Public Notices

Draft EA: Dredge Material Placement Network Modifications

Published Aug. 7, 2015
Draft Environmental Assessment for Dredge Material Placement Network Modifications: Rice Island shoreline placement and Howard Island in-water dredged material re-handling site


30 Day Notice Issue Date: August 7, 2015

Expiration Date: September 7, 2015

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 Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel Operations and Maintenance Dredging and Dredged Material Placement Network Update: Rice Island Shoreline Placement and Howard Island In-Water Dredged Material Rehandling Site (Sump) (EA). The Corps proposes to add shoreline placement on the eastern end of Rice Island (River Mile 22) to the current network of placement sites/activities for managing dredged material along the Columbia River. The Corps would also dredge an in-water dredged material rehandling site off Howard Island on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel between river miles 68 and 69.  

Shoreline placement on the eastern end of Rice Island would rebuild and protect the existing upland placement site and allow development of a forage area for streaked horned larks, which were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2013.  A sump is required near Howard Island upland placement site because shoaling is consistently forming beyond the reach of the pipeline dredge to pump material directly from the shoals to the upland site.  Adding a sump would maximize efficiency of material placement at the existing Howard Island upland placement site. 

Environmental Document:  The draft document for the proposed activity is available for public review and comment on the Corps’ Web site: 

Agency Coordination: 
The Corps coordinated the proposed activity 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. 

Cultural Resources Consideration 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 within a project area; whether the ground is disturbed by previous land use activities and the extent of the disturbance; reviewing listings of known archeological or historic 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 has made a determination of no potential to effect for the proposed action following these findings and recommendations. The following Tribes having an interest in the project area were notified of the project in a letter dated June 3, 2015:

• Confederated Tribes of Siletz
• Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde
• Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
• Cowlitz Indian Tribe
• Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
• Nez Perce Tribe
• Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation

Water Quality Certifications:
Operations and Maintenance of the Columbia River dredge material placement network is currently covered by DOE Water Quality Certification (WQC) Order #9765 and DEQ WQC File Number NWPOP-CLA-F05-001-FR. The Corps submitted a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application to Washington DOE (May 22, 2015) and on July 15, 2015, DOE amended WQC Order #9765 to include shoreline placement activity at Rice Island. The Corps also submitted a Joint Permit Application to Oregon DEQ (May 27, 2015) for use of the sump off Howard Island. DEQ published a 30-day Public Notice of receipt of the Corps’ application on July 31, 2015. The Corps anticipates receiving the WQC for Howard Island sump in early September 2015. 

Coastal Zone Management:
Only the Rice Island shoreline placement activities would occur within the coastal zone of Washington state. The Corps submitted a request for a Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination to DOE on May 21, 2015, for use of the Rice Island shoreline placement site. The Corps has determined actions analyzed within this EA are in compliance with CZMA to the maximum extent practicable. DOE did not respond to the Corps CZMA determination within the 60-day review period; therefore, concurrence is presumed. 

Endangered Species Act Consultations:
The anticipated effects of the proposed action analyzed in the subject EA are not different from other Columbia River Operations and Maintenance activities included in the 2010 USFWS Biological Opinion for bull trout, the 2014 USFWS Biological Opinion for streaked horned larks, and the 2012 NMFS Biological Opinion for Columbia River Operations and Maintenance Program; therefore, the species effects determinations in those opinions remain unchanged.  NMFS concurred with this determination on July 16, 2015. The USFWS concurred with this determination on May 4, 2015.

Project Area Maps:
See related link

Public Hearing:
Any person who has an interest, which may be affected by the disposal of the subject dredge material 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. Kate Michie, (503) 808-4664,, or at the address below. Mailed comments must be postmarked by the above closing date and sent to:
District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland
Attn:  CENWP-PM-E/Kate Miche
P.O. Box 2946, Portland, Oregon  97208-2946

In your response, please refer to the above public notice number (CENWP-PM-E-15-05), title, and date. A “no comment” response will be assumed if no response is received prior to or postmarked by the above expiration date.