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NWP-2007-999-1 Proposal to reissue a Regional General Permit for Aquatic Habitat Restoration

Posted: 5/9/2014

Expiration date: 6/9/2014


For additional information contact:

Judy Linton, Regulatory Project Manager

Portland District, Regulatory Branch                                                                   Issue Date: May 9, 2014

Telephone: 503-808-4382                                                                          Expiration Date: June 9, 2014

judy.l.linton@usace.army.mil                                 US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2007-999-1

                                                                                          

Interested parties are hereby notified that in accordance with 33 CFR 325.3(b) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District has received an application requesting reissuance of a Regional General Permit authorizing the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to conduct aquatic habitat restoration activities within the state of Oregon. The Corps will review the request pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).

 

PURPOSE: The purpose of the RGP is to expedite the authorization of recurring activities that are similar in nature and have minor individual and cumulative adverse impact on the aquatic environment. Use of the RGP is intended to reduce the amount of paperwork and time required to authorize qualifying projects by making available for use an already issued Department of the Army general permit that includes a concluded Endangered Species Act and Essential Fish Habitat consultation, Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality water quality certification, and Coastal Zone Management consistency concurrence. The USFS and BLM have indicated this time savings allow them to focus more resources on additional planning, partnership development, project implementation, and monitoring of aquatic restoration projects.

 

PROJECT LOCATION: Projects will occur on USFS or BLM administered lands within the state of Oregon. Projects may also occur on non-federal lands when such projects directly assist the USFS and/or BLM in achieving their aquatic restoration goals and are funded in part by the USFS and BLM. The USFS and BLM are permitted to fund such projects under Wyden Amendment authority (16 U.S.C. 1011(a), as amended by Section 136 of PL 105-277).

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The BLM and USFS propose to implement projects under 11 aquatic restoration activity categories as listed below that will be conducted below the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of waters of the United States. These restoration activities will maintain, enhance, and/or restore watershed functions to benefit fish species, other aquatic organisms, water quality, riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands. The proposed activities are commonly implemented on BLM and USFS administered lands, predictable as to their effects, consistent with broad scale aquatic conservation strategies, and the best available science. The 11 categories are as follows:


 

  1. Fish Passage Restoration

    1. Stream simulation culvert and bridge projects
    2. Headcut and grade stabilization; fish ladders
  2. Large wood, boulder and gravel placement

    1. Large wood and boulder projects
    2. Porous boulder weirs and veins
    3. Gravel augmentation
  3. Legacy structure removal

  4. Off- and side-channel habitat restoration

  5. Streambank restoration

  6. Set-back or removal of existing berms, dikes, and levees along floodplains, freshwater deltas and estuaries

  7. Reduction/relocation of recreation Impacts

  8. Livestock fencing, stream crossings and off-channel livestock watering

  9. Road and trail erosion control and decommissioning

  10. Juniper removal

  11. Riparian vegetative planting

Attached to this public notice is a detailed description of the activity categories proposed to be included within this RGP, and their associated project design criteria.

 

The BLM and USFS propose to conduct no more than 170 projects each year. An individual project is defined for each of the 11 activity categories in the attached document. For each individual project proposed to be implemented under this RGP, the USFS and BLM will notify the Corps 60 days prior to the proposed start date. Notification will include project location, projected start and completion dates, activity type, and brief project description. Final details of the notification process will be developed as part of the evaluation process of this RGP.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The current RGP was issued in June 2009 and authorized 13 activity categories. The RGP contains provisions intended to protect the environment, endangered species, cultural resources, and to ensure the work is not contrary to the public interest. The RGP originally was set to expire December 31, 2012, but was extended twice to give the Corps and Oregon Department of State Lands sufficient time to evaluate the potential for permit reissuance, and to conduct compliance monitoring on specific actions authorized under this permit. DSL has a comparable state General Permit and is currently evaluating the potential to reissue that permit. Both the current RGP and state GP will expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Information regarding the Corps’ provisional determination that the proposed activities comply with the requirements for issuance of a RGP is available at the Portland District (see contact information above).

 

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: Portland District is requesting certification of this RGP under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (P.L. 95‑217). Attached is the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality public notice advertising the request for certification.

 

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: By letter dated June 9, 2009, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development concurred that the activities authorized by the current RGP-4 are consistent with the Oregon Coastal Management Program to the maximum extent practicable with the addition of project-specific conditions. The Corps has determined there have been no changes to the activities proposed by the USFS/BLM for the requested reauthorization of RGP-4 that would affect any coastal resource substantially different than originally described. Therefore, the Corps believes the June 2009 concurrence still applies and is requesting DLCD confirm this determination.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The USFS and BLM have received biological opinions from both the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the aquatic habitat restoration activities proposed for inclusion within this RGP.

 

·      NOAA Biological Opinion: Endangered Species Act – Section 7 Programmatic Consultation Conference and Biological Opinion and Magnuson-Stevens Act Essential Fish Habitat Response for Reinitiation of Aquatic Restoration Activities in the States of Oregon and Washington (ARBO II). NMFS Consultation Number: NWR-2013-9664 issued April 25, 2013.

 

·      USFWS Biological Opinion: Endangered Species Act—Section 7 Consultation Programmatic Biological Opinion for Aquatic Restoration Activities in the States of Oregon, Washington, and portions of California, Idaho, and Nevada (ARBO II) [FWS reference: 01EOFW00-2013-F-0090] issued July 1, 2013.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The USFS and BLM will be required to ensure compliance with all cultural resource laws and regulations for each project proposed for authorization under this RGP. Such review will occur as part of their evaluation process under the National Environmental Policy Act. The USFS and BLM will also coordinate with the appropriate Native American Tribes and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office to ensure proposed projects will not impact such things as cultural resources, treaty fishing access sites, usual and accustomed areas, burial sites, or Traditional Cultural Properties.

PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request in writing within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings shall state with particularity the reasons for holding a public hearing.

EVALUATION: The ultimate decision whether to reissue the RGP will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the described activities 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 described activities must be balanced against their reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the described activities, will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among 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, prime and unique farmland, noise, air quality, National parks, seashores, wilderness, research, etc., traffic/transportation patterns, recreational/commercial fisheries, listed species, mixing zone, baseflow, aquifer recharge, substrate, currents, circulation, drainage patterns, suspended particulates and turbidity, contaminants, and the needs and welfare of the people.

 

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the activities proposed to be authorized by this RGP. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers in its decision on whether the RGP should be reissued. Comments received by the Corps during the development of the RGP will be considered in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments will also be used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activities.

 

The evaluation of the likely impact of the proposed RGP on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. This evaluation will include an alternatives analysis.

 

COMMENTS: Comments on the proposed RGP should reference the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers number shown above and should reach this office no later than the expiration date of this public notice  to become part of the record and to be considered in the decision. Comments should be mailed to the following address:

 

            U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District

            Regulatory Branch

            Attn: CENWP-OD-G (Judy Linton)

            P.O. Box 2946

            Portland, OR  97208-2946

 

Comments may also be sent by e-mail to: judy.l.linton@usace.army.mil

BLM habitat restoration public notice Regional General Permit regulatory reissue RGP USFS