Subject: Public Notice of Permit Application
Action ID: SPK-2010-00249
Comments Period: June 18, 2013 – July 18, 2013
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Highlands Park Dredging Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 2.0 acres of waters of the United States, in Highline Lake Reservoir. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. This notice may also be viewed at the Corps web site at www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx.
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: Mr. Mike Havens
Colorado State Parks
Post Office Box 700
Clifton, Colorado 81520
Agent: Mr. Kevin Lemmer
Walsh Environmental Scientists
820 16th Street, Suite 400
Denver, Colorado 80202
LOCATION: The 2.5-acre site is located on Highline Lake Reservoir, within Section 5, Township 2 North, Range 3 West, Ute Meridian, Latitude 39.27477°, Longitude -108.83967°, Mesa County, Colorado, and can be seen on the CO-HIGHLINE LAKE USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to dredge approximately 8,600 CY of excess sediment in critical areas of Highline Lake. Two areas of Highline Lake Reservoir would be impacted by the dredging operation. 2,800 CY of sediment would be hydraulically dredged from the Outer Gate area with dredged materials being discharged in the reservoir approximately 1,000 ft. north of the dredge area. An additional 5,800 CY of sediment would be mechanically dredged from the East Bay area under the driest conditions practicable once the lake is lowered by 10’-20’ ft. The disposal site for the East Bay material is in an upland site adjacent to the lake. The project start date was moved to October 1st in order to protect wildlife. Typical construction equipment will be used on site, including excavators, bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to restore intended design functions, including enabling the required evaluation, maintenance, and repair activities for the dam outlet works; restoring intended recreational use; and increasing revenue- generating activities. The applicant believes there is a need to restore boat access, accommodate larger boats, and improve disabled user access. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 2.5 acres of lakebed within the project area. The site is characterized by a man made reservoir surrounded by rural homes and public lands in an arid desert environment. The lake is used for boating, recreational use, and as a warm water fishery. The impact areas from dredging and disposal for the proposed project are not expected to impact any vegetated lakebed or wetland areas.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives. The applicant considered three different options for disposal of the dredged material from Highline Lake Reservoir. Option 1 consists of disposal of all dredged material from the Outer Gate area into upland areas, rather than to another open water area; however this was found to be infeasible due to inadequate upland area, associated costs, and the more harmful impact to the surrounding upland areas. Option 2 involves transporting the dredged material off site; but this was found to be infeasible as it would require 3,000 dump truck trips on local roads in order to transport the full amount of dredged material. The applicants preferred Option 3 is to dispose of the dredged material from the Outer Gate area into another open water section of the lake and to dispose of the dredged material from the East Bay area to an upland location. 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 compensatory mitigation for this project.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Department of Public Health and Environment Water Quality Control Commission, is required for this project. The applicant has indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. The Colorado Historical Society GIS database was checked in 2011 with no evidence of cultural artifacts identified in the proposed project location. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) does not have any record of cultural resource surveys in the area and no built structures older than 50 years are located in the area. The reservoir dam, near the Outer Gate area, and the boat ramp, near the East Bay area, are both under 50 years old.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project will not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. CPW has no current knowledge of a federally listed razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) presence in the reservoir at this time. The reservoir is a warm water fishery and has a fish screen installed at the outlet of the reservoir to deter warm water reservoir sport fish from mingling and competing with endangered cold water species in their native habitat. If the endangered razorback sucker is found in the reservoir during dredging operations, construction will cease to allow consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. CPW does not expect this project to affect the razorback sucker.
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-2010-00249 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 18, 2013.
Nathan Green, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Colorado West Regulatory Branch
400 Rood Avenue, Room 224
Grand Junction, Colorado 81501
FAX (970) 241-2358
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 Nathan Green, 970-243-1199 X12, Nathan.J.Green@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 11 drawings