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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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NWP-1998-165-4

Portland
Published June 4, 2021
Expiration date: 8/3/2021

    PUBLIC NOTICE
   Application for Permit

Issue Date: June 4, 2021
Expiration Date: July 4, 2021
US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-1998-165-4-#2
                                 Oregon Department of State Lands No: Unknown

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:    Grants Pass Jetboats, Inc. DBA Hellgate Jetboat Excursions
        Attention: Mr. Robert Hamlyn
        966 SW 6th Street
        Grants Pass, Oregon 97526-2908
        Email: robert@hellgate.com
        Telephone: (541) 479-7204

Location: The project is located at 9 sites in the Rogue River, from River Mile (RM) 84-101, near Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon.  

•    Loading Dock, RM 101, Section 19, Township 36 South, Range 5 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.430539, -123.329861)

•    Middleton Island, RM 95, Section 20, Township 36 South, Range 6 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.431522, -123.433775)

•    Whitehorse Park, RM 94, Section 19, Township 36 South, Range 6 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.43334, -123.46027)

•    Wharton Riffle, RM 90, Section 2, Township 36 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.47399, -123.50106)

•    Brushy Chutes, RM 89, Section 35, Township 35 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.48011, -123.49872)

•    Robertson Creek, RM 89, Section 35 & 36, Township 35 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.489194, -123.484570)

•    Robertson Bridge Turn, RM 89, Section 25, Township 35 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.493875, -123.479806)

•    Two Bit Riffle, RM 86, Section 23, Township 35 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.51678, -123.49280)

•    Hog Creek, RM 84, Section 11, Township 35 South, Range 7 West (Latitude/Longitude: 42.53663, -123.50117)

Waterway:  The sites are located in the Rogue River from approximate RM 84-101.  The location of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) shown on the project drawings has not yet been verified by the Corps. If the Corps determines the boundaries of the OHWM of the Rogue River is substantially inaccurate a new public notice may be published.

Project Purpose: To ensure safe vessel navigation within the Rogue River. 

Project Description: The applicant is seeking a 10 year authorization to dredge and discharge up to 1,050 cubic yards (cy) of sediment below the OHWM of the Rogue River, as needed, annually, for vessel navigation access within a 17 mile reach of the Rogue River. The depth of substrate to be discharged and dredge prism extents would vary annually. The applicant has identified an adequate water depth for vessel under keel clearance as two feet at 8 of the 9 dredging areas. The maximum dredging depth would not exceed two feet at these areas; the dredging depth would be generally less than one foot given existing surface water levels at the riffle locations when the applicant conducts dredging. At the applicant’s loading dock area the applicant has identified a needed water depth as 4 feet due to a recent influx of sediment at this location. The maximum dredge prism lengths and widths identified below are the extents in which dredging would occur; however, the entire dredge prism would not always require dredging to maintain adequate vessel under keel clearance. The applicant would generally conduct dredging in an area measuring approximately 50 to 200 feet in length with dredging occurring in some years, at low surface water levels, to up to 500 feet in length. The applicant’s dredge prism would measure up to 16 feet wide. The maximum annual dredging volumes listed below are recognized as upper thresholds; the applicant would likely discharge less volumes than estimated given surface water flow conditions and methods.  

The applicant would conduct dredging using vessel prop-washing methods working from within the waterway. The excavator would access the river from adjacent upland areas and would work within the water. Alternatively, the applicant may also discharge temporary fill in the form of bulk bags to control the riffle height and avoid and/or minimize the need to conduct dredging. 

Prop-wash method:  The applicant would remobilize all sediments downstream of the primary dredging sites when using prop-washing dredging methods; these sediments would be relocated and re-distributed via river flow below the OHWM of the Rogue River.  

Excavator method:  The applicant would operate the excavator in the Rogue River when undertaking dredging activities using this method. The applicant would mobilize and demobilize the excavator by driving it from uplands to in-water dredging locations and vice versa. The applicant would relocate sediments to one side of the dredging area and ensure they are spread evenly within the water column when using excavator dredging methods; these sediments would be relocated and re-distributed via river flow below the OHWM of the Rogue River.  

Bulk bag method:  The applicant may also utilize bulk bags at 8 of the 9 locations to temporarily control the configuration of the river thalweg to allow passage of vessels through the riffle.  The applicant’s use of bulk bags is intended to reduce the need to physically alter the stream channel. The bulk bags would measure approximately 45 inches wide, 45 inches long and 65 inches in height. The bulk bags would result in a discharge of up to 3 cy of fill material below the OHWM of the Rogue River per bag; multiple bags may be used to control surface water levels at the riffle locations. The applicant would construct the bulk bags in uplands using rock fill material and would place the bulk bags using an excavator and/or an off-loading arm affixed to a vessel.  The applicant would access the waterway from uplands to both place and remove the bulk bags in the river. The applicant would orient the bulk bags in a singular row to temporarily elevate the riffle elevation by approximately one foot to allow vessel passage through the riffle. The applicant would generally only place the bulk bags during anticipated low surface water levels but may place and leave them at the riffle sites from May 1 through October 3 annually, if needed. The applicant would place signage upstream and downstream of the bulk bag configuration to alert the public to the partial obstruction within the waterway. The applicant would also mark the bulk bags with reflective markers and would place a red buoy at the channel side of the bulk bag configuration to signify the location of the navigation channel for watercraft to safely traverse the riffle location.  

The applicant would conduct prop-wash dredging and excavator dredging during the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) preferred in-water work window for this reach of the Rogue River or under an approved extension; 15 June to 31 August. The applicant anticipates a typical need to discharge bulk bags during July or September but depending on the surface water levels at the time of year there could be a need to discharge bulk bags around May 1 of the calendar year. The bags would be removed from the river by October 3 of the calendar year at the latest.

The applicant’s dredging work and bulk bag placement are anticipated to take 30 minutes per site with multiple sites being able to be accomplished in one day if needed.  Some sites may require additional follow-up dredging to maintain adequate vessel under keel clearance due to fluctuating water levels within the Rogue River during the applicant’s operating season; May 1 through September 30. The applicant does not anticipate affecting riparian vegetation along upland or in-water access routes to the dredging or bulk bag discharge locations.

The details of each work location are described below:


Site Name    Dredge Prism Length (linear feet)    Dredge Prism Width (feet)    Required water depth (feet)    Maximum Annual Dredging (CY)    Potential use of bulk bags?
Loading Dock    150    30    4    200    No
Notes:     The applicant would enter the north side of the Rogue River at their shoreside facility in Grants Pass to conduct dredging at their Loading Dock area. Dredged material would be discharged south of the dredging site in the center of the Rogue River and evenly spread out.
Middleton Island    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would utilize the Laithrop Island boat ramp at the Laithrop County Park located on the south side of Rogue River to access this dredging location. 
Whitehorse Park    50-500    16    2    150    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would access the dredging site from primarily from Dindsdale Farms located on the south side of the Rogue River.  The applicant may also utilize the Whitehorse County Park for excavator access to the Rogue River.
Wharton Riffle    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant anticipates primarily utilizing Griffin Park located on the west side of the Rogue River to access this dredging location.  The applicant may also use the existing boat ramp located on the east side of the Rogue River for excavator access.
Brushy Chutes    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would place bulk bags with an off-loading arm affixed to a vessel at this location.
Robertson Creek    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would utilize private property located on the west side of Rogue River to access this dredging location. 
Robertson Bridge Turn    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would utilize private property located on the west side of Rogue River to access this dredging location.  
Two Bit    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would utilize private property located on the east side of Rogue River to access this dredging location.  
Hog Creek    50-500    16    2    100    Yes
Notes:    The applicant would utilize an existing private road located on the west side and boat launch located on the west side of Rogue River to access this dredging location. The applicant may also utilize the Hog Creek County Park boat ramp located on the north side of the Rogue River for excavator access to the river.

Dredged Material Testing: Project sediments were evaluated in accordance with the Sediment Evaluation Framework for the Pacific Northwest (SEF). The interagency Portland Sediment Evaluation Team (PSET) implements the SEF for the Corps Portland District. The PSET determines the need for sediment testing based on the physical properties of dredged material, historical sediment quality data from the project and adjacent areas, current and historical land uses in and adjacent to the project area, and proximity of the project area to contaminant sources. The PSET has determined that no further testing or evaluation of the project sediments is necessary and that the project sediments are suitable for unconfined, aquatic disposal and exposure. 

The proposed project includes future maintenance dredging. Prior to each maintenance dredging cycle the applicant would be required to coordinate with the Corps and the PSET to determine if additional sediment testing is required.

Mitigation: The applicant proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by 
incorporating best management practices such as a dredging operation plan which
includes the use of erosion control measures and turbidity monitoring as well as working
within the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife preferred in-water work window to minimize impacts to aquatic species. The applicant has provided a proposed compensatory wetland mitigation plan which details aquatic resource avoidance and minimization efforts to offset losses of waters of the U.S. that may result from the proposed project. The Corps will determine the type and amount of compensatory mitigation necessary to offset environmental losses from the proposed project.

Drawings:  Twenty-two (22) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-1998-165-4-#2. 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 Corps issued a 30-day public notice for the project proposal on May 25, 2018. The Corps received multiple comments in response to the public notice. The applicant’s permit application was withdrawn following completion of the public notice process and the Corps did not render a permit decision on the project. The applicant has re-engaged the Corps to obtain authorization for the proposed dredge and fill activities in anticipation of a low-surface water year in the Rogue River during their vessel operating season. The Corps is soliciting additional public comments to inform our evaluation.  

The applicant has received previous authorization from the Corps for similar work in this reach of the Rogue River at 5 locations. Consistent with the Corps May 25, 2018 public notice, the applicant proposes 4 additional dredging sites: Middleton Island riffle, the Robertson Creek riffle, Robertson Bridge Turn riffle, and their loading dock area in Grants Pass, Oregon. The applicant has identified these additional dredging sites as needed locations to facilitate operation and use of their vessels. 

The applicant is seeking a 10-year maintenance and dredging disposal authorization, including the use of bulk bags described above, based on site and surface water flow conditions within the Rogue River.

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. 

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 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 Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, interested Native American Tribes, and other interested parties. If you have information pertaining to cultural resources within the permit area, please provide this information to the Corps’ Tyler Krug identified at the end of this notice to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.

State and Local Authorizations: The applicant has obtained approval from Josephine County for dredging activities and is seeking a removal-fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands for the subject project.

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; Native American 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 Tyler Krug 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
        Mr. Tyler Krug
        North Bend Field Office
        2201 Broadway, Suite C
        North Bend, Oregon  97459-2372
        Email: Tyler.J.Krug@usace.army.mil
        Telephone: (541) 756-2097

        



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


    Notice Issued: June 4, 2021
    Written Comments Due: July 4, 2021

Corps of Engineers No: NWP-1998-165-4-#2
Oregon Department of State Lands No: Unknown    

WHO IS THE APPLICANT: Grants Pass Jetboats, Inc. DBA Hellgate Jetboat
Excursions

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 PARTICIPATION:

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 - 401publiccomments@deq.state.or.us

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 deqinfo@deq.state.or.us.