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.

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Portland District
Published Feb. 2, 2021
Expiration date: 3/3/2021

        Application for Permit

Issue Date: February 1, 2021
Expiration Date: March 3, 2021
US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2020-065
                                      Oregon Department of State Lands No: 63036 

30-Day Notice

Interested parties are hereby notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in waters of the United States, as described below and shown on the attached plans. The Corps is soliciting comments on the proposed work.
Applicant:    Knife River Corporation
                        Attention: Jeff Steyaert
                        32260 Old Highway 34 
                        Tangent, OR 97389
                        Telephone: (541) 918-5142

Applicant’s Agent:     Anchor QEA, LLC 
                                        Attention: Marc Auten
                                        6720 South Macadam Avenue
                                        Portland, OR 97219
                                        Telephone: (503) 924-6177

Location: The project site is located near 60371 North Columbia River Highway, in St. Helens, Columbia County, Oregon. The site is in Section 32 and 33, Township 5 North, Range 1 West.  Latitude and Longitude:  45.870550 North, -122.823819 West

Waterway: Pacific Habitat Services delineated aquatic resources on the site and identified them as Wetlands A through U, Z, AA through EE, PP through TT, and XX through ZZ; intermittent streams B, C, and D; and ephemeral streams B, C, and D. The wetland boundaries and/or 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 wetland/waters are substantially inaccurate a new public notice may be published.

Project Purpose: The project purpose is to mine aggregate.

Project Description: The proposed project is the Knife River Watters Quarry Expansion Project. An existing 27 acre quarry is located north of Liberty Hill Road in St. Helens, Oregon. The existing quarry is reaching the end of the mineable basalt reserves with an estimated 2 years of operative life remaining. Aggregate mining at this location has occurred since 1953. The proposed project would expand the aggregate mining operation to the south of the existing location encompassing an area of 131 acres. Of the 131 acre area, 94 acres would be used for aggregate mining and approximately 44 acres would be used for compensatory wetland mitigation. Upon completion of the aggregate extraction, reclamation would occur with the creation of a lake surrounded by tree, shrub, and herbaceous vegetation. Aggregate mining in the 94 acre area would impact 11.38 acres of wetlands and approximately 0.03 acre of intermittent and ephemeral streams. Due to the permanent alteration of hydrology on-site, another 0.85 acre of wetland and 0.03 acre of intermittent streams located along the southern edge of the project area are anticipated to be permanently impacted due to the mining operation. Total impacts to wetlands are approximately 12.23 acres and 0.06 acre of intermittent and ephemeral streams. 

The mining operation would begin with the removal of approximately 0 to 5 feet of soil that overlies the basalt deposits (in addition to existing vegetation removal) using excavators, bulldozers, scrapers, and haul trucks. This material would be transported to the northwestern portion of the site for use in the compensatory mitigation site. The underlying basalt rock would be mined using a drilling and blasting method. Drilling and blasting for rock mining would be performed by drilling holes into the rock, filling the holes with explosives, and detonating the explosives to break up the rock. Once extracted, the rock would be loaded onto haul trucks or transported via a conveyor to the processing crusher, which would remain within the current active mining area. For materials that would be transported via a conveyor, a primary crusher would be used within the expansion area to reduce the size of the rock. The mining equipment, crusher, and drilling and blasting operations would be below grade and behind an excavation face to reduce noise and visual impacts on neighboring properties. Equipment used for operations may include a primary crusher, drilling and blasting equipment, water trucks, excavators, front-end loaders, graders, excavators, haul trucks, and bulldozers.

Equipment would initially cross Liberty Hill Road into the expansion area to the south via a new gravel road that would extend from the existing quarry into the expansion area. Once mining in the northern portion of the expansion area brings the elevation close to the elevation of the existing quarry, an undercrossing beneath Liberty Hill Road may be constructed to connect the two areas. If constructed, this would allow for vehicles, equipment, and conveyors to cross between the expansion area and the processing area at the existing quarry without having to cross Liberty Hill Road.

The areas disturbed by mining would be contoured so that stormwater is captured within the mining site. Sheet flow and runoff from adjacent, upslope areas would be routed to the proposed mitigation site or around the mining area to prevent off-site water from entering the pit. Stormwater in the quarry would be directed away from the active mining area and contained within settling ponds. Once the stormwater meets National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements, it would be pumped from the settling ponds to discharge points along the eastern and western boundaries of the project area.

When the site is exhausted of its aggregate resource, the expansion area would be reclaimed in accordance with the applicant’s Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Reclamation Plan. Reclamation would occur by creating a large lake surrounded by herbaceous and woody vegetation. Reclamation would begin by stockpiling topsoil within the project site. As areas are mined, topsoil would be spread to a depth similar to pre-mining conditions. All bare soils would be vegetated with native grass seed for erosion control. After spreading and contouring, native herbaceous and native woody vegetation would be planted in the reclamation area. Bare rock walls created by the mining process may remain unvegetated if they are too steep to establish vegetation. 

Mitigation: The applicant proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by preserving 6.06 acres of wetlands in the northwestern portion of the project area. The applicant has provided a permittee-responsible onsite compensatory wetland mitigation plan to offset losses of waters of the U.S. that may result from the proposed project. The applicant proposes to create 15.71 acres of palustrine emergent and forested wetlands, enhance 1.07 acres of wetlands, and create 0.22 acre of stream. 
Drawings:  Five (5) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2020-065. 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 and select Regulatory Public Notices from the list of Regulatory pages.

Additional Information: The applicant is requesting a 50-year permit from the Corps, which is the estimated duration of the proposed mining project. 

Authority: The proposed project will be evaluated under the following:

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

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. The Corps will evaluate the fill material source (i.e., borrow site) prior to finalizing a permit decision.

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. Attached is the state's notice for a water quality certification.

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 activity may affect an endangered or threatened species or designated critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation under Section 7 of the ESA. The Corps will complete the required consultation prior to finalizing a permit decision.

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 adversely affect EFH at the project location or in the vicinity. The Corps will initiate consultation under Section 305(b)(2) of the MSA. The Corps will complete the required consultation prior to finalizing a permit decision.

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 the permit area is likely to yield resources eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. An investigation for the presence of potentially eligible historic properties is justified and would be required prior to the Corps’ final permit decision.

This notice has been provided to the State Historic Preservation Office (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: The applicant will be applying for the following additional governmental authorizations for the project: Columbia County Conditional Use Permit for Aggregate Mining, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality NPDES 1200-A General Permit, and the Oregon Department of Geological and Mineral Industries Operating Permit.

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 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 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.

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
        Caila Heintz
        P.O. Box 2946
        Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
        Telephone: (503) 808-5113


Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification

    Notice Issued: February 1, 2021
    Written Comments Due: March 3, 2021

Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2020-065 
Oregon Department of State Lands No: 63036    

WHO IS THE APPLICANT: Knife River Corporation

LOCATION OF CERTIFICATION ACTIVITY: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice.

WHAT IS PROPOSED: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice on the proposed project.

NEED FOR CERTIFICATION: Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act requires applicants for Federal permits or licenses to provide the Federal agency a water quality certification from the State of Oregon if the proposed activity may result in a discharge to waters of the state.

DESCRIPTION OF DISCHARGES: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice on the proposed project.

WHERE TO FIND DOCUMENTS: Documents and materials related to water quality issues as a result of the proposal are available for examination and copying at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 401 Water Quality Permit Coordinator, Northwest Region, 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, Oregon 97232. Other project materials are available by contacting the Corps per the attached public notice.

Scheduling an appointment will ensure that water quality documents are readily accessible during your visit. To schedule an appointment please call DEQ Water Quality at Northwest Region at (503) 229-5623.

Any questions on the water quality certification process may be addressed to the 401 Permit Coordinator at (503) 229-5623 or toll free within Oregon at (800) 452-4011. People with hearing impairments may call the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service at (800) 735-2900.


Public Hearing: Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-48-0032 (2) states that “The Corps provides public notice of and opportunity to comment on the applications, including the application for certification, provided that the department (DEQ), in its discretion, may provide additional opportunity for public comment, including public hearing.” 

Written comments: Written comments on project elements related to water quality must be received at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality by 5 p.m. on the date specified in the upper right section on page one of this notice. Written comments may be emailed or mailed as described below: 

Email -

Mail - Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Northwest Region
           700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600
    Portland, Oregon 97232           
    Attn: 401 Water Quality Permit Coordinator 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: DEQ will review and consider all comments received during the public comment period. Following this review, certification of the proposal may be issued as proposed, issued with conditions, or denied. You will be notified of DEQ's final decision if you submit comments during the comment period. Otherwise, if you wish to receive notification, please call or write DEQ at the above address.

ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION: DEQ can provide documents in an alternate format or in a language other than English upon request.  Call DEQ at (800) 452-4011 or email