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LRH 2022-912-SCR

CELRH-RDN
Published Nov. 29, 2022
Expiration date: 12/29/2022

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army (DA) Permit under the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. 

APPLICANT:           Mr. Burak Gursel

                                    Simpson Strong-Tie Company (SST)

                                    5956 W. Las Positas Boulevard

                                    Pleasanton, California 94588

LOCATION:  As depicted on the attached Figure 1 (Sheet 1 of 2), the Site Location Map, the proposed project would be located within the watershed of the Scioto River at 2600 International Street, in the City of Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio (Latitude: 40.006278, Longitude: -83.128316).  The waters on-site flow to an unnamed tributary of Roberts Millikin Ditch to the Scioto River, a traditional navigable water of the United States.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant has requested a DA authorization to permanently discharge dredged and/or fill material into approximately 2.75 acres of two (2) wetlands (Wetland 4 and Wetland 6) in conjunction with the Simpson Strong-Tie Expansion Project, as depicted in the attached Preferred Alternative Wetland Exhibit.  SST has found an increase in demand for their products, and have indicated a need for additional warehouse space.  The project would involve the construction of a new warehouse that is a minimum of 230,000 square feet.  Additionally, an associated parking lot would be constructed to accommodate for the increase in personnel that is employed at the facility.  Specifically, 1.53 acres of Wetland 4 would be impacted by grading activities and the construction of the proposed warehouse.  Approximately 1.22 acres of Wetland 6 would be converted to serve as the facility’s retention pond.  See attached Sheet 2 of 2 for a copy of the overall design.

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:  As a result of the proposal, dredged and/or fill material would be discharged into waters of the United States as described above and in the attached Table 1.  The project does not require access or proximity to or siting within wetlands (special aquatic sites) to fulfill its basic purpose and is considered a non-water dependent activity.  The Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines state for non-water dependent activities, practicable alternatives that do not involve special aquatic sites are presumed to be available, unless clearly demonstrated otherwise.  The applicant is required to provide an alternatives analysis that must overcome this presumption prior to receiving authorization for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material.  No permit will be issued until our review of the alternative 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 United States, consideration must be given to avoiding impacts on these sites.  If waters of the United States cannot be avoided, then the impacts must be minimized.  A total of approximately 918 linear feet of eight (8) streams and 10.14 acres of seven (7) wetlands are located within the approximate 41-acre site.  Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal to reduce the footprint of the proposed treatment system project.  The applicant’s preferred development alternative design would involve the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 2.75 acres of two (2) wetlands (27% of the on-site wetlands) in order to construct a warehouse and an employee training center.  The project has been designed to avoid 7.39 acres (73%) of the on-site wetlands and 100% of the on-site streams (Reference attached Table 1). All disturbed areas would be seeded and/or revegetated with native plant species and native seed mixes after completion of construction activities.  After construction, any temporary fill material would be removed in its entirety and the affected areas returned to pre-construction elevations and revegetated, as appropriate. 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN (CMP):  To compensate for the loss of 2.75 acres of two (2) wetlands associated with the proposed project, the applicant proposes to purchase 4.2 non-forested wetland mitigation credits from the Stream + Wetlands Foundation Huntington In-Lieu Fee Program.  After review of all the submitted information, the Corps will determine if the type and level of compensatory mitigation are adequate in the event a decision is made to issue a DA authorization.

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  The applicant must obtain a Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  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 (Ohio Environmental Protection Agency) to act on the Section 401 WQC will be 270 days from the date the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency receives a valid certification request (40 CFR 121.5). A pre-filing meeting request must be submitted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 30 days prior to submitting a certification request. The certification request must be submitted to the Corps and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency concurrently.  A waiver may be explicit or will be deemed to occur if the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency fails or refuses to act on a request for certification within 270 days after receipt of a valid certification request.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:  The Corps is required 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 (SHPO) are provided an opportunity to comment as required by the NHPA, 36 CFR 800, and 33 CFR 325, Appendix C.  The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and it has been determined that there are no properties currently listed on the NRHP that would be indirectly or directly affected by the proposed work.  No historic structures are on-site or in the immediate vicinity of the project site.  The site consists of an existing railyard and is surrounded by other commercial developments.  The site has been disturbed by the construction of the existing warehouses and their associated facilities.  Therefore, based on the provided information, the Corps has determined that no historic properties listed on, or eligible for listing on, the NRHP would be affected by the proposed undertaking.  A copy of this Public Notice will be furnished to Ohio SHPO for their review and concurrence pursuant to 36 CFR 800.4(d)(i).  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based on collected data.  No DA permit will be issued until all obligations under Section 106 of the NHPA have been fulfilled. 

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES:  The proposed project is located within the known or historic range of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), the proposed endangered tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), and the endangered rayed bean mussel (Villosa fabalis).  The project site contains six (6) wetlands with some being forested and eight (8) streams exhibiting ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial flow regimes. Streams 2-8 lack suitable habitat for the rayed bean mussel.  Stream 1, Roberts Millikin Ditch, is a perennial stream that flows to the Scioto River where suitable habitat could be found.  However, the Scioto River is approximately three (3) miles downstream of the proposed project.  The applicant would use best management practices to minimize erosion and sedimentation to avoid impacts to downstream aquatic species.  Thus, the Corps has determined that the proposed project would have no effect on the rayed bean mussel.  The proposed project area could provide potential habitat for the Indiana bat, the northern long-eared bat, and the tricolored bat.  The applicant has agreed to conduct tree clearing operations associated with the proposed project between October 1 and March 31, as recommended by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), to minimize effects on the federally-protected bat species.  The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely adversely affect either the Indiana bat, the tricolored bat, or the northern long-eared bat.  The applicant provided a technical assistance letter (Project Code: 2022-0001366) from the USFWS for reference with the application materials.  This Public Notice serves as a request for concurrence from the USFWS for the aforementioned effect determination and 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).  No DA permit will be issued until the Corps has verified that all obligations under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act have been 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 the guidelines published by the USEPA 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 the protection and the utilization of important resources.  The benefit 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; 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. 

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 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.  Comments should be submitted electronically to Ms. Rachel King by email at rachel.a.king@usace.army.mil.  If you do not have internet access, comments may be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the following address:

 

United States Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District

ATTN:  CELRH-RDN Public Notice:  LRH-2022-912-SCR

502 Eighth Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

Copies 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 (1) of this Public Notice.

Please note names, addresses, and comments submitted 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 Ms. Rachel King of the North Branch, at 304-399-6902, by mail at the above address, or by email at rachel.a.king@usace.army.mil.

Table 1 – Proposed Discharges of Dredged and/or Fill Material Into Waters of the United States associated with the Simpson Strong-Tie Expansion Project (LRH-2022-912-SCR)

 

Aquatic Resource ID

 

Latitude

 

Longitude

 

Type

Amount of aquatic resource in review area  linear feet / acre

Amount of Impact linear feet / acre

Nature of Impact

Percent (%) Avoided

Wetland 1

40.014106

-83.127944

Palustrine Emergent (PEM)

0.40 acre

0 acre

N/A

100%

Wetland 2

40.012344

-83.126881

Palustrine Forested

(PFO)

0.31 acre

0 acre

N/A

100%

Wetland 3

40.011019

-83.128378

PEM

1.53 acres

0 acre

N/A

100%

Wetland 4

 

40.006775

-83.128611

PEM

1.67 acres

1.53 acres

Construction of the proposed commercial building

8%

Wetland 5

40.009728

-83.127467

PEM

4.72

0 acre

N/A

100%

Wetland 6

40.006722

-83.127569

PEM

1.45 acres

1.22 acres

Construction of retention pond

16%

Wetland 7

40.012821

-83.127668

PEM

0.057 acre

0 acre

N/A

100%

Stream 1 (Roberts Millikin Ditch)

40.007903

-83.128758

Perennial

260 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 2

40.00785

-83.128597

Ephemeral (EPH)

59 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 3

40.008131

-83.27797

Intermittent (INT)

97 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 4

40.008147

-83.127458

INT

119 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 5

40.007975

-83.127436

INT

50 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 6

40.007728

-83.127353

INT

158 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 7

40.008425

-83.127272

EPH

114 linear feet

0 linear feet

N/A

100%

Stream 8

40.008403

-83.127339

EPH

61 linear feet

61 linear feet

N/A

100%

Total

2.75 acres