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 is located along State Route (SR) 57 between Interstate 80 (I-80) to the south, and Beechwood Drive to the north, with a center coordinate of 41.400 north latitude, 82.117 west longitude, in the City of Elyria and Elyria Township, Lorain County, Ohio. Waters of the United States (U.S.) within the project area include three unnamed tributaries to the Black River, a traditional navigable water (TNW), and three wetlands.
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to discharge fill material into waters of the U.S. to facilitate the widening of SR 57 to six lanes between I-80 and I-90, modification of the I-90 interchange, removal of the 49th Street overpass, and modification of the local road network/frontage roads in the Griswold Road/Midway Boulevard intersection areas. The applicant has indicated permanent and temporary discharges of fill would be necessary in Stream 1, Wetland F, and Wetland M to construct culvert extensions, construct roadway a embankment, grading activities, and construction access.
The applicant seeks authorization for their Minimal Degradation Alternative. Under the Minimal Degradation Alternative, the applicant proposes to discharge fill material into 596 linear feet of perennial Stream 1 and 0.214 acre of Wetlands F and M. Permanent discharges of fill material into waters of the U.S. for this project would result from the construction of a roadway embankment, a culvert extension, and grading activities. Stream 1 would be relocated 50 feet to the west and natural stream design techniques would be incorporated into the relocation design. Temporary discharges of fill material would result from construction of temporary access areas. See the attached Tables 1 and 2 for a summary of discharges. Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice.
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 alternatives 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 Minimal Degradation Alternative is described above. Under the Preferred Alternative, 798 linear feet of Stream 1 would be placed into a culvert between the I-80 Ramp 8A and the proposed culvert extension under SR 57. All other discharges of fill material into waters of the U.S. would be the same as described under the Minimal Degradation 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 5,850 linear feet of perennial stream, 1,580 feet of intermittent stream, 0.66 acre of wetland subject to Section 404 Clean Water Act regulation exist within the proposed project area. Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal. According to the applicant and as described above, alternative plans were considered.
The initial project design involved placing 798 linear feet of Stream 1 into a culvert. The design was modified to minimize the discharge of fill material into Stream 1 by relocating it to the west and constructing 180 feet of retaining wall to avoid 146 linear feet of the stream. The applicant determined changes to the Minimal Degradation Alternative location, such as an alignment shift or changes in the overall project design, were not feasible or practicable since: 1) the project is located in an area with substantial existing infrastructure and additional alignment shifts would require additional right of way acquisition and higher construction costs, 2) some of the streams in the project area cross the SR 57 corridor in a southwest to northeast orientation, and therefore an alignment shift would not reduce stream fills, and 3) the current Minimal Degradation Alternative is located almost entirely within existing right-of-way.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: To compensate for the permanent discharge of fill material into 596 feet of stream and 0.214 acre of wetland, the applicant proposes to deduct 888 linear feet of stream mitigation credit and 0.856 acre of wetland mitigation credit from ODOT’s SUM-8 Pond Brook Pooled Mitigation Area in Summit 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 determined no historic properties would be affected by the proposed project. 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), proposed endangered (PE), or endangered (E) species:
· Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E)
· Kirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) (E)
· Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) (E)
· Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (PE)
· Rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) (PT)
FHWA is responsible for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On behalf of FHWA, the applicant determined the project would have no effect on the Indiana bat, Kirtland’s warbler, or piping plover. In an email dated January 11, 2013 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) did not offer any species-specific comments. No information was provided for the northern long-eared bat or rufa red knot. Additional information is required before the Corps can determine the effects of the project on these species.
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-2012-00918-BLA
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.