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-2010-50-1

Portland District
Published June 5, 2024
Expiration date: 7/6/2024

Public Notice
Application for a Department of the Army Permit 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Public Notice Date: June 5, 2024
Regulatory Branch
P.O. Box 2946                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Expiration Date: July 6, 2024
Portland, OR 97208-2946
Telephone: (503) 808-4378                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reference No.: NWP-2010-50-1
ATTN: Kinsey M. Friesen
            Project Manager

Interested parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) has received an application to perform work in waters of the U.S. as described below and shown on the attached drawings. The Corps is soliciting comments on the proposed work.

The Corps will review the work in accordance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. 

The Corps will also review the work in accordance with Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as codified at 33 U.S.C. Section 408 (Section 408), for work that may 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 Columbia River Navigation Channel. 

APPLICANT:    Port of Vancouver
                         Attention: Matt Harding
                         3103 Lower River Road
                         Vancouver, WA 98660
                         Email: mharding@Portvanusa.com
                         Telephone: (360) 823-5317


PROJECT LOCATION: The project is located at the Port of Vancouver, Terminal 5, approximate River Mile (RM) 103 on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. The site is in Section 19, Township 2 North, Range 1 East. Latitude/Longitude: 45.644975°, -122.731582°.

MITIGATION LOCATION:
1. The Port of Vancouver, Terminal 2, approximate RM 105 on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. The site is in Section 28, Township 2 North, Range 1 East. Latitude/Longitude: 45.628771°, -122.691592°.
2. Buckmire Slough is located near Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. The site is in Section 31, Township 3 North, Range 1 East. Latitude/Longitude: 45.698850°, -122.730961°.

WATERWAY: The project is located within the Columbia River at approximate RM 103 and 105 as well as Buckmire Slough.

PROJECT PURPOSE: The applicant’s stated purpose is to construct a loading facility designed to receive, handle, store, load, and export products using freight rail and shipping vessels.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Port of Vancouver (Port) would improve Terminal 5 to include three primary infrastructure components; rail infrastructure, materials storage and handling, and a berth with ship loaders. The components of project construction within or over the Columbia River include the berth with ship loaders and a stormwater outfall approximately 1,025 feet long by 225 feet wide. This project was previously authorized under NWP-2010-50-1 and the Port is seeking a 5 year extension to complete the work that was previously authorized. 

    In- Water and Over-Water Project Components
The in-water and over-water construction activities include a berth with ship loaders, quadrant beams and pivot supports, mooring and berthing dolphins, maintenance platforms, and access trestles. The in-water construction activities include pile installation and removal of dolphins, the removal of the existing stormwater outfall pipe and pile support, the installation of a potential headwall and riprap for the existing stormwater outfall, and the removal of existing wood piles. The new overwater structures will permanently cover a total of 20,012 square feet (sf) (0.46 acres) of the Columbia River. The new piles will permanently fill a total of 1,556.5 sf (0.036 acres) and the new riprap will fill a total of 260 sf (0.006 ac.) below the OHWM.

a.    Ship loading System
The ship loading system will be designed to serve the facility to accommodate vessels capable of navigating the Columbia River channel, ranging in size from 20,000 to 60,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT). Exported products will be transported to a dual-quadrant ship loader system on a fully enclosed belt conveyor system. The berth structures for the dual-quadrant ship loading system will consist of two ship loaders, quadrant beams, and pivot supports along with an access roadway, central maintenance access platform, four berthing dolphins, two mooring dolphins, and interconnecting catwalks. The ship loader feed conveyors will be self-supporting spans, using steel trusses, and will be supported on piled bents and cast-in-place (CIP) reinforced concrete pile caps.

The deck structure will be constructed of reinforced concrete pile caps, steel grated frame beams,
and composite concrete topping. The maintenance platform is a piled structure with concrete pile caps and will be equipped with fender systems and mooring bollards for ship mooring lines. The mooring dolphins will be piled structures with concrete pile caps, and will be placed beyond the berthing dolphins to accommodate bow and stern mooring lines.

b.    Quadrant Beams and Pivot Supports:
The dual quadrant ship loaders will be supported by pivot pile caps at the shoreline and by pile supported quadrant beams at the berth. Each pivot pile cap will be CIP concrete and will be topped by a concrete pivot bearing upstand that supports the end of the ship loader. Two pile-supported quadrant beams will support the crane rail, allowing the ship loader truck assemblies to travel along an arc to load the multiple holds on the vessels. Each of the quadrant beams will consist of CIP concrete pile caps. Nine precast concrete box girders will rest on the pile cap to support the crane rail and provide a maintenance walkway.

c.    Mooring and Berthing Dolphins and Maintenance Platform:
For vessel mooring, four breasting dolphins and one center maintenance platform will be constructed. Each of the breasting dolphins and the maintenance platform will include a series of cone rubber fenders and steel fender panels attached one above the other to a precast concrete panel. The positioning will allow the berth to operate at a variety of river levels. The maintenance platform will be supported by thirty 48-inch diameter steel batter piles supporting a CIP concrete pile cap.

Four mooring dolphins will be constructed; two will be constructed upstream and two constructed downstream of the ship loaders to provide anchoring points for bow or stern lines. Each mooring dolphin will consist of four 48-inch diameter steel batter piles supporting a CIP concrete pile cap. Access to the mooring dolphins will be provided from the ship loader quadrant beams by 6-feet and 6-3/4-inch-wide steel grated walkways.

d.    Access Trestles
An access trestle measuring 21 feet wide will be constructed of steel frame grated box beams supported on steel pipe piles with steel bull rail. The trestle will be supported on land by a pile-supported abutment located above the OHWM and by the maintenance platforms. The maintenance platform will be supported by four 48-inch diameter steel pipe piles.

e.    Stormwater Outfall
The existing stormwater outfall pipe and six support piles will be removed waterward of the concrete anchor block at the riverbank. Eight new H-piles to support the replacement pipe will be
installed using a vibratory hammer. A portion of the concrete anchor block will be removed, and, if necessary, a new concrete headwall constructed above the OHWM. If constructed, the headwall will be an approximately 6 inches thick CIP concrete at the anchor block. Additional shoreline riprap will be required at the pipe outlet approximately 260 sf with a volume of approximately 20 cubic yards (cy).

A temporary access point will be constructed for access to the outfall location for vehicles and equipment, removal of a portion of the anchor block and, if necessary, construction of the new headwall, and placement of riprap splash pad. The temporary access and associated activities above the OHWM may be constructed "in the dry” and outside the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in-water work window (IWWW) depending on the Columbia River elevation or would occur during the IWWW. The existing pipe will be cut slightly above the OHWM and a section removed to allow work from the bank landward during the late summer and in the dry. Relining the pipe may occur from the water side using a barge or floating work platform. The remaining portions of the existing pipe, supports, and piling will be removed, and the riprap will be placed during the IWWW.

    Construction Methods
a.    Pile Removal and Installation
Pile removal and pile installation activities will occur below the OHWM of the Columbia River. Piles will be removed by vibratory extraction or by pulling them directly with a crane mounted on a barge. It is anticipated that for 80 percent of the installation activities, a vibratory and impact hammers will operate concurrently, and 20 percent of the installation activities, two impact hammers will operate concurrently resulting in approximately 600 to 3,000 total strikes per day. It is anticipated that one to two piles will be installed each day. The vibratory hammer will be operated for between 1 and 3 hours per pile. Following vibratory driving to refusal, an impact hammer will be used to drive piles to their final tip elevations. An impact hammer will be needed to "proof' some of the structural piles. Where the impact hammer is used, a bubble curtain will be installed. If necessary, other noise attenuation methods such as pile cap or pile cushion will be used in conjunction with the bubble curtain.

The project would include approximately ninety-five, 48-inch diameter steel piles and five, 54-inch diameter steel piles below the OHWM of the Columbia River. Depending on the Columbia River elevation, the five 54-inch piles may be installed “in the dry” and outside the approved IWWW. To achieve sufficient structural capacity the open-ended piles will be filled with concrete from the mudline. Concrete would be installed by gravity feed from a hopper through a vertical pipe extending from above the surface to the underwater floor after removing water from inside the piles. Such water will be contained on a barge for upland disposal.

The in-water piles will be installed by a crane located on a derrick barge with piles and materials stored on a work barge and a tugboat. Shoreline piles are expected to be installed from shore by land-based equipment. 

Temporary piles will be used to support pile installation guides to enable correct positioning and alignment of the permanent piles and formwork for the concrete superstructure. Three or four temporary piles are anticipated to be installed during construction in up to 23 different locations to total approximately 95 temporary piles. These temporary piles will be 18- to 24-inches, diameter open-ended steel pipe and will be driven solely with a vibratory hammer.

b.    Demolition and Installation of Marine Structure Components
The existing 31-pile dolphin and catwalk will be demolished using a barge-mounted crane. The existing timber piles will be unbolted and extracted with a vibratory hammer. Installation of the marine structure over the water will consist of CIP and precast elements and marine structure outfitting. Precast elements will be constructed off site and delivered by barge to the work site where they will be placed by a barge-mounted crane. CIP elements will utilize concrete-proof wooden forms attached to piles with friction collars or other appropriate temporary structures used to support forms for concrete. Concrete will be delivered by barge or trucks and pumped into the forms. Placement of all required mechanical equipment, steel walkways, ship loaders, electrical utilities, and surface features on the dock structures will be completed using a barge-mounted crane.

 

Table 1 Summary of Aquatic Impacts

Activity

Waterbody

Area to be Impacted

Duration

Approximate Amount of Fill or Removed

Approximate Area of Fill or Removal (square feet)

Pile Installation

Columbia River

All Water Depths

Temporary

95 tubular steel piles, 18–24-inch

283

Pile Installation

Columbia River

Rip-rap bank below OHWM

Permanent

5 tubular steel piles, 54 inches

80

Pile Installation

Columbia River

20-feet below OHWM or deeper

Permanent

95 tubular steel piles, 48 inches (90+5 contingency)

 

1,194

Over-water Shading

Columbia River

Rip-rap bank below OHWM

Permanent

No material to be placed below OHWM

1,671

Over-water Shading

Columbia River

From OHWM out to 20-foot from OHWM

Permanent

No material to be placed below OHWM

145

Over-water Shading

Columbia River

20-foot from OHWM or deeper

Permanent

No material to be placed below OHWM

20,012

Stormwater Outfall

Columbia River

Ri-rap bank below OHWM

Permanent

260 square foot rip-rap apron of existing pipe and support piles to be removed

260

 

MITIGATION: The applicant has provided a proposed compensatory non-wetland mitigation to offset losses of waters of the U.S. that may result from the proposed project through removal of treated timber piles and riparian shoreline planting with invasive species removal. At Terminal 5, 31 existing dolphin and catwalk piles will be removed and at Terminal 2, 177 treated timber piles located in relatively shallow water would be removed at approximate RM 105. Approximately two treated timber piles will be removed for each permanent pile placed. The Port will remove invasive plant species and plant 2,650 square feet of native riparian tree and shrub plantings at Buckmire Slough, near Lake River. The Corps will determine the type and amount of compensatory mitigation necessary to offset environmental losses from the proposed project. 

DRAWINGS: Eleven (11) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2010-50-1. 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: Other components of the project include BMPs such as wick drains, turbidity monitoring, turbidity reduction measures, (e.g., silt curtain or screen, or a fish diversion curtain) around sites to protect Columbia River water quality and fish species. The exported products will be transported to the dual-quadrant ship loader system on a fully enclosed belt conveyor system to prevent the ingress of moisture and foreign objects and to minimize fugitive dust emissions.


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 Section 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.

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 has initiated 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 has initiated 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 Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, 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 impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed 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 proposal, 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, considerations 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.

STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORIZATIONS: This proposal is the subject of Shorelines Substantial Development Permit No. SHL2011-00001 processed by the City of Vancouver, WA.

COMMENT AND REVIEW PERIOD: Conventional mail or email comments on this public notice will be accepted and made part of the record and will be considered in determining whether authorizing the work would not be contrary to the public interest. In order to be accepted, email comments must originate from the author’s email account and must include on the subject line of the email message the permit applicant’s name and Corps reference number as shown on page one. Either conventional mail or email comments must include the permit applicant’s name and reference number, and the commenter’s name, address, and phone number. All comments whether conventional mail or email must reach this office, no later than the expiration date of this public notice to ensure consideration.

COMMENTS: All email comments should be sent to kinsey.m.friesen@usace.army.mil. Conventional mail comments should be sent to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch,
Attention: Kinsey M. Friesen, P.O. Box 2946, Portland, OR 97208-2946. Additional information about the proposed project may be obtained from the Corps Project Manager listed above. 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.