Comments Period: October 26, 2018 – November 26, 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Midvalley Highway, Tooele County project, which would result in impacts to approximately 11.58 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the Great Salt Lake. 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: UDOT Region 2,
Attn: Mr. Oanh Le-Spradlin,
2010 South 2760 West,
Salt Lake City, Utah 84104
LOCATION: The approximately 603-acre project site is located between Interstate 80 and State Route 138, in Sections 7, 8, 13, 18, 24, 25, and 26, Township 2 South, Range 2 West, Latitude 40.60508°, Longitude -112.296258°, Tooele County, Utah, and can be seen on the Tooele USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct the Midvalley Highway between State Road 138 (SR-138) and Interstate 80 (I-80). The highway would be four lanes and would include a new interchange at I-80 and SR-138. The interchange at I-80 would consist of single-lane ramps from eastbound and westbound I-80 to southbound Midvalley Highway and from northbound Midvalley Highway to eastbound and westbound I-80. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to meet long-term transportation needs in the Tooele Valley by increasing north-south transportation capacity and reducing anticipated congestion on SR-36 and I-80. The applicant believes there is a need to provide additional regional mobility to the area. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 34.49 acres of wet meadow, 1.56 acres of emergent marsh, 63.96 acres of vegetative mineral flat, 5,627 linear feet of stream, and 2,037 linear feet of canal/ditches present within the project area. The project site is situated in the center of the arid Tooele Valley on the plain of historic Lake Bonneville, approximately
1.5-2.0 miles south of the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake. The area has slightly undulating terrain, with elevations ranging from approximately 2,226-4,230 feet. The site is characterized by relatively flat non-irrigated lands with convex depressions composed of sparsely-vegetated barren flats and higher elevations dominated by scrub-shrub vegetation.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided detailed information concerning project alternatives. Prior to submittal of the 404 application, nine alternatives were analyzed during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process before the proposed alignment was selected as the preferred alternative. During the EIS process, the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked closely with Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a cooperating agencies and commented on pre-scoping, scoping and draft and final versions of the EIS document. The EPA has concurred that the preferred alternative represents the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). Additional information concerning project alternatives is available at the UDOT website https://www.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=37955511959910116. 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 mitigate at a 2:1 ratio by establishing 24 acres of primarily vegetated mineral flats within a 37 acre site. The site would mimic the mosaic wetland habitats of the Tooele Valley and would include wet meadow, playa, uplands and an upland buffer from the proposed highway. The proposed site is located adjacent to a wetland impact area (known as MF-4) on the southeast side of the proposed road. The mitigation site would be excavated and graded to near groundwater elevation to create microtopography swales running north south. The excavated area would be broadcasted with seeds of desirable species. The mitigation area would be monitored annually for at least five years to ensure proposed performance standards are met.
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 Jodi Gardberg, Utah Division of Water Quality, P.O. Box 144870, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870, or email@example.com on or before November 26, 2018.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: UDOT, acting on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration, is the lead federal agency responsible for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Corps will act as cooperating agency and adopt determinations, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: UDOT, acting on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration, is the lead federal agency responsible for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The Corps will act as cooperating agency and adopt determinations, as appropriate. UDOT has indicated 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 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-2007-00789 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 26, 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: 13 drawings