres of Beech Fork Lake.  No wetlands or other special aquatic sites would be affected by the discharge of dredged and/or fill material.  The applicant has submitted an alternatives analysis for review.  The applicant’s alternatives analysis includes an assessment of a “no-action” alternative, a preferred alternative, and three on-site alternatives.  Under the no action alternative, no discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States would occur.  The applicant has indicated this alternative would not meet the overall project purpose.  Based on the alternatives analysis, the applicant has indicated the other alternatives considered would result in greater costs, create safety hazards, and close recreational venues for the public.  As such, the applicant has indicated these alternatives are not practicable alternatives.  A complete copy of the applicant’s alternative analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the above address.  No permit will be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that the project is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative. 

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  In evaluating a project area containing waters of the United States, consideration must be given to avoiding discharges of dredged and/or fill material into these waters.  If waters of the United States cannot be avoided, then impacts must be minimized.  The applicant has indicated avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the project development plan.  The applicant states best management practices would be implemented to minimize sedimentation and erosion.  The applicant would also comply with all terms and conditions of their Section 401 Water Quality Certification and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN:  The applicant states the effects of the proposal are minimal in the absence of any mitigation.  No mitigation is proposed.  After review of all of 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 WVDEP.

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 that would be indirectly or directly affected by the proposed work.  There are no resources eligible for inclusion on the NRHP within the overall project area.  The Corps has determined the proposal would have no potential to effect any property eligible, or potentially eligible, for listing on the NRHP.  A copy of this Public Notice will be sent to the SHPO for their review.  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based upon collected data.

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

  • Indiana bat (E), Myotis sodalis
  • Northern long-eared bat (T), Myotis septentrionalis
  • Gray bat (E), Myotis grisescens
  • Fanshell mussel (E), Cyprogenia stegaria
  • Sheepnose mussel (E), Plethobasus cyphyus

     

The Corps has consulted the most recently available information, including the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Information for Planning and Consultation Database (IPaC), as well as information provided by the applicant, in order to make the following determinations.  Based on the information provided and lack of suitable habitat, the Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the fanshell mussel and sheepnose mussel.  The proposal would not include the clearing of forested habitat or impact any caves, abandoned mine portals, culverts, or the underside of bridges.  Based on the information provided, the Corps has determined the proposed project would have no effect on the Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, and gray bat.  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 guidelines published by the U.S. 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 benefits that 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; 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, 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 on these factors 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 at the beginning 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 No. LRH-2018-824-OHR

502 8th Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701

 

Please note that 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 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, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to view a copy of the application, please contact Jeremy Cochenour of the South/Transportation Branch by telephone at (304) 399-5710 or by email at jeremy.d.cochenour@usace.army.mil.