Application for Permit
Issue Date: September 19, 2023
Expiration Date: October 19, 2023
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2007-240-3
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.
Applicant: Ms. Michelle Hollis
Port of Portland
7200 NE Airport Way,
Portland, Oregon 97218
Telephone: (503) 415-6832
Location: The project site is located at the Port of Portland Terminals (T) 2 (berths 203, 204, 205, and 206), T4 (berths 401, 410, 411, 414, 415, and 416), T5 (berths 501, including barge and face sides, 502, and 503), and T6 (berths 601, 603, 604, 605, and 607) in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. Latitude and Longitude: 45.36° North, 122.46° West.
•Terminal 2 (berths 203, 204, 205, and 206) is located on the southwest bank of the Willamette River at river mile (RM) 10, within Township (T) 1 North (N), Range (R) 1 East (E), Sections (S) 20, 21, and 28.
•Terminal 4 (berths 401, 410, 411, 414, 415, and 416) is located on the east bank of the Willamette River between RM 4 and 5, within T2N, R1W, S35; as well as T1N, R1W, S2. Six of the berths are included for berth maintenance.
•Terminal 5 (berths 501, including barge and face sides, 502, and 503) is located on the east bank of the Willamette River between RM 1 and 2, within T2N, R1W, S23.
•Terminal 6 (berths 601, 603, 604, 605, and 607) is located on the south bank of the Columbia River between RM 102 and 104, within T2N, R1W, S24; and within T2N, R1E, S30.
NOTE: Terminals 2 and 4 are located within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated Portland Harbor Superfund Study Area on the National Priorities List (NPL), pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 9601, et seq.) (CERCLA).
Dredged Material Placement Site Options:
•West Hayden Island Upland Placement Site is located on the northwest side of Hayden Island (RM 104-105).
•Suttle Road Rehandle Facility is located on the south bank of North Portland Harbor near RM 2 (Columbia RM 104.5).
•In-water placement site is located at RM 102.2 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River between the western tip of West Hayden Island and Kelley Point Park.
•In-water placement site is located at Ross Island Lagoon.
Waterway: The project site is located in and adjacent to the Columbia and Willamette Rivers at the RMs listed under “Location” above for each terminal.
Project Purpose: The purpose for the proposed project is to provide maintenance of navigational depth clearances required for cargo vessels docking at Port of Portland facilities.
Project Description: The Port of Portland (Port) proposes to conduct continued maintenance of previously authorized depths with an overdepth allowance, as-needed, at the terminals and berths identified above under "Location." The estimated total volume of dredged material removed from all berthing areas averaged between 15,000 to 40,000 cubic yards (cy) per year over a two-year permit duration. Maintenance depths, overdepth allowances, maintenance frequencies, etc., for each berth are specified in Table 1 below. The Port may utilize a variety of berth dredging methods (mechanical clamshell, backhoe dredging, and underwater grading) and placement sites (in-water, upland, or landfill) during the proposed project described below.
Clamshell Dredging Using an "Environmental" Bucket and Transport Barge. The Port would use a clamshell dredge to remove predominantly sandy, silty sediments using a close-lipped bucket (also referred to as an "environmental" bucket) operated either from shore or from a floating crane. The sediments would be place in either a flat-deck barge with watertight side boards or a bin-barge with one or multiple cells that can sufficiently contain all dredged material, including decant water. During dredging, the barge would be held in position by spud piles to resist the digging-induced forces of the boom and bucket swing.
Clamshell Dredging Using a "Digging" Bucket and Transport Barge. During dredge material consolidation, a clamshell dredge with a digging bucket would be used if sediments cannot be easily removed with an environmental bucket. During dredging, a crane, operated from shore or from a barge, would be used to raise and lower the digging bucket. The hinged bucket would be opened and lowered vertically through the water column. The crane then would hoist a full bucket and deposit the dredged material into a barge for transport to a designated placement site (following the same protocol to that described above for the environmental bucket). When a digging bucket is needed for a project, the Port would require its contractor to install top flaps on the bucket.
Backhoe dredges would be used to remove sediments adjacent to wharfs, piers, or fender piles at the Port's berthing areas. Such dredges either would be temporarily secured to a barge deck or permanently attached to a barge deck. Dredged material would be loaded into a material barge (or railcar) for transport to an approved placement site.
Underwater grading would be conducted with the use of a self-propelled barge that either pushes or pulls an approximately 30 foot-long by 12 inch-high steel I-beam along the river bottom to grade uneven areas of sediment deposition. Underwater grading would be performed if all of the following criteria are met: (1) the amount of sediment presenting navigation concerns does not exceed 5,000 cy; (2) the berth contains high spots that can be graded into adjacent low spots; and (3) the sediment evaluation process determines that sediments within the proposed impact area are suitable for unconfined in-water placement. To minimize the exposure of sediments within the middle and upper water column, lifting of the drag beam during grading was only exercised when necessary. An advanced computer positioning system was used to ensure efficiency of operation and to move the correct amount of sediments to the correct location.
Removal of Navigation Hazards:
Any large debris, including submerged logs, root wads, or other large items that can present hazards to navigation, would be removed during berth maintenance. Non-treated wood material either was relocated downstream and retained within the river system, or placed on a shoreline or upland area for habitat enhancement. Any other debris removed from the river was recycled or transported by truck to an appropriate landfill.
Dredged Material Management and Placement:
If barge dewatering is performed, decant water, which meets Portland Sediment Evaluation Team (PSET) approval and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria or other approved criteria, would be filtered through hay bales and geotextile fabric and released directly to the waterway. After the barge was sufficiently dewatered (if applicable), the dredged sediments would be transferred to one of the approved upland placement sites or would be offloaded directly to a haul truck, rail car, or another transport barge. Sediment offloading would be performed by clamshell bucket or excavator arm to a truck, where it would be delivered to an upland site. Alternatively, the sediments would be placed into a hopper, and a large conveyor belt used to deliver material directly to a haul truck, rail car, or another transport barge.
With or without barge dewatering, upland sites would be used to dewater, and stockpile dredged material, either on a permanent or temporary basis. After the material settles, decant water would be held under berm conditions, or passed through outlet weir(s), where decant water would be released at a shoreline outfall or discharged through submerged pipe(s) back into the adjacent waterway. Over the proposed two-year permit period, it is possible that some return water would be released if either the Suttle Road Rehandle Facility or West Hayden Island Upland Placement Site (WHI) are used.
Approved dredged material placement sites would be used including upland, in-water, or landfill facilities, depending on the characterization and suitability of sediments from each individual project. If the sediments are found to be suitable for placement by the PSET and DEQ, the Port may transport the dredged material by barge, truck, or rail to an upland or in-water placement site approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The identified upland and in-water placement sites are identified under “Location” above. Additional approved and permitted placement sites may be identified and selected during the course of the proposed permit duration (i.e., 2 years). Alternatively, the Port could elect to transport, or sell to an external buyer for their transport, dredged material offsite to support another beneficial use. At the Suttle Road Facility, the dredged material would be dewatered and transferred to a location approved by DEQ.
Any sediments determined by the PSET to be unsuitable for in-water or upland placement were transported to an approved Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C (hazardous waste) or Subtitle D (non-hazardous waste) landfill. All dredged material (and decant water) was either transported by barge or carefully pumped off the barge (if applicable criteria are met) and transported by rail or truck to an appropriate landfill facility.
In-Water Placement of dredged material at the approximate 75-acre Columbia River In-Water Placement Site or at additional placement sites identified and selected by the Port and approved and permitted by the Corps and DEQ. Any in-water placement involved the use of a 20 ft. long tremie chute to discharge dredged material directly into an approved deep-water site (i.e., sites deeper than -20 ft. Columbia River Datum or CRD). During this process, dredged material would be placed in a bottom-dump barge or scow and towed to an in-water placement site.
Landfill Disposal sites may be used and include the Wasco County landfill (The Dalles, OR), Finley Buttes landfill (Boardman, OR), or other RCRA Subtitle C or D Landfill.
Dredged Material Testing: The proposed dredged material will be 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 will determine if sediment testing is required for this project. Project sediments may require physical, chemical, and/or biological testing to support the permit application evaluation. The PSET will evaluate the applicant’s sediment testing results and determine if 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 using a backhoe excavator without a clamshell-like bucket. If this type of bucket is used, it would be raised in an upright position to reduce loss of sediment through the water column. Dredging and GPS software would be used to model the dredge prism and track areas to ensure that dredging efficiency is maximized. Any submerged pipes used to discharge return water would be installed at depths greater than -20 ft. CRD. Turbidity would be controlled during dredging by implementing one or more of the following, (1) modify the bucket speed, (2) ensure that the bucket is closed before ascent, (3) maintain the bucket flaps, (4) fill the bucket to capacity to minimize water in the bucket, (5) avoid overfilling the bucket, or (6) modify the bucket size and/or type. Pipe intake screens would be used that are compliant with National Marine Fisheries Service screening criteria for pumping "make-up" water from the river. During all barge transport activities, the barge would be loaded so enough freeboard remained to allow for safe movement of the barge and its material. Hay bales and geotextile fabric would be placed over the barge scuppers to help filter suspended sediment from the return water inspected and changed (if necessary) after the dredged material is offloaded to ensure the efficient filtration of return water. If a clamshell or excavator bucket would be used to transfer barge sediments to shore, with best management practices applied such as not overtopping the bucket, using all precautions necessary to prevent material from spilling into the waterway. If a hopper and conveyor belt is used to transport sediments to shore, the conveyor would have a sheath beneath it so any fallen material would be contained. When sediments are transported by rail or roadway and do not meet DEQ upland fill criteria, the haul trucks and/or rail cars would be lined to prevent release of any sediment or decant water during transport. Large pieces of recyclable material would be removed with sediments and may be taken to an approved recycling center. A post-grading hydrographic survey was conducted to ensure that the material identified to be graded were leveled to the proper, authorized depth. The implementation of appropriate erosion control measures (e.g. silt fencing) would be where sedimentation from temporary and localized ground disturbances could occur. The implementation of a spill prevention, control, and containment (SPCC) plan for individual terminals and their overall marine operations during berth maintenance. Each contractor would develop and implement an individual SPCC for each specific berth project that is identified. 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: Seven (7) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2007-240-3. 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.
Authority: The proposed project will be evaluated 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 Willamette and Columbia Federal Navigation Channels.
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 (has) initiate(d) 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 (has) initiate(d) 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’ project manager identified at the end of this notice to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.
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 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
Kinsey M. Friesen
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
Telephone: (503) 808-4378
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification
Notice Issued: September 19, 2023
Written Comments Due: October 19, 2023
Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2007-240-3
Oregon Department of State Lands No: N/A
WHO IS THE APPLICANT: Port of Portland
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.
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 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 email@example.com