Comments Period: October 31, 2018 – November 30, 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is proposing to revise and re-issue Regional General Permit (RGP) 7 for Construction and Maintenance of Flood Control Facilities under the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) Master Plan. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed RGP 7 and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This RGP would authorize activities subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
LOCATION: This RGP would authorize activities in streams, drainage ditches, drainage channels, and wetlands within the CCRFCD Master Plan, Clark County, Nevada.
RGP DESCRIPTION: The proposed RGP 7 would authorize permanent and temporary discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., including wetlands, needed to construct or maintain flood control facilities funded by or constructed in accordance with the CCRFCD program. See the enclosed RGP 7 for a full description of the authorized activities, terms, and conditions.
Background. RGP 7 was originally issued by the Sacramento District in May, 2002, for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States, including wetlands, for the construction of minor new flood control facilities and the routine maintenance of existing flood control facilities in Clark County, Nevada. The RGP 7 was re-issued on September 1, 2007 and on August 7, 2013, each time with minor modifications. The previously authorized RGP 7 expired on August 7, 2018.
The RGP 7 is intended to authorize fill activities necessary to construct and maintain flood control facilities funded by, or built in accordance with, the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) program under one permit, to streamline the permitting process for routine maintenance activities, provide mitigation certainty for new construction projects, and authorize minor impact activities which do not qualify for issuance under a Nationwide Permit. Activities that would qualify for processing through the proposed RGP 7 are fill activities resulting in unavoidable relatively minor impacts, mainly to previously modified drainage channels in urbanized areas and, therefore, do not warrant more detailed processing.
In order to ensure RGP 7 authorizes no more than minimal direct, indirect, and cumulative adverse effects to the aquatic environment for a variety of flood control activities, the Corps is proposing to modify this RGP and re-issue for a 5-year period. As part of the proposed modifications, the Corps is proposing to modify certain permit terms, adjust impact thresholds, place some restrictions on the types of activities authorized, clarify requirements for compensatory mitigation, modify formatting to be consistent with existing RGPs, and modify the review process for evaluating proposed activities under RGP 7.
Summary of Substantial Proposed Changes to RGP 7.
The Existing RGP 7 was not clear with respect to the geographic extent of areas covered. Proposed RGP 7 includes detailed figures and describes specifically the locations where flood control activities are expected to occur. Proposed RGP 7 also clearly identifies locations subject to the various impact thresholds and activity restrictions, and clearly identifies areas where detailed evaluation of compensatory mitigation is required.
Existing RGP 7 authorizes up to 1 acre of wetland impacts within the Las Vegas Urban Boundary but does not authorize impacts to wetlands in areas outside of the Las Vegas Urban Boundary. Proposed RGP 7 would continue to authorize up to 1 acre of wetland impacts within the Las Vegas Urban Boundary and would also authorize up to 0.5 acre of wetland impacts in areas outside of the Las Vegas Urban Boundary.
Existing RGP 7 does not authorize impacts to perennial streams within Laughlin, within the Boulder City Urban Boundary, or within the City of Mesquite. Proposed RGP 7 would authorize up to 500 linear feet of impacts to perennial streams within those areas but would place restrictions on the types of activities authorized in perennial streams.
Existing RGP 7 does not authorize impacts to intermittent streams within Laughlin or within the Boulder City Urban Boundary but does authorize up to 2,500 linear feet of impacts to ephemeral streams in those areas. Proposed RGP 7 would authorize up to 2,500 linear feet of impacts to intermittent and ephemeral streams within Laughlin and within the Boulder City Urban Boundary.
Existing RGP 7 does not authorize impacts to intermittent streams within the City of Mesquite but does authorize up to 2,500 linear feet of impacts to ephemeral streams in that area. Proposed RGP 7 would authorize up to 750 linear feet of impacts to intermittent and ephemeral streams within the City of Mesquite.
Existing RGP 7 authorizes up to 500 linear feet of impacts to the Muddy River and the Virgin River. Proposed RGP 7 would continue to authorize up to 500 linear feet of impacts to those rivers but would place restrictions on the types of activities authorized.
Existing RGP 7 specifies that compensatory mitigation may be required to offset unavoidable impacts, depending on the type of activity and location. Proposed RGP 7 would use a geographic approach to specify locations where detailed evaluation of compensatory mitigation is required.
Pre-Construction Notification Procedures and Review Process:
The processes for pre-construction notification and review by the Corps have been consolidated and clarified. Proposed RGP 7 contains a Notification Procedures section, which provides the requirements for a complete notification, and a Review Process section, which describes the process and timing for the evaluation of activities.
A number of the General Conditions of the existing RGP 7 have been modified, removed, or relocated in the proposed RGP 7, and some new General Conditions have been added, to be consistent with the Sacramento District General Permit template as well as the Nationwide Permit General Conditions.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act will be requested from the State of Nevada.
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, 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 our preliminary review.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue the RGP will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the covered activities 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 proposed RGP must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposed RGP 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 RGP'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 RGP. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue or modify the proposed RGP 7. 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 RGP 7.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2007-00300 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 30, 2018.
Matt Wilson, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Bountiful Regulatory Office
533 West 2600 South, Suite 150
Bountiful, Utah 84010-7744
The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposed RGP'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 RGP. 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 Matt Wilson, (801) 295-8380, ext. 8311, Matthew.S.Wilson@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: Proposed RGP 7 Construction and Maintenance of Flood Control Facilities under the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) Master Plan