TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army Permit 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 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, referred to as BUT-177-10.48, PID 75686, is located along the northeast side of Ohio State Route (SR) 177, also known as Hamilton-Richmond Road, between Somerville Road to the south and Earhart Road to the north in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio. Termini of the proposed project are as follows:
North terminus: Latitude 39.55898 North and Longitude 84.68767 West
South terminus: Latitude 39.54868 North and Longitude 84.67504 West
Waters of the United States (U.S.) in the project area include Darrs Run, which has perennial flow, and an unnamed tributary to Darrs Run (Stream 2), which has ephemeral flow. Both streams are indirect tributaries to the Great Miami River, a traditional navigable water (TNW).
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The applicant has indicated Darrs Run has eroded the northbound shoulder of SR 177. To correct this erosion issue, the applicant proposes to widen the northbound shoulder and relocate Darrs Run approximately 15-20 feet to the northeast. In conjunction with the relocation of Darrs Run, three culverts would be replaced (including one for Stream 2), two new culverts would be installed, and one culvert to remain would have rock channel protection installed for erosion control. One culvert replacement would occur at the southern project terminus, separate from the relocation of Darrs Run.
To complete the proposed project, the applicant proposes to discharge approximately 1,500 cubic yards of fill material into approximately 4,085 linear feet (0.89-acre) of Darrs Run, and 1 cubic yard of fill material into 65 linear feet (0.01-acre) of Stream 2. The proposed discharges are summarized in the attached Table 1. Plans of the proposal are attached to this Public 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 4,200 lf of perennial stream and 75 linear feet of ephemeral stream subject to Section 404 Clean Water Act regulation are present within the proposed project area.
According to the applicant, the discharge of fill material into Darrs Run is unavoidable, given it flows parallel to SR 177 within the project area. The applicant has evaluated the construction of a retaining wall on the northeast side of SR 177. Implementation of this design would reduce the discharge length into Darrs Run from 4,085 linear feet to 3,939 linear feet. Discharges into Stream 2 under this alternative would remain unchanged. The applicant determined use of a retaining wall in the project is cost prohibitive and would not substantially reduce the length of stream fill. The applicant has also presented a “no-build” alternative that would not result in a discharge into waters of the U.S. However, the applicant has indicated this option would not meet the project purpose and need. A complete copy of the alternatives analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the location described at the beginning of the notice.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: To compensate for the discharge of fill material into 4,150 linear feet of stream, the applicant proposes to deduct 6,225 linear feet of stream preservation credit at the Great Miami/Lost Creek Pooled Mitigation Area in the Lower Great Miami River Watershed in Miami County, Ohio. The Miami Conservancy District is responsible for long-term management of the conservation easements at this mitigation area, which include 100-foot wide riparian buffers.
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 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 endangered (E), proposed endangered (PE), or threatened (T) species:
Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E)
Rayed bean mussel (Villosa fabalis) (E)
Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (PE)
The FHWA is responsible for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. On behalf of FHWA, the applicant determined the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Indiana bat. By letter dated March 12, 2009, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with this determination. The applicant has agreed to conduct tree cutting operations during the Indiana bat’s hibernation period (prior to April 1 and after September 30). Additional information is required before the Corps can determine the effects of the project on the rayed bean mussel and northern long-eared bat.
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-2009-00223-GMR
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 Brett Latta of the South/Transportation Branch, at (614) 692-4654, by mail at the above address, or by email at Brett.C.Latta@usace.army.mil.