TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army Permit under the provisions of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This notice serves as the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) request to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to act on Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following application.
APPLICANT: Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
1980 West Broad Street, Mail Stop 4170
Columbus, Ohio 43223
LOCATION: The proposed project is located along Interstate 270 (I-270) between and including the I-270/State Route (SR) 315 interchange to the west and U.S. Route 23 (US 23) interchange to the east with a center coordinate of 40.112 north latitude, 83.029 west longitude in the cities of Columbus and Worthington, Franklin County, Ohio. Waters of the United States (U.S.) within the project area include the Olentangy River, a traditional navigable water (TNW), nine direct and indirect tributaries to the Olentangy River, and three jurisdictional wetlands.
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to discharge fill material into waters of the U.S. to facilitate the construction of Phases C and D of the multi-phased North Central Outerbelt project. The applicant indicated permanent and temporary discharges of fill would be necessary in Stream 8 (Wilson Run) to remove an existing bridge and replace it with a three-sided culvert; in the Olentangy River to construct a temporary work pad, relocate a culvert, construct bridge piers, and place rock channel protection; in Stream 9B to extend a culvert, relocate a culvert, and relocate the stream channel; in Stream 15 to grade the stream channel and construct a temporary sediment basin; and in Ditch 10 to re-grade the ditch. See the attached Table 1 for a summary of discharges. Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice.
The applicant seeks authorization for their Preferred Alternative. Under the Preferred Alternative, the applicant proposes to discharge of fill material into 2,234 linear feet of three perennial streams, 927 linear feet of one intermittent stream, and 0.132 acre of one jurisdictional ditch. The proposed discharges of fill material under the Preferred Alternative include the temporary discharge of fill material into 872 linear feet of three perennial streams, 192 linear feet of one intermittent stream, and 0.004 acre of one jurisdictional ditch. Permanent impacts from the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. for this project would result from the construction or installation of bridges, culverts, rock channel protection; and stream relocation. Temporary impacts from the discharge of fill material would result from construction access fills, dewatering, and installation of a temporary sediment basin.
ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS: The applicant is required to show that no other less damaging practicable alternatives, which do not require the discharge of fill material into special aquatic sites, are available that would achieve the overall project purpose. No permit will be issued until the alternative analysis clearly shows that practicable alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.
The applicant has submitted an alternatives analysis for review. The alternatives include a Preferred Alternative, a Minimal Degradation Alternative, and a Non-Degradation Alternative. The Preferred Alternative is described above.
The discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. under the Minimal Degradation Alternative would be reduced from the Preferred Alternative by avoiding approximately 650 linear feet of Steam 9B. This would be accomplished by constructing approximately 820 feet of retaining wall rather than the sloped embankment included in the Preferred Alternative.
The Non-Degradation Alternative is a “no build” alternative. Under the Non-Degradation Alternative, no discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. would occur. The applicant has indicated the Non-Degradation Alternative would not meet the project purpose.
A complete copy of the alternatives analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the location described at the beginning of the notice.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: In evaluating a project area containing waters of the U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding waters of the U.S. If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. must be minimized. A total of approximately 21,157 linear feet of perennial stream, 1,366 linear feet of intermittent stream, 0.46 acre of wetland, and 0.412 acre of jurisdictional ditch subject to Section 404 Clean Water Act regulation exist on the project site. Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal. According to the applicant and described above, alternative plans were considered.
Alternatives to change the project alignment were considered as well as changes in the overall design to further avoid or minimize discharges of fill into waters of the U.S. The applicant determined these alternatives were not feasible or practicable since: 1) shifts in the alignment for this project would require alignment shifts in other North Central Outerbelt project alignments and designs, resulting in discharges of fill into other resources avoided by the current design, 2) some of the aquatic resources in the project area cross the I-270 corridor in a north-south orientation, and therefore alignment shifts would not result in any reduction in the proposed discharge of fill into these resources but would increase the discharge of fill into other features avoided by the current design, and 3) the current Preferred Alternative is located almost entirely within existing US 23, I-270, and SR 315 right-of-way.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: To compensate for the discharge of fill material into 3,161 feet of stream, the applicant proposes to deduct 3,610 linear feet of stream mitigation credit from ODOT’s Panhandle Dam Mitigation Area in Delaware County, Ohio and 1,121 linear feet of stream mitigation credit from ODOT’s Big Darby Pooled Mitigation Site (Minnich property) in Madison County, Ohio.
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 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead Federal agency for this project and is responsible for compliance with the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The applicant has indicated multiple properties eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places are within 500 feet of existing right of way. In 2006, a 4.6 acre tract of additional right of way was investigated for archaeological resources. The applicant determined on behalf of FHWA, the subject undertaking would have no adverse effect on any historic property. In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected and the consultation performed on behalf of FHWA regarding the effects to historic properties.
A copy of this Public Notice will be sent to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office for review. Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of a project area should be based upon collected data.
THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed project is located within the known or historic range of the following proposed threatened (PT), threatened (T), or endangered (E) species:
Rabbitsfoot mussel (Quadrula c. cylindrica) (PT) Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E)
Scioto madtom (Noturus trautmani) (E) Clubshell mussel(Pleurobema clava) (E)
Rayed bean mussel (Villosa fabalis) (E) Snuffbox mussel (Epioblasma triquetra) (E)
Northern riffleshell mussel (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana) (E)
FHWA is responsible for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The applicant determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Indiana bat, clubshell mussel, or rayed bean mussel. In a letter dated February 26, 2006 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) concurred with the determinations and recommended that tree removal only occur between September 15 and April 15. In the letter dated February 26, 2006 USFWS also stated that due to the project type, size, and location, the project should not impact the northern riffleshell mussel and Scioto madtom or their habitats. No information was provided for the rabbitsfoot mussel or snuffbox mussel.
In support of our independent permit decision, the Corps intends to rely upon the information collected by or on behalf of the FHWA and consultation performed by or on behalf of FHWA regarding the effects to threatened or endangered species.
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 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 benefit which 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. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
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.
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:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District
ATTN: CELRH-RD-S-OT Public Notice No. LRH-2006-00124-OLR
Building 10/ Section 10
PO Box 3990
Columbus, OH 43218-3990
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, 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 Tim Long of the South/Transportation Branch, at 614-692-4654, by mail at the above address, or by email at Timothy.M.Long@usace.army.mil.