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Interested parties are hereby notified that the Walla Walla District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in Waters of the United States. The purpose of the proposed project is to construct a third hydropower generating unit which will improve the reliability and efficiency of the Black Canyon Dam operations. In addition, this project will also complete electrical safety improvements for the overall facility by installing a new switchyard and upgrading controls for the existing units.
Interested parties are hereby notified that the Walla Walla District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in Waters of the United States as described below in the attached documents:
• Project Drawings (2016) NWW-2010-00514
APPLICANT: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, Idaho 83702; Point of Contact Mr. Roland Springer. (208) 383-2246.
AGENT: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Regional Office, 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise, Idaho 83706; Point of Contact Mr. David Denton, (208) 378-5360.
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECT MANAGER: Christen Marve Griffith, (208) 433-4470, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the proposed project is to construct a third hydropower generating unit which will improve the reliability and efficiency of the Black Canyon Dam operations. In addition, this project will also complete electrical safety improvements for the overall facility by installing a new switchyard and upgrading controls for the existing units. Additional safety related improvements include the installation of a new trash rack and trash rake within the waterway.
WATERWAY: Payette River, Black Canyon Reservoir
LOCATION: The proposed project would be located on the Payette River, below the Dam, and within the Black Canyon Reservoir impoundment of the Payette River within Section 22, Township 7 North, Range 1 West, near latitude 43.930º N and longitude -116.436º W, in Gem County, near Emmett, Idaho.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From Emmett, Idaho, drive approximately 7 miles northeast on Highway 52 to the project location.
AUTHORITY: This permit will be issued or denied under the authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). A Department of the Army permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands.
WORK: The proposed project will result in the discharge of 250 cubic yards of gravel, rock, and stone, and 150 cubic yards of concrete to construct the temporary access road, trash rack and tailrace of the new unit. In addition, approximately 14,000 cubic yards of bed sediment is estimated to be mobilized during drawdown and transported up to 4.5 miles downstream. The work will entail the drawdown of the reservoir, the reconstruction of an access road, the excavation of the foundation and the construction of the trash rack and inlet on the upstream face of the dam. The new facility will be constructed prior to the excavation of the tailrace on the downstream section. A temporary cofferdam will be constructed to isolate the work area downstream. An Environmental Assessment prepared by the BOR containing a full description of the project can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/blackcanyondam /2016fonsi.pdf.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Bureau of Reclamation prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project, which resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The Final EA for the proposed project can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/blackcanyondam/2016fonsi.pdf.
CONSTRUCTION PERIOD: Applicant proposes to start construction March 2018 and end by September 2021. The permit would authorize construction for a period of 5 years.
PROPOSED MITIGATION: The applicant proposes no mitigation for impacts related to wetlands and open-water losses. Direct impacts from the proposed project will be located within open water directly adjacent to existing infrastructure. All temporary fill to include the access road will be removed upon completion of the project. Indirect effects from the mobilization of sediment and potential mitigation actions are currently being discussed with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS AND DA PERMITS ISSUED TO APPLICANT: Other permits issued to BOR, Black Canyon Dam, include:
• Nationwide Permit NWW-1997-2101280, Issued June 24, 1997
• Nationwide Permit NWW-1997-2101281, Issued August 25, 1997
• Nationwide Permit NWW-2010-00514, Issued January 11, 2013
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This notice will also serve as a Public Notice that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) is evaluating whether to certify that the discharge of dredge and/or fill material proposed for this project will not violate existing water quality standards. A Department of the Army permit will not be issued until water quality certification has been issued or waived by the IDEQ as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. If water quality certification is not issued, waived or denied within sixty (60) days of this public notice date, and an extension of this period is not requested by and granted to the IDEQ, certification will be considered waived. Additionally, within thirty (30) days of this Public Notice, any person may provide written comments to IDEQ and request in writing that IDEQ provide them notice of their preliminary 401 Certification decision. Comments concerning Water Quality Certification for this project should be mailed to: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Boise Regional Office, Boise, Idaho 83705.
AQUATIC RESOURCE DESCRIPTION: The proposed project is located within Black Canyon Reservoir, and directly downstream from the dam within the Payette River. Black Canyon Diversion Dam was completed in 1924, and is operated and maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation water supply, informal flood control, and power generation. The normal water surface elevation is 2498 feet above mean sea level (MSL) with a maximum elevation of 2500 feet MSL. Surface elevations are typically drafted approximately 20 to 35 feet below full pool. Winter drafts may reach up to 46 feet below full pool. The lake bed behind the dam is composed of loose sands, silts and bedrock, with little to no vegetation beyond the littoral boundary. The Payette River directly downstream from Black Canyon Dam is composed of bedrock, gravels, and cobbles. The location of the tailrace is within the armored and developed section of the right hand descending bank.
ANTICIPATED IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT: Impacts from the proposed project will result in the discharge of approximately 250 cubic yards of gravel, rock and stone, 150 cubic yards of concrete, and 14,000 cubic yards of mobilized sediment, below the ordinary high water mark of the Payette River, and the Black Canyon Reservoir, an impoundment of the Payette River.
OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS: The proposed project requires a Section 401 Individual Water Quality Certification from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: Consultation was initiated by the Bureau of Reclamation with the office of the Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to determine if this activity will affect a site that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or a site that may be eligible for listing on the Register. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Idaho SHPO agreed that the proposed undertaking would affect eligible properties, and formalized an MOA between both parties to mitigate for those adverse effects.
TRIBAL TREATY RIGHTS and INTERESTS: Federal agencies acknowledge the federal trust responsibility arising from treaties, statues, executive orders and the historical relations between the United States and American Indian Tribes. The federal government has a unique trust relationship with federally recognized American Indian Tribes, including the Shoshone Paiute, and the Shoshone Bannock Tribes. The Corps has a responsibility and obligation to consider and consult on potential effects to Tribal rights, uses and interests. The Corps further recognizes there may be a need for additional and on-going consultation.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: No listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats are known to exist in the project area. Coordination is currently being conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).to determine if the activity will have any effect on species designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, or their critical habitat, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: Preliminary review indicates the proposed activities will not require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. An Environmental Assessment was prepared for this project and a Finding of No Significant Impact was determined. The Final Environmental Assessment can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/blackcanyondam/2016fonsi.pdf.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. This 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 proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal 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. In addition, our evaluation will include application of the EPA Guidelines (40 CFR 230) as required by Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.
CONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC COMMENTS: The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the general public; Federal, State and local agencies and officials, Tribal entities 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 of Engineers 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 the 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.
PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this proposed activity. Requests for a public hearing shall state specific reasons for holding a public hearing. A request may be denied if substantive reasons for holding a hearing are not provided or if there is otherwise no valid interest to be served.
COMMENT & REVIEW PERIOD: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed activity, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final decision.
Please mail all comments to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Walla Walla District
Christen Marve Griffith
Boise Regulatory Office
720 Park Boulevard, Suite 245
Boise, Idaho 83712-7757
Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of December 10, 2016, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration.
Christen Marve Griffith
Walla Walla District