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SWL 2015-00221

Posted: 11/23/2016

Expiration date: 12/23/2016


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  Comments are invited on the work described below.  Please see the Public Involvement section for details on submitting comments.

Point of Contact.  If additional information is desired, please contact the project manager, Jim Ellis, telephone number:  (501) 324-5295, mailing address:  Little Rock District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, PO Box 867, Little Rock, Arkansas  72203-0867, email address:  Jim.D.Ellis@usace.army.mil.  An electronic copy of the Little Fourche Creek Mitigation Bank (LFCMB) prospectus can be viewed on the Little Rock District, Regulatory Division webpage at http://www.swl.usace. army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx or a hard copy can be obtained from the Corps of Engineers through the contact information listed above.

Project Information.  Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S. Code 1344), notice is hereby given that

Ms. Danielle Litaker Nall
Central Arkansas Mitigation Bank, LLC
9800 Maumelle Blvd.
North Little Rock, AR 72113

has submitted their LFCMB prospectus.  The prospectus outlines the proposal for developing and operating the bank, which is known as the banking instrument.  After public comments are received and any issues are resolved on the prospectus, Central Arkansas Mitigation Bank, LLC will submit a draft banking instrument to the District Engineer of the Little Rock District.  The District Engineer will then distribute the draft banking instrument to the Interagency Review Team (IRT), which is made up of the Corps and the pertinent state and Federal resource agencies.  The IRT will review the banking instrument and coordinate with Central Arkansas Mitigation Bank, LLC on any issues until a final banking instrument is completed.  Finally, the District Engineer will review the final instrument and make a decision to approve or not approve.

The primary purpose of this bank is to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to streams and wetlands authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  The project goals are to preserve and enhance stream and wetland functions and services within the mitigation bank area.

The proposed project is located in Little Fourche Creek and associated tributaries and wetlands, in sections 5, 6, and 7, T. 1 S., R. 12 W., in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.  The mitigation bank, as proposed by the applicant’s consultant, GBMc and Associates, includes three pieces of property (Sites A-C), two contiguous, and one in close proximity to the others along Little Fourche Creek, which consist of approximately 240 acres.  The applicant proposes to preserve in perpetuity, through the establishment of a conservation easement, Little Fourche Creek, and its associated riparian buffer within the three properties.  Little Fourche Creek is relatively undisturbed throughout these three sites and will not require any channel alterations to maintain a stable dimension, pattern, and profile according to the applicant’s consultant.  One-hundred-foot-wide riparian buffers will be preserved and enhanced beyond the stream channel ordinary high water mark (OHWM), where possible, including jurisdictional wetlands located in the riparian buffer areas.  Supplemental plantings of native tree/shrub and herbaceous vegetation will occur.  Wetlands that are not part of the protected stream riparian buffer corridors will be preserved and enhanced (see enclosed Sheets 3 through 5 of 7).  Supplemental plantings of native species will be completed to reach desired diversity and density.  Where possible an upland buffer will be preserved and enhanced along the perimeter of the wetlands.  Supplemental plantings of native tree/shrub species will be completed in the upland buffers to promote diversity and wildlife.  Tree/shrub plantings will be in the form of seedlings.

The applicant’s consultant has identified approximately 6,800 linear feet of stream channel in Site A, 5,000 linear feet in Site B, and 5,300 linear feet in site C.  All streams will have some level of associated riparian buffers (most with 100-foot-wide buffers on both sides) totaling over 70 acres of protected stream corridor.  The three sites total over 100 acres of wetlands.  A large portion of these wetlands will be preserved as riparian buffer for the meandering stream system.  Also, approximately 115 acres of wetlands will remain outside the protected stream riparian buffer corridor and be accounted for as wetland habitat.  The wetlands can generally be classified as either riverine forested or riverine scrub-shrub.  There are some smaller areas that are riverine emergent, mostly in historical creek channel remnants.  The three sites will be monitored for a minimum of ten years to ensure hydrologic and revegetation success, and will be perpetually preserved.

Stream compensatory mitigation credits will be calculated utilizing the 2011 Little Rock District Stream Method.  Credits will be calculated with the assistance of the USACE and will be approved by the IRT with the Mitigation Banking Instrument (MBI).  Wetland credits will be calculated using the 2002 Charleston Method and its more recent Little Rock District addendum.  Approximately 80,000 stream credits and 124 wetland credits are anticipated to be generated by the LFCMB.

The proposed bank sites lie within the Lower Arkansas-Maumelle Watershed 8-digit (11110207) hydrologic unit code (HUC) as designated by the U.S. Geological Survey.  The proposed Primary Geographic Service Area for wetlands and streams includes the Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207) and the Lake Conway – Point Remove (11110203) HUC.  Historically, activities requiring compensatory mitigation within the White Oak Bayou Watershed (111102070401), which is part of the Lower Arkansas-Maumelle Watershed (11110207), have been mitigated within the White Oak Bayou Watershed and therefore excluded as part of any bank service area.

During the public review period, members of the IRT will conduct a site visit to the proposed mitigation bank.  The location and general plan for the proposed work are shown on the enclosed sheets, 1 through 7 of 7.

Cultural Resources.  A Corps staff archeologist will review topographic maps, the National Register of Historic Places, and other data on reported sites in the area.  The District Engineer invites responses to this public notice from Native American Nations or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns with historic properties in the area.

Endangered Species.  Our preliminary determination is that the proposed activity will not affect listed Endangered Species or their critical habitat.  A copy of this notice is being furnished to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and appropriate state agencies and constitutes a request to those agencies for information on whether any listed or proposed‑to‑be‑listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the proposed activity.

FloodplainWe are providing copies of this notice to appropriate floodplain officials in accordance with 44 CFR Part 60 (Floodplain Management Regulations Criteria for Land Management and Use) and Executive Order 11988 on Floodplain Management.

Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines.  The evaluation of activities to be authorized under this permit which involves the discharge of dredged or fill material will include application of guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act.  These guidelines are contained in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 230.

Public Involvement.  Any interested party is invited to submit to the above-listed POC written comments or objections relative to the proposed work on or before December 23, 2016.  Substantive comments, both favorable and unfavorable, will be accepted and made a part of the record and will receive full consideration in determining whether this work would be in the public interest.  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.  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 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, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The Corps of Engineers 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 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.

Any person may request in writing within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider this application.  Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.  The District Engineer will determine if the issues raised are substantial and whether a hearing is needed for making a decision.

NOTE:  The mailing list for this Public Notice is arranged by state and county(s) where the project is located, and also includes any addressees who have asked to receive copies of all public notices.  Please discard notices that are not of interest to you.  If you have no need for any of these notices, please advise us so that your name can be removed from the mailing list.

Enclosures

Approximate Coordinates of Project Center

Latitude:  34.65384                   Longitude:  -92.33319

UTM Zone:  15        North:  3834858                 East:  561102

mitigation bank public notice USACE