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 and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
APPLICANT: Letart Corporation, Inc.
P.O. Box 69
Gallipolis Ferry, WV 25515
LOCATION: The proposed project, referred to as the Letart Corporation Plant 1 Unloading Facility, would be located along the left descending bank (LDB) of the Ohio River at River Mile 271.9, near Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, West Virginia (latitude 38.778682°, longitude -82.217893°). The proposed project is located at the end of Plymale Road. See Sheet 1 of 3.
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The applicant has requested DA authorization for work within the Ohio River, a navigable water of the United States (U.S.), and for proposed discharges of dredged and/or fill material below the ordinary high water mark of the Ohio River to facilitate construction of a new unloading and fleeting facility. The facility would include a new conveyor ramp, offloading features, and barge fleeting. Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice.
Conveyor Ramp: The proposed conveyor ramp would begin at the normal pool elevation of 538 msl with a rising horizontal slope to an elevation of 560 msl. Construction of the ramp would include excavation of materials extending from the normal pool elevation towards top of bank or uplands, in order to achieve the desired slope. No excavation in the river itself is proposed. The base width of the ramp would be 40 feet, and the top width would be 120 feet. Approximately 290 cubic yards of material would be excavated below the ordinary high water mark of the Ohio River. Excavated material would be placed above the ordinary high water mark of the river to provide fill for a new ~2-acre the stockpile storage area.
Construction of the ramp would also include the permanent discharge of dredged and/or fill material below the ordinary high water mark of the Ohio River, but above normal pool, for stabilization of the ramp with # 2 crushed stone. The side slopes would be stabilized with 6-12 inch limestone rip rap above the normal pool elevation. No discharge into the river itself is proposed. See Sheet 2 of 3.
Fleeting: A new fleeting area, to be located upstream of the crane barge, is proposed. The fleet area would include a maximum of four (4) barges, arranged in a 2x2 configuration. The fleet would be anchored by cables attached to four new deadmen anchored above the normal pool elevation. The fleeting area would have a maximum riverward extension of 160 feet from the normal pool elevation. See Sheets 2 and 3.
Offloading Features: A new offloading location and associated barge fleeting area is proposed. A barge-mounted crane would be used to offload materials to a new conveyor system. The crane barge would be attached to four new deadmen anchored above the normal pool elevation. The crane barge would be moved when not in use; no permanent mooring is proposed. During unloading operations, barges would slide along the riverward edge of the crane barge, in a 2-wide arrangement. The unloading facility, including the attached barges, would have a maximum riverward extension of 160 feet from the normal pool elevation. See Sheet 3 of 3.
Work limits: While work is proposed below the ordinary high water mark of the river, as noted above, the applicant has stated no work is proposed below the normal pool of the river. Per the information in the application, all structures/features, excavation, and any discharge of fill material will be above the normal pool elevation. No work within, or disturbance of, the river bottom below normal pool is proposed.
ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS: The applicant has submitted an alternatives analysis, which includes an assessment of a “no action” alternative, a preferred alternative, described above, and two additional 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.
The applicant’s alternatives analysis is currently under review. A complete copy of the applicant’s submittal can be reviewed, by appointment, at the above address or a copy may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act. No permit will be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: In evaluating a project area containing waters of the U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding impacts on this site. If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, then the impacts must be minimized. Approximately 720 linear feet of the Ohio River is present within the site. The applicant has indicated avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal. According to the information provided, the impacts to the Ohio River were reduced to the maximum extent practicable, and all work proposed within the river would be above the normal pool elevation. The applicant states best management practices would be implemented to reduce impacts to the environment and/or aquatic resources. The applicant would have to acquire and comply with all terms and conditions of the Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC).
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The applicant must obtain a Section 401 WQC from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated. The applicant has submitted an individual Section 401 WQC application to the WVDEP for this project. A DA permit, if otherwise warranted, would not be issued on this project until the Section 401 WQC has been issued or waived and the Section 401(a)(2) process has been completed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The Reasonable Period of Time for the certifying authority (WVDEP) to act on the Section 401 WQC is November 3, 2022. A waiver may be explicit or will be deemed to occur if the WVDEP fails or refuses to act on a request for certification within 365 days after receipt of a valid certification request.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and no sites currently on the NRHP are present within the project limits. The applicant consulted with the West Virginia Department of the Arts, Culture, and History State Historic Preservation Office (WVSHPO) and the WVSHPO has provided information on existing archaeological surveys. The Corps is reviewing information from the previous survey(s). 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. No DA permit will be issued until all obligations under Section 106 of the NHPA have been fulfilled.
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
- clubshell mussel (E), Pleurobema clava
- pink mucket (pearlymussel) (E), Lampsilis abrupta
- snuffbox mussel (E), Epioblasma triquetra
- fanshell mussel (E), Cyprogenia stegaria
- sheepnose mussel (E), Plethobasus cyphyus
According to the Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) database, the project area does not occur within a known use area for the Indiana bat. Additionally, the proposed project is not located near known hibernacula or known maternity roost trees for the northern long-eared bat. Suitable habitat for the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat may be present within the site. To assess the effects of the proposal on listed bat species, the Corps is evaluating the scope of the proposed tree clearing (26 trees) relative to the available habitat in the immediately surrounding area.
Suitable habitat for listed mussel species may be present within the Ohio River. As noted in the project description, no work below the normal pool elevation of the river is proposed. Given this, the applicant is not proposing to perform any mussel surveys. The Corps will be assessing the effects of the proposal on the listed mussel species and will consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, West Virginia Field Office (USFWS WVFO), as required by Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act (Section 7). The DA permit will not be issued until the requirements of Section 7 are fulfilled.
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 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 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 (preferably via email if possible) 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, either physical or electronic, 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.
Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted electronically to Mr. Jeremy Cochenour by email to email@example.com.
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
Public Notice No. LRH-2004-0027-OHR
502 Eighth Street
Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070
Comments should only be provided through 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 through the USPS should have a postmark 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.