Comments Period: May 5, 2017 – June 5, 2017
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the US-40 Widening (UDOT) project, which would result in impacts to approximately 3.74 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to Duchesne River. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. This notice may also be viewed at the Corps web site at www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Utah Department of Transportation, Region 3
Attn: Mr. Dan Bolin
658 North 1500 West
Orem, Utah 84057
LOCATION: The approximately 6-mile project site is located along United States Route 40 (US-40) from Milepost 97.2 to Milepost 103.5, Latitude 40.23303°, Longitude -110.06068°, between Bridgeland and Myton City, Duchesne County, Utah., and can be seen on the UT-MYTON USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to improve safety and optimize mobility along a 6.3-mile section of US-40. US-40 is a major thoroughfare between the Wasatch Front and eastern Utah, and experiences heavy truck traffic from nearby oil/gas wells. Currently this section is two lanes with narrow shoulders. There are passing lanes to the east and west of the project area, which create a choke point for this section of highway. The proposed project would widen US-40 from Gray Mountain Road (MP 100.53) to MP 101.43 to include an east and westbound passing lanes. A center turn lane would also be included in this section and wider shoulders. A median turn lane would be added at 10500 West (MP 98.10) and at 9250 West (MP 99.40). The Pleasant Valley/Sand Wash intersection at 5500 West would have the westbound lane extended. Existing culverts would either be lined or replaced depending on condition. The road widths would be 24 feet to 62 feet, with 10 foot shoulders. The fill slopes would be 6:1 within the clear zone and 2:1 outside the clear zone. The proposed project would permanently impact 2.9 acres of palustrine emergent and 0.41 acre of shrub/scrub wetland, and temporarily impact 0.17 acre of palustrine emergent wetland. No information has been provided by the applicant concerning secondary and indirect impacts; however, the Corps will evaluate the potential for these impacts during the permitting process. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to improve safety and mobility. The applicant believes there is a need to improve safety and mobility along this section of US-40. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 7.04 acres of wetlands within the 99 acre aquatic resource study area. The site is characterized by a highway adjacent to rural agricultural land with areas of greasewood flats and wet meadow. US-40 and the properties north are located within the floodplain of the Duchesne River. The 7.04 acres of wetlands are adjacent to the Duchesne River and are classified as 6.45 acres of palustrine emergent and 0.59 acre of shrub/scrub wetland. The palustrine emergent wetland is mainly comprised of Baltic rush (Juncus balticus) with areas of cattail (Typha latifolia), three square bulrush (Schoenoplectus pungens) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea). The shrub/scrub wetland is mainly comprised of coyote willow (Salix exigua), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), and Baltic rush (Juncus balticus).
Alternatives. The applicant has not provided information concerning project alternatives. 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 has proposed to acquire an adjacent private property consisting of 54.7 acres that has spring fed wetlands and a portion of the Duchesne River. Mitigation would include establishment, enhancement and preservation of wetlands.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Utah State Division of Water Quality, is required for this project. The applicant has indicated they have applied for 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. Written comments on water quality certification should be submitted to Mr. Bill Damery, Utah Division of Water Quality, P.O. Box 144870, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870, or email firstname.lastname@example.org on or before June 5, 2017.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The applicant has not provided a cultural resource report that meets the Corps minimum standards. Upon receipt of the report, the Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
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-2014-00496 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 5, 2017.
Hollis Jencks, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Bountiful Regulatory Office
533 West 2600 South, Suite 150
Bountiful, Utah 84010
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 Hollis Jencks, (801) 295-8380X18, Hollis.G.Jencks@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 12 drawings