PUBLIC NOTICE: The purpose of this Public Notice is to inform you of a proposal for work in which you might be interested. It is also to solicit your comments and information to better enable us to make a reasonable decision on factors affecting the public interest. We hope you will participate in this process.
REGULATORY PROGRAM: Since its early history, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has played an important role in the development of the nation's water resources. Originally, this involved construction of harbor fortifications and coastal defenses. Later duties included the improvement of waterways to provide avenues of commerce .. An important part of our mission today is the protection of the nation's waterways through the administration of the Corps Regulatory Program.
SECTION 10: The Corps is directed by Congress under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC 403) to regulate all work or structures in or affecting the course, condition or capacity of navigable waters of the United States (U.S.). The intent of this law is to protect the navigable capacity of waters important to interstate commerce.
SECTION 404: The Corps is directed by Congress under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344) to regulate the discharge of dredged and fill material into all waters of the U.S., including . wetlands. The intent of the law is to protect the nation's waters from the indiscriminate discharge of material capable of causing pollution and to restore and maintain their chemical, physical and biological integrity.
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. This notice serves as the 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 Public Port Authority
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Building Five, Room 125
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0430
LOCATION: The proposed project is located in Mill Fall Branch, an unnamed tributary of the Big Sandy River and four associated wetlands, in Wayne County, West Virginia. The proposed Prichard Intermodal Facility project is located at Latitude 38.233 and Longitude -82.609 as shown on Drawings 1 and 2.
DESCRIPTION: The applicant has requested authorization to discharge fill material in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with the construction of an intermodal facility at Prichard, West Virginia. The proposed project is a component of the national Heartland Corridor Clearance project. The Heartland Corridor would provide double-stack clearance along railroad lines from Roanoke, Virginia to Columbus, Ohio. Construction of the Prichard Intermodal Facility would involve the placement of fill material onto an approximately 78 acre project site to create a level pad for the facility. Activities would include the permanent discharge offill material associated with the installation of a culvert in Mill Fall Branch (225 linear feet) for site access, piping of an unnamed tributary of Big Sandy River (3,350 linear feet) underneath the site, and filling four emergent wetlands (1. 77 acres) (Drawings 2 through 7). A total of 709 cubic yards of fill material would be discharged into Mill Fall Branch and the unnamed tributary of the Big Sandy River.
A temporary dewatering sump pit would be utilized to facilitate construction of the project (Drawing 8). The temporary sump pit would require the discharge of fill material into the unnamed tributary of the Big Sandy River for 130 linear feet. To facilitate construction of the box culvert, cofferdams would be utilized and would result in approximately 300 cubic yards of material temporarily being discharged into 50 linear feet of Mill Fall Branch. After construction, all temporary fill material would be removed and the streams and/or wetlands returned to approximate original contours. The attached Table 1 details the proposed activities and associated permanent and temporary impacts due to the proposed project.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead federal agency for the Prichard Intermodal Facility project. An Environmental Assessment (EA) dated September 2011 was prepared and approved by the West Virginia Department of Transportation/West Virginia Public Port Authority/ Division of Highways and the FHW A. A subsequent Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed January 2012.
AVOIDANCE and MINIMIZATION: The applicant has committed to avoiding impacts to waters of the U.S. where possible. However, when avoidance is not practicable, best management practices (BMPs) for would be employed. Turbidity and sedimentation from surface water runoff and erosion would be minimized through the use of various sediment and erosion control features. The alternatives have been developed to minimize construction within waters of the U.S. to the maximum extent possible. The applicant states the proposed roadway improvements should not severely impact the stability of the wetland resources in the study area.
ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS: A site alternative analysis comparing.six different potential locations for the facility was conducted as part of an economic market analysis. The Prichard location ranked first or second for the six parameters including highway access, rail access, site characteristics, utility infrastructure, compatible land use, and environmental constraints.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: To compensate for permanent impacts to waters of the U.S., the applicant proposes to make payment to the West Virginia In-Lieu Fee Program. Based on the current In-Lieu Fee costs generated by the West Virginia Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric the applicant proposes to pay $1,453,775 for impacts to the unnamed tributary of Big Sandy River. To mitigate for impacts to four wetlands the applicant proposes to pay $212,400 to the In Lieu Fee Program. The total payment for the Prichard Intermodal Facility would be $1,666,175. To compensate for impacts to Mill Fall Branch the applicant has proposed countersinking of the culvert to allow for natural channel bottom development. The culvert would be designed and sized to accommodate bankfull flow. All temporary fill material would be removed from the impacted waters and returned to approximate original contours.
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 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Norfolk Southern Railway Company rail line adjacent to the project area has been determined to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Federal Highway Administration is the lead Federal agency for the project and therefore, has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. A copy of this Public Notice will be sent to the State Historic Preservation Offices for their review. Comments concerning archeological sensitivity of a project area should be based, upon collected data.
ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES: The Huntington District has consulted the most recently available information and has determined the project is not likely to 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 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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 COMMENT: Any person who has an interest that may be adversely affected by the issuance of a permit may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer on or before the expiration date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected by the activity.
Interested parties are invited to state any objections they may have to the proposed work. The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact 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 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; 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. In addition, the evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. 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.
The Corps of Engineers 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. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers 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 environniental 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.
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. 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 Sarah Workman, Project Manager, South/Transportation Branch, CELRH-RD-S, USACE Huntington District, 502 Eighth Street, Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070. Please note names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, are 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 the above, please contact Sarah Workman of the South/Transportation Branch at (304) 399-5710.