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LRH 2020-315-NEW

Published July 21, 2020
Expiration date: 8/20/2020

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 Department of Transportation

      Division of Highways

       1900 Kanawha Boulevard East

        Building 5, Room 110

     Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0430

 

LOCATION: The proposed overall project, referred to as the Beaver to South Eisenhower Drive Project (Beckley Z-Way), would be located in Little Beaver Creek and its unnamed tributaries, the unnamed tributaries of Piney Creek, and their associated wetlands, near Beaver, in Raleigh County, West Virginia.  The overall proposed highway project begins at Latitude 37.7460 and Longitude -81.1265 and ends at Latitude 37.7643 and Longitude -81.1504, as shown on the attached plans.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The overall proposed project involves the construction of a new roadway and the relocation of U.S. Route 19 for approximately 1.91 miles.  The applicant has requested a DA authorization for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into potential waters of the U.S. in conjunction with the construction and relocation of the roadway.  Construction of Beckley Z-Way project would result in the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 2,801 linear feet (lf) of six (6) streams and 0.714 acre (ac) of eleven (11) wetlands at five (5) single and complete project locations, as described in the attached tables. Plans (Sheets 1-16) of the proposal are attached to this notice.

Temporary cofferdams may be utilized to facilitate the construction activities.  The permittee is also requesting authorization to temporarily discharge fill material into one (1) stream to facilitate project construction.  The proposed temporary cofferdams are described in the attached Table 3.  After completion of the construction activities, all temporary fill material would be removed and the stream would be restored to its approximate original contour.  Natural channel design techniques would be utilized for the stream restoration activities.  

LEAD FEDERAL AGENCY: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead Federal agency for the Beaver to South Eisenhower Drive Project (Beckley Z-Way). In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Assessment (EA), dated January 2019, was prepared and approved by the West Virginia Department of Transportation-Division of Highways (WVDOH) and the FHWA. A subsequent Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed in July 2019.

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of the proposal, dredged and/or fill material would permanently discharged into 2,801 lf of stream and 0.714 ac of wetland at five (5) single and complete project locations.  The projects do not require access or proximity to, or siting within, wetlands to fulfill their basic purpose and are considered to be a non-water dependent activities.  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 a DA authorization for the discharge of dredged and/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’s alternatives analysis includes an evaluation of a no-build alternative and two (2) roadway alignments. Based on their analysis, the applicant determined the Alternative 2, as described above, is their preferred alternative. The applicant has stated this alternative meets the purpose and need by improving system linkage, assuring adequate emergency response times for ambulance, police, and fire services, and supporting economic development.  A complete copy of the applicant’s alternative analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the above address or obtain via a Freedom of Information Act request.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: In evaluating a project areas containing waters of the U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding discharges of dredged and/or fill material into these waters. If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, then impacts must be minimized.  Approximately twelve (12) streams (11,858 lf) and twenty six (26) wetlands (2.342 ac) are located within the overall 1.91 mile long project area.  The applicant has indicated avoidance and minimization measures were incorporated into the project design to the maximum extent possible. The applicant has indicated that no fill material would be discharged in excess of the minimum required to complete the proposed projects. The applicant’s overall proposed project would avoid 9,057 linear feet (76.4%) of streams and 1.628 acres (69.5%) of on-site wetlands. The applicant would be required to obtain stormwater permits and to implement stormwater protection plans as needed for site construction following the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. Stormwater management and erosion control systems would be implemented during construction and all disturbed areas would be seeded and/or revegetated after completion of construction activities. All waters of the U.S. temporarily affected by construction activities would be returned to pre-disturbance conditions.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: For compensatory stream mitigation, the applicant proposes to compensate for the permanent discharge of dredged and/or fill material into the streams described in Table 1 by purchasing 1,431.09 stream credits from an approved mitigation bank and/or if bank credits are not available, by purchasing 1,602.824 stream credits from the West Virginia In-Lieu Fee Program. 

The applicant’s West Virginia Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric Version 2.1 (WV SWVM) forms indicate 0.714 wetland credits would be required to offset the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into wetlands associated with the Beckley Z-Way.  For compensatory wetland mitigation, the applicant proposes to utilize 0.68 wetland credits previously purchased from the Meadow River Wetland Mitigation Bank.  Additional wetland credits would be purchased from an approved mitigation bank and/or the West Virginia In-Lieu Fee Program to offset the remaining 0.034 credit requirement.

Final mitigation requirements will be determined during the permit review and after any jurisdictional determination has been completed for the aquatic resources within the project areas.  Final mitigation requirements for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into jurisdictional streams and/or wetlands will be calculated using the WV SWVM.  The applicant’s WV SWVM forms are currently under review.

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 FHWA is the lead Federal agency for the overall project and is responsible for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The applicant has consulted with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in West Virginia. In 2016, the applicant conducted historic resources surveys.  No properties were identified within the overall project area as potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).  In a letter dated April 27, 2017, the SHPO concurred that the project would have no potential to effect historic properties and no further archaeological work is necessary. The Corps intends to rely upon the information collected by the FHWA, and the consultation previously performed between the FHWA and the SHPO regarding the proposal’s effects to historic properties, to support the Corps’ independent evaluation of the permit application. 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 overall proposed project is located within the known or historic range of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (NLEB). The FHWA is the lead Federal agency for the overall project and is responsible for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The applicant has consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Mist net surveys were conducted within the study area in 2017.  No Indiana bats or NLEB were captured during the surveys. The USFWS concurred with the mist net report in April 2018.  The USFWS has stated that no Indiana bats or NLEB are expected to be adversely affected by the proposed project. 

The Corps intends to rely upon the information collected by or on behalf of the FHWA, and consultation performed by or on behalf of the FHWA, regarding the proposal’s effects to federally-listed threatened or endangered species, to support our evaluation of the permit application. A copy of this Public Notice will be sent to USFWS for their review. 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 NEPA.

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 on page one of this Public Notice.  Comments, information requests, and any public hearing requests should be submitted in accordance with the submission methods listed below.  If no comments are received by the close of the comment period, it will be considered that there are no objections.

Comment Submission: Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted electronically to Ms. Sarah Workman by email to sarah.m.workman@usace.army.mil.

If you do not have internet access, comments may be submitted thru the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the following address:

 

United States Army Corps of Engineers

ATTN: CELRH-RD-S

Public Notice No. LRH-2020-315-NEW

502 Eighth Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

 

Copies should only be provided thru the USPS when electronic transmission is not possible.  Precautionary internal mail handling procedures may be instituted to protect our workforce, which may result in longer than normal times to process and receive hard copy submissions.  To be considered in our evaluation, comments submitted thru the USPS should have a post mark dated on, or prior to, the close of the comment period listed on page one of this Public Notice.

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 Ms. Sarah Workman of the South/Transportation Branch by telephone at (304) 399-5710 or by email at sarah.m.workman@usace.army.mil.

Table 1. Summary of Stream Impacts

Activity Number

Stream Name

Stream ID

Station

Location (Latitude  and Longitude)

Corps Single & Complete ID

Type of Crossing

Proposed
Pipe Size (inches)

Total Length (ft)

Total Area (Acres)

Total Fill (CY)

1a

UT of Little Beaver Creek

STR12-PER-SR01

295+50

37.7466,
-81.1273

1

Culvert Replacement/   Drainage Improvements

36

544

0.012

50

9b

UT of Little Beaver Creek

STR17-PER

321+29

37.7524,
-81.1318

3

Culvert Replacement/  Drainage Improvements

66

594

0.041

326

12

UT of Little Beaver Creek

STR18-PER-SR01

336+38 to 338+25.76

37.7563,
-81.1345

4

Culvert Installation

30

196

0.013

38

STR18-PER-SR02

338+25.76 to 339+13

4

24

114

0.008

17

17

UT of Piney Creek

STR22-PER

372+62 to 374+59

37.7611,
-81.1445

5

Culvert Installation

30

203

0.014

113

18

Little Beaver Creek

STR13-PER

304+80.75

37.7484,
-81.1293

2

Stream Relocation

~~

686

0.315

1483

19

Little Beaver Creek

STR13-PER

318+31.77

37.7510,
-81.1329

3

Structure Replacement

32' Arch Culvert

120

0.055

178

21

UT of Piney Creek

STR29-INT

374+39.47 to 375+15.03

37.7611,
-81.1450

5

Drainage Improvements

~~

96

0.001

1

22

UT of Little Beaver Creek

STR18-PER-SR01

333+83.28 to 336+42.91

37.7556,
-81.1342

4

Drainage Outlet

~~

248

0.017

221

TOTALS

2801

0.476

2427

  1. STR12-PER-SR01: The overall activity would affect 544 lf of stream, 242 lf of which is currently located within culverts and the remaining 302 lf is encapsulated within a roadside ditch.
  2. UT LBC STR 17: The overall activity would affect 594 lf of stream, 395 lf of which is currently located with culverts and the remaining 199 lf is encapsulated within a roadside ditch.                                                                                                                                          

Table 2. Summary of Wetland Impacts

Activity Number

Wetland ID

Wetland Classification

Station

Location (Latitude and Longitude)

Corps Single & Complete ID

Total Wetland Area (Acres)

Amount Wetland Affected (Acres)

Type of Crossing

2

Wetland 11

PEM

300+50 to 303+88

37.7478,
-81.1288

2

0.702

0.512

Fill Encroachment

3

Wetland 12

80% PEM/ 20% PSS

304+65 to 304+74

37.7482,                   
-81.1296

2

0.060

0.001

Cut Encroachment

4

Wetland 13

PEM

305+01 to 305+30

37.7481,
-81.1299

2

0.031

0.006

Cut/Fill Encroachment

5

Wetland 16

PEM

305+07 to 305+40

37.7483,
-81.1297

2

0.006

0.006

Complete Fill

6

Wetland 15

PEM

306+11 to 306+42

37.7484,
-81.1302

2

0.007

0.007

Complete Fill

7

Wetland 14

PEM

306+59 to 306+81

37.7484,                      
-81.1302

2

0.006

0.006

Fill Encroachment

10

Wetland 30

60% PEM / 20% PSS / 20% PFO

319+72.85 to 320+13.25

37.7517,
-81.1327

3

0.023

0.005

Fill Encroachment

11

Wetland 31

50% PSS/ 30% POW / 20% PEM

320+91.27 to 323+05.03

37.7520,
-81.1330

3

0.326

0.005

Fill Encroachment

15

Wetland 45

PEM

371+83 to 372+62

37.7611,
-81.1441

5

0.025

0.025

Cut Encroachment

16

Wetland 47

80%PEM/20% PSS

373+29 to 374+46

37.7611,
-81.1447

5

0.046

0.046

Cut Encroachment

18

Wetland 46

PEM

373+94 to 375+17

37.7609,
-81.1450

5

0.095

0.095

Cut Encroachment

TOTAL

 

1.327

0.714

 

                 

 

 

 

Table 3.  Temporary Impacts

Activity Number

Stream Name

Stream ID
& Type

Station

Location (Latitude and Longitude)

Activity

Acres Affected

Cubic Yards of Fill

19

Little Beaver Creek

Perennial (STR13)

317+86 to 318+69

37.7510,
-81.1329

Abutment 1 Cofferdam

0.007

35

37.7510,
-81.1330

Abutment 2 Cofferdam

0.007

32

TOTAL TEMPORARY IMPACT LENGTHS

0.014

67