Comments Period: December 29, 2023 – January 28, 2024
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is proposing to revise and reissue Regional General Permit (RGP) 7 for construction and maintenance of flood control facilities under the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) Master Plan (https://www.regionalflood.org/programs-services/document-library/master-plan-documents). This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposal 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: In streams, drainage ditches, drainage channels, and wetlands identified in the CCRFCD Master Plan, Clark County, Nevada.
RGP DESCRIPTION: 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.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The term general permit means a Department of the Army authorization that is issued on a nationwide or regional basis for a category or categories of activities when: (1) Those activities are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts; or (2) The general permit would result in avoiding unnecessary duplication of regulatory control exercised by another Federal, State, or local agency provided it has been determined that the environmental consequences of the action are individually and cumulatively minimal. (33 CFR Part 323.2(h))
Regional permits are a type of general permit. They may be issued by a division or district engineer after compliance with the other procedures of this regulation. If the public interest so requires, the issuing authority may condition the regional permit to require a case-by-case reporting and acknowledgment system. (33 CFR Part 525.5(c)(1).
RGP 7 was first 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. RGP 7 was re-authorized on September 1, 2007, August 7, 2013, and on February 18, 2019, each time with minor modifications. The current version of RGP 7 expires on February 18, 2024.
RGP 7 is intended to authorize fill activities necessary to construct and maintain flood control facilities funded by, or built in accordance with, the 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 RGP 7 are those resulting in unavoidable minimal impacts, primarily to previously modified drainage channels in urbanized areas.
To ensure RGP 7 authorizes no more than minimal individual and cumulative environmental impact, including those to the aquatic resources, for a variety of flood control activities, the Corps is proposing to modify and reissue this RGP for another 5 years. The Corps is proposing to revise certain permit terms, adjust impact thresholds, place some restrictions on the types of activities authorized, clarify requirements for compensatory mitigation, and modify the review process for evaluating activities.
Summary of Substantial Proposed Changes to RGP 7
Impact Thresholds: The current version RGP 7 identifies impact thresholds by flow regime, such as perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral. These terms are no longer used in defining waters of the U.S. Instead, the Amended 2023 WOTUS Rule categorizes the flow regime as “relatively permanent” and “non-relatively permanent” waters. The proposed RGP 7 has been revised to be consistent with the current definitions and no longer includes language addressing impacts to ephemeral, or “non-relatively permanent”, waters.
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, Native American 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 January 28, 2024.
Samuel Bohannon, Senior Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Reno Regulatory Office
300 Booth Street, Room 3050
Reno, Nevada 89509-1328
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' Senior Project Manager Samuel Bohannon, (775) 799-8232, Samuel.T.Bohannon@usace.army.mil.
Draft RGP 7