Comment Period: June 2, 2017 – July 1, 2017
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District (Corps), is evaluating a permit application to construct the Eagle River Park project, which would result in impacts to approximately 1.34 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the Eagle River. 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: Mr. John Schneiger, Town of Eagle, 200 Broadway, PO Box 609, Eagle, CO 81631
LOCATION: The approximately 3-acre project site is located immediately upstream of the Eagle County Fairgrounds, within Section 32, Township 4 South, Range 84 West, Latitude 39.656162°, Longitude -106.83109°, Town of Eagle, Eagle County, Colorado, and can be seen on the CO-EAGLE USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a whitewater park within a previously channelized reach of the Eagle River, immediately upstream of the Eagle County Fairgrounds. The whitewater structures are designed as typical U-structures, which are intended to create recreationally desirable waves and currents. The proposed U-structures will be anchored into the banks with large boulders. The low point of the arch will be sunken into the riverbed so that the crest of the structure will be roughly even with the proposed river bed. Additional rock structures proposed to be built onsite include four boulder deflectors, bank armoring, an island bar, a fish bypass channel, a roughened rock ramp, an ADA access ramp, and river access points.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a whitewater park to help expand recreation-based tourism in the local area. The applicant believes there is a need to provide river‐based recreation opportunities, which do not currently exist, for Eagle residents and tourists through the creation of the Eagle River Park. The project as proposed would result in permanent impacts to 0.64 acre of wetland and 0.74 acre of perennial stream. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The site is a highly impacted and previously channelized reach of the Eagle River and includes the Eagle County diversion. The proposed project reach was re-routed in the early 1970’s with the construction of Interstate 70 (I-70). The construction resulted in the compete realignment of the Eagle River away from its historic, meandering channel into a newly constructed, narrower channel. Wetlands occur along both sides of the river. There are approximately 1.03 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands within the project area. The south bank of the Eagle River includes a steep terrace, with a horse pasture in the upland area and a narrow band of wooded riparian zone along the toe and slope of the bank. Wetlands on the north bank are confined by the steep banks and are heavily impacted by historic fill and an existing truck parking lot. The Eagle River in the project area consists of a series of riffles/drops alternating with runs.
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 has proposed onsite creation of 0.645 acres of wetlands throughout the project area on both the south and north bank between the base flow level and Ordinary High Water Mark of the river.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required for this project. The applicant has not indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: 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 Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries 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 (EFH) 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-2016-00412 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 1, 2017.
Matthew Montgomery, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
400 Rood Avenue, Room 224
Grand Junction, Colorado 81501
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 Matthew Montgomery, (970) 243-1199 extension 1017, Matthew.R.Montgomery@usace.army.mil.