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LRH 2010-082-TUS

Published Dec. 30, 2015
Expiration date: 1/29/2016

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 United States (U.S) Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) request to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) to act on Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following application. 

APPLICANT:            Oxford Mining Company, LLC.

                                   Post Office Box 427

                                   Coshocton, Ohio 43812

LOCATION: As depicted on the attached Location Map (Sheet 1 of 4), the proposed project would be located in unnamed tributaries to Stillwater Creek, approximately one mile northwest of Stillwater in the Rush Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  Specifically, the proposed project area would be situated at latitude 40.32891° North, longitude 81.32871° West on the Tippecanoe 7.5-minute quadrangle (Sheets 1 and 2 of 4). 

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The applicant has requested a DA authorization to discharge dredged and/or fill material into a total of 960 linear feet (lf) of unnamed tributaries to Stillwater Creek associated with the construction, operation and reclamation of the Besozzi Mine Area (application 10527).  The discharge of dredged and/or fill material would be required to accomplish the coal extraction (surface and auger methods) of the bituminous coal from the Middle Kittanning #6 and Lower Kittanning #5 coal seams, and the construction of temporary stream crossings, sediment ponds, diversion ditches, and haul roads.  The proposed mining operation has an expected life of five years.

Table 1 below provides a summary of the proposed discharges of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. associated with the proposed project.  Plans for the proposed project are attached to this notice (Sheet 4 of 4).  The attached Sheet 3 (of 4) provides a delineation map of the aquatic resources in the proposed project area.  The attached Mining Plan Map (Sheet 4 of 4) shows the plan view of the proposed project. 

 

Stream ID

Flow Regime

Jurisdictional?

Length of Impact

Type Of Impact

Perennial Stream Impacts

Stream 5

Perennial

Yes

221

Haul Road/ Culverting

TOTALS

221

 

Intermittent Stream Impacts

Stream 1

Intermittent

Yes

111

Mine Through

TOTALS

111

 

Ephemeral Stream Impacts

Stream 3

Ephemeral

Yes

579

Mine Through

Stream 4

Ephemeral

Yes

49

Mine Through

TOTALS

628

 

*Total Impacts to Jurisdictional Streams

960

 

The applicant's Section 404 permit application, including the compensatory mitigation plan and alternative analysis, is available for public review in the Corps' Regulatory office, by appointment. The Besozzi Mine Area (application 10527) is currently being reviewed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management pursuant to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS: A total of 221 lf of perennial stream, 111 lf of intermittent stream and 628 linear feet of ephemeral streams would be impacted as a result of the discharge of dredged and/or fill material associated with the proposed mining operation.  The applicant has submitted an alternatives analysis for review.  The applicant has developed three alternatives (preferred, minimal, and no-impact) analyzing how the mining operation, as well as the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into streams, could be conducted in order to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources.  The alternative must fulfill the applicant’s overall project purpose. 

The applicant’s preferred alternative would result in the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 221 lf of perennial stream, 111 lf of intermittent streams, 628 lf of ephemeral streams, and would not result in discharges into wetlands. The minimal alternative would result in the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 221 lf of perennial stream, 111 lf of intermittent streams, and would not result in discharges into ephemeral streams or to wetlands. The no-impact alternative would not involve discharges of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. 

The applicant has indicated the preferred alternative that is described in the “DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED WORK” section (above), is the most practicable alternative with respect to cost, logistics, and existing technology.  A complete copy of the applicant’s alternatives analysis can be reviewed by appointment in the Huntington District’s Regulatory Office.  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 U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S.  If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, then the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. must be minimized.  Approximately 6,228 lf of jurisdictional streams and 0.74 acre of jurisdictional wetlands are located within the proposed project area. 

Avoidance and minimization efforts were incorporated into the proposal.  The applicant has indicated that there is no practicable alternative for the proposed project that completely avoids the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. and will meet the overall project purpose. After reviewing the location of the streams and the wetlands in the project area in relation to the location of the coal reserves, the applicant revised the permit area to avoid impacts to approximately 5,268 lf of streams (84.6%) and 0.74 acre of wetlands (100 %).  The applicant would utilize best management practices to protect water quality during mining and after the project is completed following the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. The applicant proposes to use sediment control structures to prevent the contribution of solids to streams located downstream of the project. During construction, the temporary sediment control structures may include temporary silt basins, ditches, straw/hay bale fencing, and cloth filter fences. Measures proposed to be taken to control drainage around, over and through the mining operation would include the construction of sediment ditches, diversion ditches, culverts, flumes, and drains. Timely construction and maintenance of sediment control structures combined with concurrent reclamation and revegetation of disturbed areas would also minimize any downstream sediment impacts.

 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN: The applicant has provided a conceptual Compensatory Mitigation Plan (CMP) to compensate for the unavoidable discharges of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. The applicant proposes on-site permittee responsible mitigation to restore 960 lf of streams in their approximate original location using natural stream channel design techniques.  Riparian buffers would be established and revegetated and the entire site would be reclaimed to a mix of grazing land, pasture land, and crop land. The applicant proposes to commence the compensatory mitigation activities approximately one year after site reclamation.  The applicant proposes to provide long-term protection of the mitigation areas with an environmental covenant.  The permittee-responsible mitigation site would be monitored by the applicant for a minimum of five years.

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 OEPA.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: This project must be reviewed to determine any potential effects to properties that may be eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has conducted an archaeological review of the project area and determined that there are no sites listed on the NRHP in the vicinity of the project area.  Based upon our review of the submitted Phase I archaeological survey and/or architectural survey, there are no historic properties eligible for listing on the NRHP within or adjacent to the project site.  This Public Notice serves as a request to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) concerning any properties that may be eligible for or listed  on the NRHP.  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based on collected data.  It is requested the SHPO provide any information they may have to the Corps by the close of the public comment period.

ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES REVIEW: The project is located within the known or historic range of the following federally-protected species:  the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis).  The applicant has indicated that there are no cave or mine portals on-site, and approximately 65.5 acres of suitable summer habitat for the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat are present on the proposed project area.  In order to facilitate the construction of the proposed project, approximately 18.4 acres of forested habitat would be cleared.   The applicant has provided a protection and enhancement plan to minimize and mitigate the potential effects to these aforementioned bat species.  The applicant has agreed to conduct tree clearing operations prior to April 1 and September 30 and to perform tree planting and other bat habitat enhancement activities.  We have determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect either the Indiana bat or the northern long-eared bat. 

Based on this information, the proposed project is not likely to adversely 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 for concurrence from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).

 

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 230).  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. The 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; 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.

The project lies within the Town of Uhrichsville-Stillwater Creek watershed (Hydrologic Unit Code 050400011604).  The Corps is assessing the potential cumulative effects that the proposed project may have on public interest factors when considered with other activities in the watershed.  The Corps will review past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions within the subject watershed in the consideration of potential cumulative effects.

 

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, a public hearing be held.  Requests for a public hearing 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 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.

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

ATTN: CELRH-RD-E Public Notice No. LRH-2010-00082-TUS

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 call Adam Fannin of the Energy Resource Branch at (304) 399-6901.