Public Notice Issue Date: May 17, 2016
Public Notice Expiration Date: June 17, 2016
SUMMARY: The District Engineers for the Albuquerque (SPA), Omaha (NWO) and Sacramento (SPK) Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) hereby propose to issue Regional General Permit (RGP) No. 96 for Natural Disaster Mitigation and Flood-Related Activities in Colorado. This RGP would replace SPK RGP 53, and NWO and SPA RGP No. 96-07 for Flood-Related Activities in Colorado.
RGP 96, as proposed, would retain the original intent of RGP 96-07. However, a number of substantive changes have been made to the permit in order to provide clarification and improve the ease of use of the RGP for both the applicants and the Corps. The purpose of this public notice is to summarize the substantive improvements to the permit and solicit comments from interested parties.
AUTHORITY: Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).
AREA OF COVERAGE: This RGP would be applicable to all waters of the U.S. within State of Colorado, including, but not limited to, rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and wetlands.
SCOPE OF ACTIVITIES: This RGP authorizes certain natural disaster mitigation and flood-related activities within the State of Colorado and may apply to localized or widespread events.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES:
A. Expansion of the Overall Intent: In addition to the types of flood-related activities that have been covered by RGP 96-07 since its original development in 1996, RGP 96 would also now apply to emergency work in response to or eminent threat of other types of natural disasters, or in disaster-prone areas, such as burn scars and mudslide/rockslide areas.
B. Changes to Application Procedures: In addition to the application procedure requirements of RGP 96-07, requests for authorization under RGP 96 would require pre-construction photos depicting the physical setting (to be compared to post-construction site conditions from the same photo points).
C. Changes to General Conditions:
1. General Condition 1 was added to allow the Corps to accept requests for authorization under this RGP beyond the one-year time frame, provided the applicant can document a legitimate reason for the delay.
2. The time limit for completing the work was increased from six months to one year.
3. The time limit for requesting additional time to complete the work was increased from four weeks to 45 days prior to expiration of the verification.
4. The ability was added for the Corps to authorize greater than one acre of impacts to non-wetland waters of the U.S. (up to a maximum of two acres) if, after consultation with other federal and state agencies, the adverse environmental impacts are determined to be minimal.
5. Increased the limit for impacts to wetlands from ⅓ acre to ½ acre and removed the option to exceed the limit through consultation.
NOTE: RGP 96-07 previously authorized up to one acre of impacts to wetlands if, after consultation with other federal and state agencies, the adverse environmental impacts were determined to be minimal. This change restricts wetland impacts to a fixed limit of ½ acre with no option for waiver.
6. Added language to clarify the requirements for compensatory mitigation and mitigation plans for projects that involve greater than 1/10 acre of impacts to wetlands.
7. The language and order of a number of general conditions was changed in order to improve the overall layout of the permit and improve consistency with other general permits in Colorado.
A copy of the current RGP 53 (96-07) is provided for comparative purposes.
LENGTH OF AUTHORIZATION: This RGP, if issued, will expire five years from the date of issuance.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification (or a waiver), as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, is required for this RGP. The State of Colorado Water Quality Control Division is evaluating the proposed RGP and the Corps anticipates that Colorado 401 Water Quality certification will be issued for the permit.
COMMENT PERIOD: All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before June 17, 2016. Extensions of the comment period may be granted for valid reasons provided a written request is received by the limiting date. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. 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. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:
Joshua G. Carpenter
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Southern Colorado Regulatory Office
200 S. Santa Fe Ave., Ste. 301
Pueblo, CO 81003
Fax No. (719) 543-9475
Please note that names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this public notice may be made publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act.