Permit Application Public Notices

The United States Congress authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to regulate activities that may impact wetlands and waters of the United States. This authority is granted and defined under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, also known as the Clean Water Act.

Public involvement is a key element of the Corps’ permit review process. During an application review, the Corps considers the views of other federal, state and local agencies, Native American tribes, interest groups, and the general public. The results of this careful public interest review are fair and equitable decisions that allow reasonable use of private property, infrastructure development, and growth of the economy, while offsetting the authorized impacts to the waters of the United States.

Visit our News & Updates webpage for the latest Regulatory Program information.

NWP-2013-288-4

Published Sept. 25, 2020
Expiration date: 10/19/2020

Joint Public Notice 
Application for a Department of the Army Permit and
a Washington Department of Ecology Water Quality Certification

US Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Post Office Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946
Telephone: (503) 808-4383
ATTN: Brad Johnson

Project Manager WA Department of Ecology
SEA Program
Post Office Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6068
ATTN: SEA Program,
Federal Permit Coordinator

Public Notice Date: September 18, 2020
Expiration Date: October 19, 2020
Reference No.: NWP-2013-288-4

Interested parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) have received an application to perform work in waters of the U.S. as described below and shown on the attached plans. The Corps and Ecology are soliciting comments on the proposed work.

The Corps will review the work in accordance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 14 Rivers and Harbors Act 1899. Ecology will review the work pursuant to Section 401 of the CWA, with applicable provisions of State water pollution control laws.

Applicant:  Port of Vancouver
ATTN: Matt Harding
3103 NW Lower River Road
Vancouver, Washington 98660
Email: mharding@portvanusa.com
Telephone: (360) 992-1138 

Location: The proposed project is located in the Columbia River - river miles 100.8 to 106.5 at the Port of Vancouver, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. The coordinates for the center of the Port are: Latitude: 45.635833N° North, Longitude: -122.704722°.

Waterway: The Columbia River: The location of the ordinary high water mark shown on the project drawings have not yet been verified by the Corps. If the Corps determines the boundaries of the waters are substantially inaccurate a new public notice may be published.

Project Purpose: The applicant’s stated purpose is to facilitate the implementation of regular waterfront maintenance activities, on an as-needed basis, pursuant to predictable and uniform permitting requirements. Waterfront maintenance will ensure the integrity of the Port’s structures, safety of personnel, protection of the environment, and continued operation of the terminal facilities. Waterfront maintenance protects the riverbank from scour and erosion, preserving the existing and previously permitted serviceable structures.

Project Description: The applicant proposes to conduct maintenance of shoreline armoring, maintenance to outfalls and tide gates, maintenance to log booms, and geotechnical investigations at the Port of Vancouver waterward of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of the Columbia River. 

Shoreline Armoring: Maintenance to the existing shoreline armoring includes the replacement of riprap. The Port of Vancouver’s riverbanks are protected by approximately 22,500 linear feet of riprap. Existing riprap consists of placed rock or concrete that is used to armor the shoreline or foundations to protect from scour and erosive forces typically caused by river currents, wind, and waves. Riprap along the Port of Vancouver’s shoreline ranges in size from 2- to 5-inch-diameter up to large 60-inch-diameter stones. The project would replace up to 2,250 linear feet per year. Up to 4,000 cubic yards (cy) of clean natural stone or rock would be placed each year above and below the OHWM elevation to maintain the Port’s shoreline. Minor excavation of less than 50 cy would be required to access and repair or replace geotextile fabric or other components of damaged rip-rap embankments. Maintenance to the existing shoreline armoring would not extend beyond the existing footprint. Riprap replacement actions would be conducted during low water when the area is dry to the maximum extent practicable.

Outfalls and Tide Gates: Maintenance to the existing outfalls and tide gates would be conducted at the following locations:

Structure

Location Description

Latitude/Longitude

1

East end of grain dock. Discharges on bank above OHW

45.628411 / -122.690462

2

Located at grain dock. Discharges on bank above OHW

45.630451 / -122.694055

3

Located beneath dock at Terminal 2. Discharges below OHW

45.633251 / -122.700039

4

Located at Terminal 3, Berth 9. Discharges at OHW, concrete splash pad extends below OHW.

45.639205 / -122.711722

 

5

Located downstream of the Terminal 4, Berth 14 dock structure. Discharges below OHW and supported on piles.

45.64372 / -122.723547

6

Located downstream of Terminal 5, Berth 17 dock structure. Discharges below OHW supported on piles.

45.646427 / -122.735182

7

Located at Terminal 5 West. Discharges below OHW supported on piles.

45.64974 / -122.746082

8

Discharges to the flushing channel, 900 feet west of River Road, at OHW. Equipped with flap gates.

45.66847 / -122.747356

9

Located at head of flushing channel. Discharges into Vancouver Lake at OHW. Tide gates located in vault under road surface.

45.669207 / -122.744957


 
Depending upon the type and location of the outfall in need of maintenance, repairs would involve up to 50 cy excavation and replacement of soil and/or rip-rap material, splash pad repairs, pipe repair or replacement, and concrete repairs. Repairs to pile-supported outfalls below the OHWM elevation would include ledger and saddle replacement or repair, pipe joint repair, and pipe replacement. Typical maintenance activities of the flushing channel tide gates include the repair and replacement of corroded and worn parts or the flap gates, so they seal properly. Debris and rock may also collect inside the two 84-inch culverts that impedes flow or impacts tide gate operation. These materials need to be periodically removed. Maintenance of the flushing channel tide gates occurs during low water periods when the area is dry and safe access to the tide gate would occur from the vault that is located adjacent to the roadway.

Log Booms: The Port of Vancouver maintains diversion log booms at two locations that deflect flooding debris from upriver areas away from Port managed structures. One of the log booms protects the Terminal 1 dock from floating debris and is attached on the upstream end of the dock to the shoreline, dolphins, and the dock. This log boom is 200 feet long, anchored at each end, and supported by braced pile clusters. Two other log booms are located within the flushing channel with the purpose of keeping garbage and floating debris away from the inlets to Vancouver Lake. These two floating booms are 100 to 150 feet long and attached to the shoreline on each side of the flushing channel. Log boom maintenance would include replacement of floating logs, chains and other hardware used to connect the log replaced log to the remainder of the log boom. Replacement of logs would be completed by barges and skiffs. Log booms would be constructed of wood logs or closed-end high-density polyethylene pipe. 

Geotechnical Investigations: Geotechnical investigations would be conducted to develop engineering design recommendations and construction guidelines for maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of shoreline armoring as well as docks, dolphins, or stormwater outfalls. These investigations would involve in-water, over-water, or near-shore explorations to characterize the subsurface soil, rock, and groundwater conditions. Explorations would consist of drilled borings, push probes, cone penetration test soundings, hand augers or drive probes, geophysical testing, or other similar activities.

Drilled borings would typically be completed with drill rigs using a hollow-stem auger, mud rotary, or roto-sonic system. Drill rigs would be mounted on rubber-tired trucks or rubber-tracked dozer-like machines or would be positioned on a barge. A tugboat would be used to move the barge into place. Spuds would be used to stabilize the barge. A steel casing would be advanced into the base of the river channel and acts as a sealed conduit to recirculate the drilling mud from the drill bit to the barge surface. During circulation, the drilling mud would pass up through the borehole, casing and into a containment basin, or “mud tub”. Samples are obtained by removing the drill rods and bit through the drilling mud. Excess materials would be placed into 55-gallon steel drum as they are generated and would be disposed of at an approved off-site location.

Cone penetration test (CPT) soundings would consist of a direct-push system that employs hydraulic pushing systems to force instrumented probes into the ground. The hydraulic frames would be mounted on trucks, tracks, and portable setups. The standard CPT penetrometer would have cross-sectional areas of 1.5- to 2.5-inches and contains load cells, pressure transducers, inclinometers, or other sensor devices that measure the response of the ground as the penetrometer is advanced. CPT soundings can be advanced to over 100 feet, depending upon soil/sediment density. No sediment samples or spoils are generated, and no added water or air is used.

Mitigation: The applicant proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by incorporated best management practices for all activities described above. The applicant would conduct the work during low water while the areas are in the dry to maximum extent practicable. The applicant did not propose compensatory mitigation in the permit application. The Corps will determine the type and amount of compensatory mitigation necessary to offset environmental losses from the proposed project.

Drawings: Six (6) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2013-288-4. Copies of this public notice, which have been mailed or otherwise physically distributed, feature project drawings in black and white. The electronic version features those drawings in color, which we think more accurately illustrates the proposed project. To access the electronic version of this public notice, go to the Portland District Regulatory website at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory and select Regulatory Public Notices from the list of Regulatory pages.

Additional Information: The applicant has requested a permit expiration date of February 28, 2028. 

Authority: The proposed project will be evaluated by the Corps 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 14, Rivers and Harbors Act 1899 (33 U.S.C. 408) (referred to as “Section 408”), for work to alter a Corps civil works project. An alteration is defined as any action that builds upon, alters, improves, moves, occupies or otherwise affects the usefulness, or the structural or ecological integrity of a Corps federally authorized project. The proposed project may alter the Columbia River Navigation Channel.

Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines: The described discharge will be evaluated for compliance with guidelines promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under authority of Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act. The 404(b)(1) Guidelines are the substantive criteria used in evaluating discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Fill material would come from a commercial source. The proposed project appears to be exempt from the Clean Water Act regulated activities, as described in 33 CFR 323.4. If the Corps determines the proposed activities are exempt from the Clean Water Act the Corps will not review under the guidelines. 

Water Quality Certification: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1341) requires applicants to obtain a water quality certification for proposed discharges into waters of the United States. A permit for the described work will not be issued until certification has been issued or is waived from the certifying state. Ecology is the certifying agency for the proposed project.

Endangered Species: Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on all actions that may affect a species listed (or proposed for listing) under the ESA as threatened or endangered or that may adversely modify designated critical habitat. The Corps’ preliminary review indicates the described activities will not affect any endangered species or designated critical habitat. Consultation under Section 7 of the ESA is not required for the described activity. The Corps will make a final determination on the need to consult after receipt of comments from this public notice including any comments provided by the NMFS and/or USFWS.

Essential Fish Habitat: Section 305(b)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) as amended (16 U.S.C. 1855), requires Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). The Corps’ preliminary review indicates the described activity would not adversely affect EFH at the project location or in its vicinity. The Corps will make a final determination on the need to consult on EFH after receipt of comments from this public notice including any comments provided by the NMFS.

Historic Properties/Cultural Resources: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (54 U.S.C. 306108), requires Federal agencies to consult with the appropriate State and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to take into account the effects of actions they undertake or permit on historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Corps’ preliminary review indicates to the best of our knowledge, 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. At this time the Corps is unaware of any cultural resource surveys of the project area. 

This notice has been provided to the State Historic Preservation Officer (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 at the end of this notice to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.

State and Local Authorizations: 

City of Vancouver has issued an exemption from the requirement of obtaining a Shorelines Substantial Development permit for this project.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Hydraulic Project Approval

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 – Ecology: Ecology is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, Indian Tribes, State, and local agencies and officials; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this activity. Ecology will consider all comments to determine whether to certify or deny certification for the proposed project under Section 401 of the CWA.

Submitting Comments - Ecology: Any person desiring to present views on the project pertaining to a request for water quality certification under Section 401 of the CWA, may do so by submitting written comments to the following address: Washington State Department of Ecology, Attention: Federal Permit Coordinator, Post Office Box 47600, Olympia, Washington 98504-7600, or e-mail to ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov.

Evaluation – Corps: 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 proposal 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 the proposed activities. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether: to allow an alteration of a federally authorized project or 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.

Submitting Comments: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed project. Comments may be submitted by conventional mail or email. All comments received will be considered in determining whether authorizing the work would be contrary to the public interest. 

Either conventional mail or e-mail comments must include the Corps reference number as shown on page 1 and include the commenter’s name and address. In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the Corps reference number. All comments received will become part of the administrative record and are subject to public release under the Freedom of Information Act including any personally identifiable information such as names, phone numbers, and addresses.

Additional information about the proposed project may be obtained from the Corps Project Manager listed below. All comments, whether by conventional mail or email, must be received no later than the expiration date of this public notice to ensure consideration. Comments should be submitted to the following mailing address or email address:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Brad Johnson 
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
Email: Brad.A.Johnson2@usace.army.mil
Telephone: (503) 808-4383