Comment Period: June 26, 2020 – July 26, 2020
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge of dredged or fill material and/or work in approximately 3.7 acres of waters to construct the UTA FrontRunner Vineyard project. 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.
APPLICANT: Utah Department of Transportation, Attn: Mr. Rod Hess, 4501 South 2700 West, Taylorsville, Utah, 84129
LOCATION: The approximately two-mile long project site is located along the existing UTA Frontrunner commuter rail right-of-way, just east of Utah Lake and north of the Lindon Marina, Latitude 40.33296°, Longitude -111.76475°, Vineyard, Utah County, Utah, and can be seen on the Pelican Point USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: UDOT received funds programmed for this rail improvement project to reduce consistent delays caused by the implementation of required train control and signaling measures. The project proposes to discharge fill material into waters to construct an extension and access road of the UTA FrontRunner commuter rail track. This approximately two‐mile, double-track extension is being constructed to improve operations by extending an existing double track and would also serve the planned Vineyard commuter rail station that is being designed and constructed in conjunction with this project; however, the station would be built in uplands.
The project includes a new set of tracks and a new single‐lane access road on the west side of the existing FrontRunner tracks from approximately FrontRunner milepost S33.9 to milepost S35.8. The project would include approximately 8,560 feet of new track construction, construction of a new signal house, and a new single‐lane access road to allow for maintenance of the signal equipment. In addition, the project would also require a temporary construction access road and truck turnaround. The total area of wetlands directly impacted by the new rail would be 1.04 acres.
The new signal house would be placed on a pad constructed of road base material with subgrade stabilization. The signal house pad, including side slopes, would be approximately 40 feet x 40 feet, and seven feet high and would impact 0.04 acre of wetland. The permanent single‐lane access road is between ten to twelve feet wide, depending on existing ground elevations and would be approximately 8,230 feet long. The road would be constructed with road base and would impact approximately 0.69 acre of wetland. The temporary construction access road would be a 16 to 20-foot wide road for about 1,640 feet between the north end of the new track and the Timpanogos Special Services District wastewater treatment facility. Approximately half of the length of the temporary construction access road would avoid wetlands by utilizing an existing road bed. The temporary access road would be constructed with road base and a geotextile fabric would be laid under the subgrade stabilization to facilitate easier removal of all of the material after construction is complete. There would also be a temporary 1,175-foot long truck turnaround area adjacent to the new track. The temporary access road and turn around would temporarily impact 1.92 acres of wetland. The construction of the new track and permanent access road would require a 15-foot extension of the existing culvert at Lindon Hollow Creek.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to address existing and projected schedule deficiencies while allowing for additional FrontRunner service to be provided to the Vineyard Station. The proposed project would permanently impact 1.77 acres of freshwater marsh wetland and 15 linear feet (0.005 acre) of Lindon Hollow Creek, and temporarily impact 1.92 acres of freshwater marsh wetland.
Environmental Setting. The proposed project is located along an existing rail line that is located east of Utah Lake. The 25.4-acre project site contains approximately 15.4 acres of palustrine emergent wetland. These 15.4 acres of wetland within the site support a freshwater marsh plant community comprised mainly of common reed (Phragmites australis), cattail (Typha latifolia), and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea). The site also contain approximately 4.6 acres of pond and 480 linear feet (0.063 acre) of ditch. The remainder of the site is mainly within the UTA rail right of way that is comprised of cheat grass (Bromus tectorum), smooth brome (Bromus inermis), tall wheatgrass (Agropyron elongatum), and whitetop (Cardaria draba).
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives; however, the three additional alternatives only address the permanent access road component of the project, which varies from 0.49 to 0.76 acre of impact to waters. 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 to deduct 1.75 credits from the UDOT Northern Utah County 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: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title19/Chapter1/19-1-S301.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 July 26, 2020.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report titled "Vineyard Commuter Rail Station, Construction Haul Road, Short Cultural Resources Inventory Report Form"), there are potentially eligible cultural resources within the project area that may be affected by the proposed project. 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 may affect 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.
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-2019-00664 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 26, 2020.
Hollis Jencks, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
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: 6 drawings