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Posted: 5/26/2015

Expiration date: 6/25/2015

PUBLIC NOTICE for Permit Application

Issue Date: May 26, 2015

Expiration Date: June 25, 2015

US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2013-172

30-Day Notice Oregon Department of State Lands No: 57775-RF

Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in waters of the United States, as described below and shown on the attached plan.

Comments:  Comments on the described work should reference the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) number shown above and reach this office no later than the above expiration date of this Public Notice to become part of the record and be considered in the decision.  Comments should be mailed to the following address:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Ms. Jaimee Davis (jaimee.w.davis@usace.army.mil)
P.O. 2946
Portland, Oregon  97208-2946

Applicant: U.S. Coast Guard – Civil Engineering Unit Oakland
Attention: Dave Stalters
1301 Clay Street, Suite 700N
Oakland, CA 94612-5203

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) 13th District operates a Marine Safety Unit (MSU) for its Portland Sector.  The MSU facility is located at 6767 N. Basin Avenue, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon (Section 17 of Township 1 North, Range 1 East; 45.5708 degrees N, 122.72286 degrees W).  The USCG proposes maintenance dredging of a 0.05-acre portion of the existing berth area for the USCG Cutter Bluebell in the Swan Island Lagoon.  The MSU Facility is located within the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.

The dredged materials from the Bluebell’s berth are proposed for in-water placement at the Morgan Bar reach of the Columbia River, in Multnomah County, Oregon, (Section 11 of Township 2 North, Range 1 West; 45.66535 degrees N, 122.77073 degrees W).

Maintenance dredging of the Bluebell berth is proposed in the Swan Island Lagoon off of the lower Willamette River (River Mile 7.5).  See Figures 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, and 4.

In-water placement of dredged materials is proposed in the active flows of the Columbia River (River Mile 100.50-100.74), near Sauvie Island.  See Figures 1d, 2b, and 3.

Project Description:  The one-time maintenance dredging project in the Swan Island Lagoon (Willamette River, RM 7.5) will result in the removal of up to 1,000 cubic yards (cy) of coarse-grained (sand) sediments from a 0.05 acre-portion of the USCG Cutter Bluebell’s berth to a depth of -12.65’, Columbia River Datum (CRD) (see Figures 6a & 6b).  The landward, 0.05-acre portion of the berth is underlain by existing rip-rap and cannot be easily dredged (see Figures 5a & 5b from its 1974 construction).  The dredged materials will be removed by a barge-mounted close-lipped clamshell bucket, loaded onto a scow barge and transported for in-water placement at river mile 100.5 of the Columbia River (see Figure 1d).  The dredging work is expected to be completed in less than a week, in October 2015.

The sediments to be dredged from the Bluebell berth have been characterized under the 2009 Sediment Evaluation Framework for the Pacific Northwest (SEF).  The Portland Sediment Evaluation Team (PSET) determined on March 25, 2015 that the dredge prism materials are suitable for unconfined, aquatic (in-water) placement based on physical testing, chemical analyses, and bioassay testing conducted in 2013 and 2014.  The berth’s sediments are 3.8% gravel, 86.7% sand, and 8.6% silt/clay (fines).  Post-dredge grab samples will be conducted to determine the quality of the post-dredge surface layer.  If exceedances of screening levels are detected, then a clean sand cover would be placed over the dredged footprint.

No upland work is necessary and no wetland or riparian impacts are expected for this maintenance dredging project.  No alterations to shoaling, erosion, or currents of the rivers at the dredging location or placement location are expected from the proposed project.  The project will convert shallow water habitat to deep water habitat or vice versa.

The maintenance dredging depth is -12.65’ CRD to include one foot of over-depth beyond the operational depth of -11.65’ CRD (see Figure 6b).  The over-depth could accommodate the contingency placement of a 6-inch to 1-foot thick sand cover (<80 cy) if the post-dredge grab samples show there are unacceptable levels of exposure in the new surface material (the surface exposed after dredging).  If necessary, the post-dredge sand cover would be placed from a barge using a bucket.  The clean sand for the contingency sand cover would be acquired from local commercial sources.

The ~1,000 cy of dredged materials from MSU Portland berth will be placed in the Columbia River at the 8.9-acre Morgan Bar placement area (see Figures 7a & 7b).  It is estimated that only one trip to the Morgan Bar placement area will be needed.  The placement of ~1,000 cy of coarse-grained (sand) dredged materials would result in a layer with an average thickness of 0.8 inches over the 8.9-acre Morgan Bar placement area.  The discharged dredged materials are expected to be rapidly incorporated in the ambient bedload of the Columbia River due to continuous river currents.  The dredged materials are expected to migrate downstream as part of the sand wave formations along the bed of the river in this reach.  No permanent affects to water quality or the aquatic ecosystem are expected in the Columbia River from the discharge of suitable dredged materials.

The following methods will be employed to avoid and reduce effects to the aquatic environment and aquatic life:

• No man-made debris (metal, wood, trash) from the dredge area will be placed back in water.  All man-made debris will be disposed of at a municipal landfill.
• Dredging and placement will be conducted from a barge to avoid land-based activities that could affect riparian or wetland communities.
• Dredging will be completed with a close-lipped environmental bucket to minimize generation of turbidity and increase precision and control of dredging depth.
• In the riprap area, dredging may remove accumulated sediment over the riprap but would not remove the rock.  
• Dredging and placement operations would cease if oil sheens or other indicators of contamination were observed.  
• Turbidity would be monitored downstream of the dredging and placement areas as required in the Oregon DEQ 401 Water Quality Certification and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biological opinion (BiOp).
• Once Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation is complete, the USCG will incorporate the BiOp terms and conditions to avoid and minimize effects to listed species and their habitats.

Mitigation: The applicant has not proposed a compensatory mitigation plan because no permanent impacts to waters of the United States are expected from the proposed maintenance dredging work or in-water placement of dredged materials.  No permanent impacts to aquatic functions or values are expected to maintain the berth for the Bluebell.  The maintenance dredging of the berth, and subsequent aquatic placement of dredged materials, will not convert shallow water habitats to deep water habitats.  No deepening of the berth, change in mission operations, or expansion of the facility is proposed.

Temporary effects to water quality, aquatic organisms, and aquatic habitats will be avoided or minimized by reducing the scale of the project, the timing of the project, type of equipment utilized, best management practices implemented during the operation, and the selection of the aquatic placement site.

If a permit is issued, the Corps will determine what is appropriate and practicable compensatory mitigation.  The amount of compensatory mitigation required shall be commensurate with the anticipated impacts of the project.

Purpose:  The project purpose is to maintain a safe and functional operational berth depth for Bluebell. 

Drawing(s):  Fourteen (14) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2013-172.

Additional Information:  Additional information may be obtained from Ms. Jaimee Davis, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (503) 808-4390, or by E-mail (jaimee.w.davis@usace.army.mil).

Authority:  This permit will be issued or denied under the following:

Section 10, Rivers and Harbors Act 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), for work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States.

Section 404, Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), for discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.

Water Quality Certification:  A permit for the described work will not be issued until certification, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (P.L. 95 217), has been received or is waived from the certifying state.  Attached is the state's notice advertising the request for certification.

Section 404(b)(1) Evaluation:  The impact of the activity on the public interest will be evaluated in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.

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.

Endangered Species:  Preliminary determinations indicate that the described activity may affect an endangered or threatened species or its critical habitat.  Consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (87 Stat. 844) will be initiated.  A permit for the proposed activity will not be issued until the consultation process is completed.

Cultural Resources:  An initial evaluation of the proposed project area indicates that the described activity is not located on property registered or eligible for registration in the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places. The permit area has been so extensively modified by modern development that little likelihood exists for the proposed project to affect an undisturbed historic property or any other type of cultural resource.  The USCG is the lead federal agency for the project and is coordinating the proposed project with federally-recognized tribes and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

This notice has been provided to the Oregon SHPO, interested Native American Indian Tribes, and other interested parties.  If you have information pertaining to cultural resources within the permit area, please provide this information to the Corps’ project manager (identified on page 1 of this notice) to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.

Evaluation:  The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the described 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 described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors, which may be relevant to the described activity 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, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

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.  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.

Additional Requirements:  State law requires that leases, easements, or permits be obtained for certain works or activity in the described waters.  These State requirements must be met where applicable, and a Department of the Army permit must be obtained before any work within the applicable Statutory Authority previously indicated may be accomplished.  Other local governmental agencies may also have ordinances or requirements, which must be satisfied before the work is accomplished.

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