Proposal to Reissue
Regional General Permit 6 with Modifications for Bonneville Power Administration Funded Habitat Improvement Projects
Download the complete 105-page version of this notice
Issue Date: January 18, 2017
Expiration Date: February 17, 2017
US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2011-127-1
POC: Carrie Bond
Phone #: (503) 808-4387
Interested parties are hereby notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps), proposes to reissue Regional General Permit (RGP) 6 with modifications to authorize projects that receive funding from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to conduct aquatic habitat restoration activities within the Columbia River Basin in Oregon. The Corps is soliciting comments on the attached draft RGP 6.
LOCATION OF AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES: The region for this RGP is the area within the boundary of the Columbia River Basin within the state of Oregon. The RGP would only authorize qualifying activities within the RGP boundary. (Refer to the map on page 12.)
RGP INFORMATION: An RGP is a type of Department of the Army authorization (33 CFR 322.2(f) and 323.3(h)) that is issued on a regional basis for a category or categories of activities when those activities are substantially similar in nature and would cause no more than minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts. An RGP is an effective mechanism available to the Corps to improve the regulatory process for applicants, enhance environmental protection, and make more efficient use of limited resources.
The proposed RGP contains provisions intended to protect the aquatic environment, endangered species, and cultural resources. Work that would not comply with the provisions of the RGP would not be authorized by this permit and may require Department of the Army authorization by a standard individual permit. Moreover, compliance with the provisions of this RGP would not in itself guarantee that the work is authorized by this RGP. Activities that appear to comply with the provisions of this RGP but would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the public interest would not be authorized by this permit.
BPA-FUNDED PROJECTS: This RGP would authorize BPA-funded habitat restoration projects. These restoration activities are designed to maintain, enhance, create, and/or restore watershed functions to benefit fish species, other aquatic organisms, water quality, riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands. Under the Northwest Power Act, the Northwest Power & Conservation Council (NWPCC), representing the four Northwest states, developed a Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (Program) that provides guidance for BPA's fish and wildlife mitigation actions.
Beginning in 1996, BPA began enlisting NWPCC to periodically solicit projects intended to help meet BPA’s share of the Program’s measures and objectives through an open and public process. The NWPCC is directed by the Northwest Power Act to conduct a review of submitted restoration project proposals and to make recommendations to BPA for project funding from BPA’s annual fish and wildlife program budget. The NWPCC accomplishes its review of the project proposals with the assistance of an Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP).
The ISRP must review a sufficient number of projects to ensure that the list of prioritized projects recommended to BPA is consistent with the NWPCC’s program. The ISRP assesses whether projects are based on sound scientific principles, benefit fish and wildlife, and have a clearly defined objective and outcome with provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results. After its review, the ISRP rates each project as fundable, fundable in part, not fundable, or requiring a further response, based on the panel’s application of the criteria. The NWPCC fully considers the ISRP’s evaluation in making its final project recommendations to BPA.
Based largely on the NWPCC’s final recommendations, BPA makes funding decisions and implements projects through contracts with numerous entities, including Columbia Basin tribes, states, other federal agencies, universities, and private vendors. BPA also considers its other fish and wildlife obligations, such as those required by the Endangered Species Act, in the decision making process.
PROJECT PURPOSE: Activities authorized by this RGP would be for the purposes of maintaining, enhancing, creating, and/or restoring watershed functions to benefit fish species, other aquatic organisms, water quality, riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands.
RGP ACTIVITIES DESCRIPTION: The activities proposed for inclusion in this RGP are predictable as to their effects and are consistent with large scale aquatic conservation strategies and the best available science. Modifications from the original RGP 6 include expanding and clarifying the habitat restoration activity categories to closely follow the categories from the BPA Habitat Improvement Program (HIP) biological opinions issued from both the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The original five (5) categories were 1) Surveying, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance Activities; 2) Planning and Habitat Protection Areas; 3) Instream Habitat Actions; 4) Livestock Impact Reduction; and 5) Irrigation and Water Delivery/Management Actions. The proposed nine (9) categories of habitat restoration activities for the new RGP 6 are as follows:
1. Fish Passage Restoration.
a. Dams, Water Control, or Legacy Structure Removal.
b. Consolidate or Replace Existing Irrigation Diversions.
c. Headcut and Grade Stabilization.
d. Low Flow Consolidation.
e. Providing Fish Passage at an Existing Facility.
f. Bridge and Culvert Removal or Replacement.
g. Bridge and Culvert Maintenance.
h. Installation of Fords.
2. River, Stream, Floodplain, and Wetland Restoration.
a. Improve Secondary Channel and Wetland Habitats.
b. Set-back or Removal of Existing, Berms, Dikes, and Levees.
c. Protect Streambanks Using Bioengineering Methods.
d. Install Habitat-Forming Natural Material Instream Structures (Large Wood, Boulders, and Spawning Gravel).
e. Riparian Vegetation Planting.
f. Channel Reconstruction.
3. Invasive and Non-Native Plant Control.
a. Manage Vegetation using Physical Controls.
b. Manage Vegetation using Herbicides.
4. Road and Trail Erosion Control, Maintenance, and Decommissioning.
a. Maintain Roads.
b. Decommission Roads.
5. Piling Removal.
6. In-channel Nutrient Enhancement.
7. Irrigation and Water Delivery/Management Actions.
a. Convert Delivery System to Drip or Sprinkler Irrigation.
b. Convert Water Conveyance from Open Ditch to Pipeline or Line Leaking Ditches or Canals.
c. Convert from Instream Diversions to Groundwater Wells for Primary Water Sources.
d. Install or Replace Return Flow Cooling Systems.
e. Install Irrigation Water Siphon Beneath Waterway.
f. Livestock Watering Facilities.
g. Install New or Upgrade/Maintain Existing Fish Screens.
8. Fisheries, Hydrologic, and Geomorphologic Surveys.
9. Special Actions (for Terrestrial Species).
a. Install/Develop Wildlife Structures.
b. Fencing Construction for Livestock Control.
c. Implement Erosion Control Practices.
d. Plant Vegetation.
e. Tree Removal for LW Projects.
For each individual project proposed to be implemented under this RGP, the prospective permittee will notify the Corps. Pre-construction notification or post-construction notification to the Corps is required based on the type of project (e.g., Level 1-4). For Level 1 projects, the permittee will notify the Corps within 60 days of completion of the work. Levels 2 through 4 require notification a minimum of 45 days prior to the proposed start date. Notification will at a minimum include project location, projected start and completion dates, activity type, and brief project description. The notification requirements will vary depending on the complexity of the project.
Attached to this public notice are the draft RGP and the General Aquatic Conservation Measures Applicable to All Actions, Project Descriptions, and Project-Specific Conservation Measures proposed to be included within the RGP.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The original RGP 6 was issued on October 15, 2011 and authorized five (5) activity categories. The RGP expired on October 15, 2016. A total of 51 actions were authorized using RGP 6 over the five-year period.
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.
CLEAN WATER ACT SECTION 404(b)(1) EVALUATION: Discharges of dredged or fill material that would be authorized by the RGP 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: Under Section 401 of Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1341), an activity involving the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. authorized by a Federal permit must receive a water quality certification, or waiver for certification, from the appropriate certifying agency. Activities authorized by this RGP must comply with a general Section 401 certification, receive an individual Section 401 certification, or receive a waiver of the Section 401 certification requirement. Portland District is requesting general Section 401 certification from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for activities authorized by this RGP. Attached is the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality public notice advertising the request for certification.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: Section 307(c) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)), requires non-Federal applicants seeking a federal license or permit to conduct any activity occurring in or affecting the coastal zone to obtain a Consistency Certification which indicates the activity conforms with the State’s 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 RGP, the BPA, as the lead Federal agency for ESA consultation, completed consultation with the NMFS and the USFWS as required under Section 7 of the ESA. The BPA received biological opinions from both the NMFS and USFWS for the aquatic habitat restoration activities proposed for inclusion within this RGP. These opinions can be found on BPA’s website at the following link: https://www.bpa.gov/efw/Analysis/NEPADocuments/Pages/ESA-Process.aspx.
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). For this RGP, the BPA, as the lead Federal agency for MSA consultation, completed consultation with the NMFS as required under Section 305(b)(2) of the MSA.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470), 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. For this project, the BPA, as the lead Federal agency for determining compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA, will consult with the appropriate State and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer as applicable. BPA will individually review projects to determine if activities may affect historic properties. No individual project shall proceed under the RGP until requirements under federal cultural resources and historic preservation laws and regulations are met. This notice has been provided to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), interested Native American Indian Tribes, and other interested parties.
PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request in writing within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider the proposed RGP. Requests for public hearings shall state with particularity the reasons for holding a public hearing.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue the RGP will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the described activities 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 activities, must be balanced against their reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the described activities 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 activities proposed to be authorized by this RGP. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps in its decision on the RGP. Comments received by the Corps will be considered in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments will also be used to determine the need for a public hearing.
Information regarding the Corps’ provisional determination that the proposed activities comply with the requirements for issuance of general permits is available at the Portland District office (see contact information below).
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed RGP. 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 RGP 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
Ms. Carrie Bond
Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
Telephone: (503) 808-4387
Attachments: Draft RGP and General Conservation Measures, Project Descriptions, and Project-Specific Conservation Measures (Attachment 1 to the RGP)
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification
Notice Issued: January 18, 2017
Written Comments Due: February 17, 2017
Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2011-127-1
WHO IS THE APPLICANT: Project Proponent (for individual projects)
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 Certification 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) 229-5263.
Any questions on the water quality certification process may be addressed to the 401 Program Coordinator at (503) 229-6030 or toll free within Oregon at (800) 452-4011. People with hearing impairments may call the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.
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, mailed or faxed 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 Certification Coordinator
Fax - (503) 229-6957
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: This publication is available in alternate format (e.g. large print, Braille) upon request. Please contact DEQ Office of Communications and Outreach at (503) 229-5317 or toll free within Oregon at 1-800-452-4011 to request an alternate format. People with a hearing impairment can receive help by calling the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.
OREGON OCEAN AND COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Date: January 18, 2017
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers No: Corps No. NWP-2011-127-1
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 email@example.com. 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.
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:
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.