DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Mouth of the Columbia River
Dredged Material Placement Sites Update
Clatsop County, Oregon and Pacific County, Washington
Issue Date: January 25, 2018
Closing Date: February 24, 2018
30 Day Notice
Interested parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) is seeking public comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Mouth of the Columbia River Dredged Material Placement Sites Update: Clatsop County, Oregon and Pacific County, Washington (EA). The Corps is proposing to add two sites to the network of placement sites for materials dredged from the Mouth of the Columbia River (MCR). The two sites include East Sand Island (ESI) at River Mile 5-7, which would be a shoreline placement site, and a second, in-water site offshore from the North Head Lighthouse (North Head Near Shore [NHNS]), along the Washington coast.
To facilitate shoreline placement at ESI, construction activities would selectively remove pilings and rock structures along the southern shoreline. Shoreline placement would occur in 2018 to address an area of localized erosion that would prevent the island from breaching and periodically in the future regularly supplement the shoreline. Adding the NHNS site would increase operational flexibility in the MCR by adding a nearshore placement site which would help retain sediments in the littoral zone to balance the regional sediment budget.
Environmental Document: The draft document for the proposed activity is available for public review and comment on the Corps’ Web site: http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Media/Announcements.aspx.
Agency Coordination: The Corps coordinated the Proposed Action with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Washington Department of Ecology (DOE), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Assessment of the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement: The Corps has preliminarily determined the proposed action is not likely to result in significant effects on the human environment; therefore, an environmental impact statement was not prepared. A draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is included with the EA for public review.
Cultural Resources and Tribal Consultation: To determine the potential effect of the project on known or unknown historic properties, the following items are analyzed: the nature of the proposed activity and its effect on the landscape; the likelihood that historic properties are present in the action area; whether the ground is disturbed by previous land use activities and the extent of the disturbance; reviewing listings of known historic or archeological site locations, including site data bases and areas previously surveyed or listings of sites on the National Registry of Historic Preservation. The Corps’ professional cultural resources staff is in consultation with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and Tribes with an interest in the action area to determine effects of the proposed action and determine recommendations for adverting potential adverse effects. The following Tribes having an interest in the project area were notified of the project via letter correspondence in November and December 2017:
• Confederated Tribes of Siletz
• Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde
• Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Water Quality Certifications: Operations and maintenance dredging of the MCR is currently covered by Washington DOE Water Quality Certification (WQC) Order #9754 and Oregon DEQ WQC File Number NWPOD-CRA-F06-001-2. The Corps submitted a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application to Washington DOE on November 13, 2017 requesting a new 5-year WQC, including the North Head Nearshore Placement Site. The Corps also submitted a Joint Permit Application to Oregon DEQ in January 2018 for shoreline placement activities at ESI. The Corps is awaiting a response from both agencies to update the WQCs for the Proposed Action.
Coastal Zone Management: The project area at ESI occurs in the Oregon coastal zone and the NHNS site occurs in the Washington coastal zone. The Corps submitted a request for a CZMA consistency determination to DOE in December 2017 and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development in January 2018. The Corps has determined actions analyzed within this EA are consistent with the state’s CZM programs to the maximum extent practicable. The Corps is awaiting a response from both agencies. If no response is received within 60-days of receipt, the Corps presumes the states concur with the consistency determination.
Endangered Species Act Consultations: The Corps is currently in consultation with the USFWS and NOAA Fisheries, as required under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), for the Proposed Action. The Corps prepared a Biological Assessment (BA) that evaluates likely impacts to listed species and critical habitats and determined effects of the Proposed Action May Affect, and would Likely to Adversely Affect for ESA-listed species and critical habitat under the jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and effects May Affect, but would Not Likely Adversely Affect ESA-listed species and critical habitat under the jurisdiction of USFWS.
Project Area Maps:
Figure 1: Proposed ESI placement site and shoreline reconfiguration
Figure 2: NHNS Study Area, the proposed placement site would be a smaller designated area within the boundaries of the study area
Public Hearing: Any person who has an interest, which may be affected by the placement of dredged material at the sites identified above may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the comment period of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest, which may be affected, and the manner in which the interest may be affected by this activity.
Additional Information and Comments: Questions or comments regarding the draft document should be directed to Ms. Kristine Lightner, (503) 808-4748, Kristine.A.Lightner@usace.army.mil, or at the address below. Mailed comments must be postmarked by the above closing date and sent to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland
Attn: CENWP-PM-E/Kristine Lightner
P.O. Box 2946, Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
In your response, please refer to the above public notice number (CENWP-PM-E-18-01), title, and date. A “no comment” response will be assumed if no response is received prior to or postmarked by the close of business on the above expiration date.