SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District (Corps), is evaluating a permit application to enhance whitewater recreation on a segment of the Yampa River, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 2,840 square-feet (0.065 acres) of the Yampa River. The nature and extent of impacts are more specifically described below. 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: City of Steamboat Springs, Attn: Craig Robertson, Open Space/Howelsen Hill Facilities Supervisor, PO Box 775088, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Phone: (970) 879-4300 (ext. 334)
LOCATION: The project area is an approximately 450 yard by 40 yard segment of the Yampa River, located between 9th and 12th streets in the City of Steamboat Springs within Section 8, Township 6 North, 84 West, Sixth Principal Meridian, Latitude 40°29’18”, -106°50’26”, Routt County, Colorado.
PROJECT NEED AND PURPOSE: The applicant’s stated purpose is to enhance recreation, improve public safety and to create in-stream habitat. Based on available information, the Corps has determined the basic project purpose is whitewater recreation.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to modify existing and to construct new whitewater structures at three existing whitewater features within a 450 yard by 40 yard segment of the Yampa River.
The three existing whitewater features are identified by the applicant and known locally as O-HOLE (aka orange peel), Z-HOLE, and A-HOLE and are described in further detail below.
O-HOLE (12th street): Approximately 160 cubic yards of natural stone, primarily boulders in the 3-foot to 6-foot diameter range, will be anchored to the river bed. The drop structure will have an associated 4-foot deep plunge pool. A portion of the southern half of the river (river left) will be left open to allow a channel for fish passage.
A double low-flow vein will be constructed on the northern half (river right) of the river, immediately downstream.
Z-HOLE (11th street): Approximately 60 cubic yards of natural stone, primarily boulders in the 3-foot to 6-foot diameter range, will be anchored to the river bed. 3 structures will be constructed across the river channel, one on the north bank, one on the south bank, and one in the center of the channel. This will result in a 25-foot wide chute and a 20-foot wide chute. Two double low-flow veins will be installed, one on each side of the river channel, immediately downstream.
A-HOLE (9th street): Approximately 140 cubic yards of natural stone, primarily boulders in the 3-foot to 6-foot diameter range, will be anchored to the river bed. A new boulder-bank access and terracing will be constructed on the north bank. The drop structure will have an associated 4-foot deep plunge pool. The work will only affect the northern-half of the river (river right), leaving the southern half (river left) unobstructed. 2 double low-flow veins will be constructed and anchored into the northern (river right) river bank, with 2 additional double low-flow veins installed in the southern (river left) portion of the channel immediately downstream.
30 boulders, of approximately four-foot to six-foot diameter each, and totaling approximately 45 cubic yards, will be placed or re-set at various locations below (downstream) of each of the three whitewater features.
Wetlands exist within the project boundaries, but will not be filled or otherwise impacted by the project. Grout, “fill-flow”, concrete or similar materials will not be utilized in this project.
Construction of the project is proposed to begin in the spring of 2013.
Background and History: The age of the existing whitewater features in this segment of the Yampa River is unknown. The proposed modifications were conceptually identified in the City of Steamboat Springs Yampa River Structural Master Plan (November 2008).
Alternatives. The applicant has not provided a list of alternatives. No project alternatives have been identified at this time. The Corps will perform an alternatives analysis of both onsite and offsite alternatives as part of the project evaluation.
Mitigation. The Corps requires that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. The applicant states that no wetland impacts will occur, and the project plans depict all work outside of wetlands. Accordingly, the Corps does not anticipate a requirement for mitigation.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is required for this project. The application status of the applicants water quality certification is unknown at this time.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: No known historic properties are known to exist within the designated Area of Potential Effects. All work will occur in the active Yampa River channel or in previously disturbed areas. Accordingly, the Corps’ has determined the project has No Potential to Effect Historic Properties.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: No known federally listed threatened or endangered species or critical habitat is known to be or expected to be in the project area. The project will not result in increased evaporation, diversion or other loss of water from the Yampa River system. Accordingly, the Corps has determined that the project will have No Effect to threatened or endangered species.
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-2012-01287, must be submitted to the office listed below on or before January 11, 2012.
Steve Moore, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Colorado West Regulatory Branch
400 Rood Avenue, Room 224
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Phone: 970-243-1199, ext. 13
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 Steve Moore at 970-243-1199 ext. 13, or by email at Stephen.A.Moore@usace.army.mil
- Figure 1: Project Location Map
- Figure 2C: O-Hole Overhead Plan
- Figure 4C: O-Hole Cross-Section Plan
- Figure 2B: Z-Hole Overhead Plan
- Figure 4B: Z-Hole Cross-Section Plan
- Figure 2A: A-Hole Overhead Plan
- Figure 4A: A-Hole Cross-Section Plan