Proposal to Reissue Regional General Permit (RGP) 4 with Modifications for the
U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Aquatic Habitat Restoration Activities Within the State of Oregon
Issue Date: July 14, 2021
Expiration Date: August 13, 2021
US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2007-999/5
Oregon Department of State Lands No: 42104GP
Interested parties are hereby notified that in accordance with 33 CFR 325.3(b) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) is proposing to reissue with modifications Regional General Permit (RGP) 4 authorizing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct aquatic habitat restoration activities within the state of Oregon. The Corps will review the request pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. 1344).
PURPOSE: The purpose of the RGP is to expedite the authorization of recurring activities that are similar in nature and have minor individual and cumulative adverse impact on the aquatic environment. Use of the RGP is intended to reduce the amount of paperwork and time required to authorize qualifying projects by making available for use an already issued Department of the Army general permit that includes a concluded Endangered Species Act and Essential Fish Habitat consultation, Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality water quality certification, and Coastal Zone Management consistency concurrence. The USFS and BLM have indicated this time savings allow them to focus more resources on additional planning, partnership development, project implementation, and monitoring of aquatic restoration projects.
PROJECT LOCATION: Projects will occur on USFS or BLM administered lands within the state of Oregon (Attachment 1). Projects may also occur on non-federal lands when such projects directly assist the USFS and/or BLM in achieving their aquatic restoration goals and are funded in part by the USFS and BLM. The USFS and BLM are permitted to fund such projects under the Wyden Amendment authority (16 U.S.C. 1011(a), as amended by Section 136 of PL 105-277).
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The USFS and BLM are requesting the reissuance of RGP-4 with modifications that would include the addition of three new activities. Proposed are eleven aquatic restoration activities in total, that would be conducted within waters of the United States. These restoration activities would maintain, enhance, and/or restore watershed functions to benefit fish species, other aquatic organisms, water quality, riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands. The 11 categories are as follows and those shown in bold font are the proposed modifications:
1. Fish Passage Restoration
a) Stream Simulation Culvert and Bridge Projects
b) Headcut and Grade Stabilization
c) Irrigation Diversion Replacement/Relocation & Screen Installation/Replacement
2. Large Wood, Boulder, and Gravel Placement
a) Large Wood and Boulder Projects
b) Porous Boulder Weirs and Vanes
c) Engineered Logjams (ELJ)
d) Constructed Riffles
e) Gravel Augmentation
f) Tree Removal for Large Wood (LW) Projects
3. Legacy Structure Removal
4. Off- and Side-Channel Habitat Restoration
5. Streambank Restoration
6. Set-back or Removal of Existing Berms, Dikes, and Levees
7. Reduction/Relocation of Recreation Impacts
8. Livestock Fencing, Stream Crossings, and Off-Channel Livestock Watering
9. Road and Trail Erosion Control and Decommissioning
10. Riparian Vegetative Planting
11. Beaver Habitat Restoration
Attached to this public notice is a draft of the RGP-4, which includes a detailed description of the activity categories proposed (Attachment 2). The USFS and BLM propose to conduct no more than 100 projects each year. For each individual project proposed to be implemented under this RGP, the USFS and BLM will notify the Corps at least 60 days prior to the proposed start date. Notification will include project location, projected start and completion dates, activity type, project description, and documentation of the lead agency’s compliance with federal laws. Final details of the notification process will be developed as part of the evaluation process of this RGP.
Additional Information: RGP-4 was originally issued in 2009 and has been reissued twice without significant changes. The applicants are proposing the addition of three new activities, which are also being reviewed by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) for the reissuance of their General Permit (42104GP). The RGP would only authorize qualifying activities.
AUTHORITY: The proposed RGP would authorize projects 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 404, Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), for discharge of dredged or fill material into 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.
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 authority. Attached is the state's notice for a water quality certification.
Coastal Zone Management: Section 307(c) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)), requires federal agencies conducting activities, including development projects, affecting a state’s coastal zone, to comply to the maximum extent practicable with an approved state coastal zone management program. The Corps is coordinating with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to obtain a programmatic consistency determination for this RGP. Attached is the DLCD public notice advertising the request for Consistency 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. For this project, the USFS and BLM, as the lead Federal agencies for ESA consultation, completed consultation with the NMFS and the USFWS as required under Section 7 of the ESA.
The USFS and BLM have received biological opinions from both the NMFS and USFWS for the aquatic habitat restoration activities proposed for inclusion within this RGP.
• NOAA Biological Opinion: Endangered Species Act – Section 7 Programmatic Consultation Conference and Biological Opinion and Magnuson-Stevens Act Essential Fish Habitat Response for Reinitiation of Aquatic Restoration Activities in the States of Oregon and Washington (ARBO II). NMFS Consultation Number: NWR-2013-9664 issued April 25, 2013.
• USFWS Biological Opinion: Endangered Species Act—Section 7 Consultation Programmatic Biological Opinion for Aquatic Restoration Activities in the States of Oregon, Washington, and portions of California, Idaho, and Nevada (ARBO II) [FWS reference: 01EOFW00-2013-F-0090] issued July 1, 2013.
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 USFS, Pacific Northwest Region 6 has completed EFH consultation pursuant to section 305(b) of the MSA and implementing regulation at 50 CFR Part 600. In this consultation, NMFS concluded that the proposed actions may adversely affect designated EFH for Pacific salmon. NMFS has included conservation recommendations in the Biological Opinion (NMFS Reference Number NWP-2013-9664), dated April 25, 2013, to avoid, minimize or otherwise offset effect to EFH produced by activities authorized by this RGP.
Historic Properties/Cultural Resources: The USFS and BLM will be required to ensure compliance with all cultural resource laws and regulations for each project proposed for authorization under this RGP. The USFS and BLM are required to consult with the appropriate tribes and State Historic Preservation Office for projects that have the potential to cause effects on historic properties. Additionally, the USFS and BLM will also consult, as necessary, per Executive Order 13175 with the appropriate tribes to ensure that no activity or its operation will impair reserved tribal rights, including, but not limited to, reserved water rights and treaty fishing and hunting rights.
Post-Submittal Variances: The Corps will receive notification of any variances that occur after Corps approval of a project. Documentation that the variance has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate entities shall be submitted to the Corps in a timely manner and prior to start of work.
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 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 Danielle Erb 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
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
Telephone: (503) 808-4368
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification
Notice Issued: July 14, 2021
Written Comments Due: August 13, 2021
Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2007-999/5
Oregon Department of State Lands No: 42104GP
WHO IS THE APPLICANT: The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
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 US.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
OREGON OCEAN AND COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Date: July 14, 2021
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers No: Corps No. NWP-2007-999/5
Oregon Department of State Lands No: 42104-GP
NOTIFICATION: For projects subject to coastal zone review, notice is hereby given that the project is being reviewed by the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) as provided in Section 307(c) of the Coastal Zone Management Act. The applicant believes that the activities described in the attached materials would comply with and be conducted in a manner consistent with the Oregon Ocean and Coastal Management Program. Project information can be made available for inspection at DLCD's Salem office.
DLCD is hereby soliciting public comments on the proposed project's consistency with the Oregon Coastal Management Program. Written comments may be submitted to DLCD, 635 Capital Street NE, Suite 150, Salem, Oregon 97301-2540. Comments may also be sent by fax to (503) 378-6033 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments must be received by DLCD on or before the comment deadline listed in the accompanying Corps of Engineers’ Public Notice Application for Permit. For further information, you may call DLCD at (503) 373-0050.
REVIEW CRITERIA: Comments should address consistency with the applicable enforceable policies of the Oregon Coastal Management Program. These enforceable policies are found in the following:
• Acknowledged Local Comprehensive Plans & Implementing Ordinances
• Statewide Planning Goals
• Applicable State Authorities incorporated into the Oregon Coastal Management Program (e.g. Removal-Fill Law, Water Quality Standards, Beach Bill, etc.) as applicable.
A list of specific enforceable policies can be found at the following link: http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/OCMP/Pages/OCMP_Enforceable-Policies.aspx
If you believe this project is inconsistent with the Oregon Coastal Management Program, your comments to DLCD should explain why you believe the project is inconsistent and should identify the Oregon Coastal Management Program element(s) in question. You should also describe how the project could be modified, if possible, to make it consistent with the Oregon Coastal Management Program.