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Public Notices

Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

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SPK-2017-00387, Desert Color Development Project, Saint George, Washington County, UT

Posted: 10/4/2017

Expiration date: 11/3/2017


Comments Period: October 4, 2017 – November 3, 2017

SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Desert Color Development Project which would result in direct impacts to approximately 8.6 acres of waters of the United States within the project area. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.

AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.

APPLICANT: State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, 2303 North Coral Canyon Blvd, Suite 100A, Washington, Utah 84780-2261

LOCATION: The approximately 42.7-acre project site is located directly south of Black Mountain Drive, between Interstate 15 and the Southern Parkway (State Road 7), Latitude 37.0062°, Longitude -113.6003°, in the city of Saint George, Washington County, Utah and can be seen on the UT-Saint George USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), is proposing to develop vacant SITLA land. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a residential/commercial development on the SITLA property. The applicant believes there is a need to impact waters of the U.S. in order to provide access and flood protection for the portion of the development located between the ephemeral Atkinville and Lizard Washes (streams). Proposed work in the project area involves the construction of four bridges across the two streams and the armoring of portions of these streams. Bridge construction would involve the placement of bridge structures within the washes and bank stabilization near the bridges. Construction of the four bridges would result in approximately 0.6 acre in permanent impacts and 0.78 acre in temporary impacts to these ephemeral washes. To protect against flooding, it is proposed that fill be placed in portions of the two streams and that the banks be armored in order to elevate the development above the FEMA designated 100-year floodplain, resulting in approximately 1.49 acres (1,600 linear feet) of temporary impacts for grading and 3.53 acres (1,400 linear feet) of permanent impacts for the placement of fill and riprap on Lizard Wash; and approximately 1.25 acres (1,412 linear feet) of temporary impacts for grading and 0.94 acre (685 linear feet) of permanent impacts for the placement of fill and riprap on Atkinville Wash. Construction activity would involve land clearing near the impact sites and construction of permanent paved roads and trails at the bridge locations. The applicant has indicated that all planned activities, including the location of staging areas, will take place within 50 feet of the washes. The attached maps and drawings provide additional project details. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

     Environmental Setting. The project site is located in the Mojave Desert at an elevation of approximately 2,600 feet. Annual precipitation is approximately 8 inches. Atkinville and Lizard Wash are ephemeral streams of approximately 3,500 linear feet and 3,000 linear feet in length, respectively, and are both 200-300 feet wide (unaltered) running north to south through the project area. There are no wetlands in the project area. Previous disturbances in the area includes extensive grading between the two washes and stabilization of portions of the two ephemeral washes with riprap, gabion structures and geotextile. Dominant native vegetation within the project area include four-wing saltbush (Atriplex confertifolia), white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) and cresosote bush (Larrea tridentate). The soils within the project area are primarily moderately to well-sorted gravel and silt and clay formed from stream and floodplain deposition. Soils from the Moenkopi formation, which provides suitable habitat for Holgren milkvetch (Astragals holmgreniorum) and siler pincushion cactus (Pediocactus sileri) are found just outside of the project area, though the soils nearest the project area have largely been removed/altered through grading.

     Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives. Additional information concerning project alternatives may be available from the applicant or their agent. Other alternatives may develop during the review process for this permit application. All reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment, will be considered.

    Mitigation. The Corps requires that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize all impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. The applicant is proposing that there be no compensatory mitigation because the areas within the project site have been previously disturbed and partially developed, and because a significant portion of the proposed work is a continuation of channelization improvements to Atkinville and Lizard Wash, which were completed under a previous USACE authorization.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: A Section 401 Water Quality Certification or a waiver from the Utah Division of Water Quality is required for Corps issuance of a standard individual permit for the proposed project. This requirement comes from the authority of Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act, (33 U.S.C. Subsection 1341) and is consistent with the Utah Water Quality Act, Title 19, Chapter 5, Utah Code Ann. 1953, as amended and Utah Administrative Code R317-15. The applicant has indicated that they have applied for this certification. Projects are usually certified where the project may create diffuse sources (non-point sources) of wastes which will occur only during the actual construction activity and where best management practices would be employed to minimize pollution effects. A person who wishes to challenge such certification may only raise an issue or argument during an adjudicatory proceeding that is raised during the public comment period and is supported with sufficient information or documentation to enable the Director to fully consider the substance and significance of the issue. Utah Code Ann. 19-1-301.5 can be viewed at the following URL: http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE19/htm/19_01_030105.htm. Written comments specific to the Section 401 Water Quality Certification relative to this public notice should be submitted to Mr. Bill Damery, Utah Division of Water Quality, P.O. Box 144870, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870, or wdamery@utah.gov by November 3, 2017.

HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, including applicant's report titled A Cultural Resource Inventory of the Desert Color Project Area, Washington County, Utah, no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. The Corps has initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps has initiated informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Corps will initiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as appropriate.

The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.

EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, 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 described activity 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 activity's impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether 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 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: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2017-00387 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 3, 2017.

Craig Brown, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Saint George Regulatory Office
196 E Tabernacle Street, Suite 30
Saint George, Utah 84770-3474
Email: Craig.J.Brown@usace.army.mil

The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the applicant or the Corps' project manager Craig Brown, (435) 986-3979, Craig.J.Brown@usace.army.mil.

Attachments: 17 maps/drawings