Comments Period: April 18, 2019 – May 17, 2019
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Bear Lake Vegetation Clearance Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 391 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in three separate areas of Bear 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: Utah State Parks and Recreation, Attn: Mr. Dan Clark, 1549 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
LOCATION: The proposed project areas are located at three different sites on the eastern and southern shoreline of Bear Lake: Rendevous Beach -111.34204°, 41.84787°; Rainbow Cove -111.27137°, 41.97377°; and North Eden Beach -111.26450°, 42.00631°, Rich County, Utah, and can be seen on the Laketown USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to annually maintain three separate beaches along the Bear Lake Shoreline: Rendezvous Beach 320 acres, Rainbow Cove 48 acres and North Eden 23 acres. Lower lake levels have allowed vegetation to encroach closer to current water levels, resulting in a loss of recreational beaches and creation of safety hazards for boaters. Work would be conducted through discing or harrowing of these beaches to prevent regrowth of vegetation. Also, included with this work would be the removal of dead trees and stumps that are a hazard to boaters. This annual maintenance would help in preventing vegetation growth along these beaches when water levels are low and control sand flies. The work would take place below the ordinary high water mark and in areas with less than 5% hydrophytic vegetation. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to improve boater safety and enhance the beaches for recreation. The applicant believes there is a need to improve and provide safer and better beaches at these three locations. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The site is located along the eastern and southern end of Bear Lake and below the ordinary high water mark. This area has a 1% to 2% grade, sloping generally to the west and north. There are approximately 391 acres of lake bed within the project area with sporadic areas of shrubs and trees.
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 not proposed any mitigation.
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: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title19/Chapter1/19-1-S301.5.html . Written comments specific to the Section 401 Water Quality Certification relative to this public notice should be submitted to Leanna Littler, Utah Division of Water Quality, P.O. Box 144870, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870, or email@example.com on or before April 17, 2018.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report titled A Cultural Resource Assessment for Proposed Vegetation Clearing at Bear Lake), no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. 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. 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 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-2006-50137 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before May 17, 2019.
Hollis Jencks, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers
Utah 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 X 8318, Hollis.G.Jencks@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 4 drawings