Comments Period: June 8, 2018– July 9, 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to convert 15.5 acres of grazing land into agricultural land, which would result in impacts to approximately 1.73 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the South Fork of the Weber 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: Favero Farms LLC,
Attn: Mr. Andrew Favero,
4976 West 3000 South,
Ogden, Utah 84401
LOCATION: The approximately 20-acre site is located at 5100 West and 2600 South, Latitude 41.21449°, Longitude -112.10257°, Ogden, Weber County, Utah, and can be seen on the Plain City USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to improve 15.5 acres of a 20-acre site to provide productive agricultural land. Between 2005 and 2008 the previous landowner filled in approximately 1.09 acres of wetland without a Section 404 permit. The violation was not disclosed to the Favero’s when they purchased the property on October 15, 2009. The Favero’s have been working with the Corps to resolve the violation. The proposed project includes the 1.09 acres of non-authorized wetland impacts and the proposed additional 0.66 acre of wetland impacts. The applicant has proposed to level 15.5 acres of ground to provide for flood irrigation and convert to an agricultural field to grow crops, such as, alfalfa, wheat, barley, and corn. This would be accomplished through importing and leveling 19,000 cubic yards of sandy loam soil. The soil would be spread to allow five tenths of a foot fall for every 100 feet from east to west. The field would be flood irrigate with the water source located in the northeast corner of the property. A ditch would be constructed on the eastern property boundary running north to south and connecting to this water source. A soil barrier/berm would be constructed on the western end of the agricultural field to minimize potential runoff and protect the western wetlands from flooding from irrigation waters. The project including the unauthorized activity would impact a total of 1.73 acres of wet meadow. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to convert 15.5 acres of land to agricultural land for crop rotation. The applicant believes there is a need to improve this site for agricultural purposes. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The property is comprised of 20 acres and the proposed project would encompass 15.5 acres. The site is located on the Great Salt Lake historic low lake terrace with elevations ranging between 4211 feet and 4216 feet. The property is comprised of 2.3 acres of wet meadow and 2.41 acres of open water. Dominant plant species within the wet meadow are saltgrass (Distichilis spicata), blue joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), and three square bulrush (Scirpus pungens). Uplands within the site are dominated by Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Kochia (Bassia scoparia) and other invasive species. General flow for the site and adjacent properties is east to west. Soils within the site are classified as Arave-Saltair Complex and Warm Springs fine sandy loam. Each of these series is listed on the Utah Hydric Soils List. Hydrology for the site wetlands and open water are either ground water or impoundment of water on adjacent properties.
Alternatives. The applicant has not provided detailed information concerning project alternatives. 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 purchase credits from the Machine Lake Mitigation Bank.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Utah 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org on or before July 7, 2018.
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 project would not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by 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-2005-50108 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 9, 2018.
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) 295-8380, ext. 8318, Hollis.G.Jencks@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 2 drawings