***REFER TO ATTACHED NWP 2022-530 EXTENSION FOR AN UPDATE REGARDING THIS PUBLIC NOTICE***
Application for Permit
Issue Date: December 16, 2022
Expiration Date: January 15, 2023
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2022-530
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 drawings. The Corps is soliciting comments on the proposed work.
Knife River Corporation
Attention: Jeff Steyaert
32260 Old Highway 34
Tangent, Oregon 97389
Telephone: (541) 918-5142
Anchor QEA, LLC.
Attention: Greg Summers
6720 S. Macadam Avenue, Suite 125
Portland, Oregon 97219
Telephone: (503) 924-6196
Location: The project site is located at 60371 N. Columbia River Hwy., in St. Helens, Columbia County, Oregon. The site is in Section 32, Township 5 North, Range 1 West. Latitude and Longitude: 45.871334°, -122.823218°.
Waterway: Wetlands A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, Z, AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, FF, OO, PP, QQ, RR, TT, SS, XX, YY, ZZ, and 1-A. Waterways Perennial Stream 1-A, Intermittent Streams B and C, Ephemeral Streams B, C, D and 1-A. 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 applicant’s stated purpose is to develop a dependable crushed aggregate resource to provide high-quality, cost-competitive aggregate materials to the Portland Metropolitan market.
Project Description: The proposed Watters Quarry Phase II Project involves the expansion of Watters Quarry Phase I (Phase I), an existing active aggregate mining operation. The Phase I quarry is located north of Liberty Hill Road and covers approximately 27 acres. The applicant proposes to expand their existing mining operation south into a 44 acre site to support a combined mining operation totaling 71 acres which can provide a sufficient aggregate source for approximately 50 years.
The applicant would permanently directly impact 10.23 acres of wetland and 0.002 acre of an intermittent waterway through excavation and elimination. The applicant would permanently indirectly impact 1.42 acres of wetlands and 0.058 acre of intermittent waterways from alteration of wetland and stream hydrology; wetlands and waterways indirectly impacted may be completely eliminated over time and, as such, are included in the total permanent aquatic resource impact calculations. The total permanent impact to wetlands would be 11.65 acres and 0.06 acre of intermittent waterways; 0.48 acres of palustrine emergent wetland (PEM), 4.09 acres of palustrine forested (PFO), and 7.08 acres of combined PEM/PFO wetlands would be impacted.
The applicant would remove approximately 16,414,864 cubic yards (cy) of soil and rock to complete the project. The applicant would discharge up to 90,248 cy of soil and rock within wetlands and 4 cy of soil and rock within waterways to complete the project.
The applicant would phase mining operations on the project site through a series of 8 mining stages disturbing only the area needed to produce the volume of aggregate for market demand projected over a 6- to 7-year period. During this time, the remaining land on the project site would remain undisturbed and in its existing condition aside from creation of the proposed on-site compensatory mitigation areas.
The applicant would complete the project utilizing heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, scrapers, and haul trucks. Equipment access to the project site would occur via the Phase I site. Equipment would initially cross Liberty Hill Road into the
Phase II site via a new gravel road connecting the two sites. The applicant may construct an undercrossing beneath Liberty Hill Road constructed to connect the two sites once mining in the northern portion of the Phase II site brings the elevation close to the elevation of the Phase I site. If constructed, this undercrossing would allow for vehicles, equipment, and conveyors to cross between the Phase II site and the processing area at the Phase I site without having to cross Liberty Hill Road.
The applicant would remove the basalt rock with drilling and blasting methods. Once extracted, the rock would be loaded into haul trucks or transported via conveyor to the existing processing crusher at the Phase I location. A rock crusher would be used to crush the rock into different products for stockpiling on site and eventual shipment off site.
The applicant would reclaim the site upon completion of the aggregate extraction at the site in accordance with Columbia County and Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) regulations. Reclamation would include creating a lake feature surrounded by native tree, shrub, and herbaceous vegetation suitable for native wildlife habitat. The excavation limits on the project site would be limited by a 200‐foot setback from residential property boundaries and a 50-foot setback from all non-residential property boundaries.
The applicant states aggregate mining at Watters Quarry has been occurring since before 1953. The applicant states they have nearly reached the end of the mineable basalt reserves north of Liberty Road, with only an estimated 2 years of operative life remaining. The applicant is seeking a 50-year Department of the Army permit for the project based on projected stages and market demand for the aggregate.
Mitigation: The applicant proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by
- Minimizing land use conflicts by locating the project site in an area that that adheres to local zoning regulations and setbacks.
- Minimizing potential adverse environmental, social and economic impacts on nearby communities by minimizing the amount of noise, dust, air quality, and transportation impacts on nearby communities. The applicant is seeking a project site and design which has a maximum average overburden depth of 20 feet or less to minimize stockpile management and erosion potential, air quality emissions, and associated logistical challenges. The applicant is seeking a project site and design that minimizes disturbance to sensitive species and habitats including forestlands; protected, rare, and sensitive wildlife and plant species; and wetlands and other water resources. In addition, the applicant is seeking a project site and design that avoids and/or minimizes disturbance to any prehistoric or historic remains or indicators of past human activities, including artifacts, sites, structures, landscapes, and objects of importance to a culture or community for scientific, traditional, religious, or other reasons.
- Implementing ground disturbing activities during drier calendar months to minimize on-site erosion and fine sediment delivery to downstream surface waters;
- Contouring the area disturbed by mining to ensure stormwater is captured within the mining site; all direct precipitation would be shed internally toward stormwater treatment ponds and then discharged in accordance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the site;
The applicant has provided a proposed compensatory wetland mitigation plan to offset losses of waters of the U.S. that may result from the proposed project. The applicant would relocate a perennial stream, sheet flow, and other runoff from adjacent, upslope areas to the proposed compensatory mitigation areas located around the mining area to prevent surface water from entering the mining pit. The applicant proposes to create 18.39 acres of compensatory wetland mitigation, including 1.10 acres of perennial stream creation; the applicant would also enhance existing wetlands through invasives species removal and planting native species. The applicant would create 0.69 acres of PEM wetland and 17.73 acres of PEM/PFO/palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands.
The applicant’s primary objective of the mitigation approach is to replace impacted wetland and stream functions by creating similar habitat to what would be impacted. Wetland habitat types would include wetland forested, scrub-shrub, and emergent communities, including the creation of wet meadow conditions to compensate for similar types of impacted wetlands. Existing upland trees, scrub-shrub, and herbaceous communities on slopes adjacent to the wetlands would provide buffers from quarry activities. The applicant would complete compensatory mitigation prior to or concurrent with the initial discharge of dredged or fill material at the site to monitor success of the mitigation and initiate temporal functional loss replacement.Describe the proposed compensatory mitigation briefly. This should reflect, in summary form, final information submitted from the applicant about compensatory mitigation. The public notice mitigation statement may be used here, but this section should ultimately describe the final, reviewed and accepted, mitigation plan. The Corps will determine the type and amount of compensatory mitigation necessary to offset environmental losses from the proposed project.
Drawings: Twenty-five (25) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2022-530. 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 under Regulatory Pages select Permit Application Public Notices.
Additional Information: The Corps previously issued a public notice for this project on February 1, 2021, under Corps No. NWP-2020-65. At the time of the Corps public notice for Corps No. NWP-2020-65, the applicant proposed to expand the aggregate mining operation south, into an area encompassing 131 acres. Within the 131 acre area, 94 acres would be used for aggregate mining and approximately 44 acres would be used for compensatory wetland mitigation. Aggregate mining in the 94 acre area would directly 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 would be indirectly permanently impacted due to the mining operation. Total impacts to wetlands were approximately 12.23 acres and 0.06 acre of intermittent and ephemeral streams.
The applicant subsequently withdrew their previous permit application and has resubmitted their request for a Department of the Army permit for the project with a reduced project scope.
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. The state’s notice for a water quality certification is attached.
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 (NRHP). The applicant has prepared an investigation for the presence of potentially eligible historic properties within the Corps permit area; the Corps is currently evaluating the applicant’s investigation. The Corps will evaluate historic properties within the permit area for their eligibility for inclusion in the NRHP and will initiate consultation with interested parties pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation if warranted.
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’ project manager identified at the end of this notice to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.
State and Local Authorizations: The applicant has obtained local planning approval from Columbia County and possesses an operating permit from DOGAMI. The applicant has applied for a Removal-Fill Permit from the Department of State Lands (DSL) (DSL No. APP0064124). The applicant would apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit or permits from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
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 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
North Bend Field Office
2201 Broadway, Suite C
North Bend, Oregon 97459-2372
Telephone: (541) 756-2097
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification
Notice Issued: December 16, 2022
Written Comments Due: January 15, 2023
Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2022-530
Oregon Department of State Lands No: APP0064124
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.” Additional Section 401 process information is available on DEQ’s webpage (https://www.oregon.gov/deq/wq/wqpermits/Pages/Section-401-Certification.aspx).
Written comments: Written comments on project elements related to water quality must be received at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality by 5:00 p.m. on the date specified in the upper right section on page one of this notice. Comments may be submitted electronically or through standard mail.
Electronic – Written comments may be submitted electronically through Your DEQ Online (https://ydo.oregon.gov/pub/login). For questions regarding account registration, system navigation, or training resources, please visit the Your DEQ Online help webpage (https://www.oregon.gov/deq/Permits/Pages/Your-DEQ-Online-Help.aspx).
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Northwest Region
700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite #600
Portland, Oregon 97232
Attn: 401 Water Quality Certification 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. Public records can be accessed through the Your DEQ Online public records portal webpage
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.