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Public Notices

Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

Public Notices published by the Sacramento District under the Regulatory Program are posted on this page. Once a public notice is available on-line, an email notification is sent to individuals on the appropriate mailing list.

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SPK-2004-50485, Public Notice of Permit Application, Graveyard Wash Project, Washington County, UT

REGULATORY DIVISION
Published July 2, 2024
Expiration date: 7/31/2024

Comment Period: July 1 – July 31, 2024

SUBJECT:  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge dredged or fill material and/or work in approximately 4.78 acres of waters of the United States to construct the Graveyard Wash Reservoir project. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.

AUTHORITY:  This application is being evaluated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.

APPLICANT:  City of St. George (Attn: Mr. Kade Bringhurst), 175 East 200 North, Saint George, Utah, 84770-2845

LOCATION:  The approximately 82-acre project site is located adjacent to Old Highway 91 on Graveyard Wash and is approximately 1,100 feet upstream of the confluence with the Santa Clara River, Latitude 37.14198°, Longitude -113.6736°, between Santa Clara and Ivins, Washington County, Utah, and can be seen on the Santa Clara USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  The applicant is proposing to discharge fill material into approximately 0.57 acre of wetlands, 0.53 acre of perennial channel (Graveyard Wash), and 0.18 acre of ephemeral channel to construct a 75-foot-tall earthen dam and create a 2,000-acre-foot reservoir. The filling of the reservoir would convert additional aquatic features into open water, resulting in the indirect loss of approximately 0.65 acre of wetlands, 0.74 acres of perennial channel (Graveyard Wash), and 1.11 acres of ephemeral channel.  Structural fill for dam construction would be sourced on site and from nearby borrow areas and would be placed using heavy equipment. The material to construct the dam would consist of filter sand, gravel drain, rip rap bedding, and rock rip rap. Minor temporary impacts to Graveyard Wash would also result from pipeline installation near the toe of the proposed dam. The applicant has identified the overall project purpose is to provide water storage. The applicant believes there is a need to relieve the existing water supply shortage and meet their contractual obligation to provide the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indian Tribe with 2,000 acre-feet of water annually.  The attached drawings provide additional project details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Environmental Setting.  The project area is located in an arid desert environment at an elevation of approximately 2,850 feet. The proposed reservoir would be created within a small ravine with perennial flow and thick vegetation growing along the valley floor. There are approximately 1.22 acres of wetlands, 2.27 acres (4,048 linear feet) of perennial channel, and 1.3 acres (6,002 linear feet) of ephemeral channel within the project area. The Santa Clara River has perennial flow and is located approximately 1,100 feet downstream of the proposed dam location. Graveyard Wash has a relatively small drainage area, and the perennial flow is supported by surface runoff from the surrounding impervious surfaces of residential developments, as well as shallow groundwater/seep features within the channel bottom. Typical wetland vegetation on site includes salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima), false willow (Baccharis neglecta), Gooddings black willow (Salix gooddingii), threesquare bullrush (Schoenoplectus pungens), Baltic rush (Juncus balticus), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia), yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica), foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum), and curly dock (Rumex crispus). Typical upland vegetation includes blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima), honey mesquite (Prosopis glandullosa), compact brome (Bromus madritensis), big galleta (Hilaria rigida), and tumble mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum).

Alternatives.  The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives that were considered and eliminated in their 2004 Environmental Assessment. 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 a conceptual compensatory mitigation plan to improve/increase wetland and riparian functions adjacent to the project area near the confluence of Graveyard Wash and the Santa Clara River.

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 attended a pre-filing meeting and will submit an application for certification.

HISTORIC PROPERTIES:  Based on the available information (including applicant's 2004 Environmental Assessment), 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 proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. 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 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-2004-50485 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 31, 2024.

Michael Pectol, Senior Project Manager

US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District

Bountiful Regulatory Office

533 West 2600 South, Suite 150

Bountiful, Utah 84010

Email: Michael.A.Pectol@usace.army.mil

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 Michael Pectol, (801) 295-8380 ext. 8315, Michael.A.Pectol@usace.army.mil.

Attachments:  5 drawings