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MVK 2017-00338

Posted: 5/11/2017

Expiration date: 6/5/2017


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,
Mr. Johnny McLean, 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: 
Johnny.L.McLean@usace.army.mil.


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

                                         Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD)
                                         PO Box 2261
                                         Little Rock, Arkansas  72203-2261


has requested authorization for the placement of dredged and fill material in waters of the United States associated with widening 4.3 miles of U.S. Highway 167 and replacing three bridges with three box culverts.  The proposed project begins on the north side of Hampton and extends northward to State Highway 274.  The project is located in sections 7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 29, 30, 31 and 32, T. 13. S., R. 13 W., Calhoun County, Arkansas.

The overall purpose of the project is to construct a wider roadway and replace three structurally deficient bridges.  The basic purpose of the project is to enhance safety.  The project is not water dependent.

The entire project would be built on existing alignment and would add two travel lanes and a turn lane.  The upgraded roadway would consist of four 12-foot-wide travel lanes with 8-foot-wide shoulders and an 11-foot-wide center turn lane.  The average right-of-way width for the project is 130 feet and the total length for the project is 4.3 miles.  The Federal Highway Administration approved this job as a categorical exclusion (CE) on May 31, 2016.  A copy of the CE is available for viewing at the AHTD Central Office in Little Rock.

The project would cross seventeen stream segments impacting approximately 1,433 linear feet and fifteen wetland areas impacting approximately 3.9 acres.  The only named stream on the project is Champagnolle Creek.  There are three perennial stream segments, five unnamed intermittent streams and nine unnamed ephemeral streams.  The perennial segments consist of Champagnolle Creek and two side or relief channels that are part of Champagnolle Creek.  The primary impact to the unnamed streams would be extending box or pipe culverts.  Approximately 896 linear feet of stream impacts would consist of crossing the streams perpendicularly and extending box or pipe culverts where total impacts at each crossing would be less than 300 linear feet.  Approximately 537 linear feet of stream impacts would consist of filling and realigning or relocating streams for embankment widening and culvert construction.  Temporary work roads for culvert construction would be built at Champagnolle Creek and the two relief channels.  The substrate for all of the streams is generally a mix of sand and silt and the overall water quality for each stream is generally good.  Champagnolle Creek flows into the Ouachita River approximately twenty miles south of the project near Calion.  The impacted wetlands consist of approximately 3.0 acres of bottomland hardwoods and 0.9 acres of herbaceous emergent wetlands.  The impacted streams and wetlands exhibit moderate functions and values.  Dominant vegetation in the wetlands consists of willow oak (Quercus phellos), water oak (Quercus nigra), red maple (Acer rubrum), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), soft rush (Juncus effusus), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus), and several species of sedges (Carex spp.).  A total of approximately 29,350 cubic yards of permanent earthen material would be discharged into the streams and wetlands.

The project is located in the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion.  The project lies within the Lower Ouachita (hydrologic unit code 08040201) watershed.  Lands adjacent to the project are primarily forested.  These forested areas are primarily silvicultural with a few scattered residences.  The majority of the project would be constructed within the existing highway right-of-way which has been previously impacted by roadway and utility construction.

Federally listed threatened or endangered species that are known to occur in Calhoun County inclulde the Redcockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and the following mussels:  Ouachita Rock-Pocketbook (Arcidens wheeleri), Pink Mucket (Lampsilis abrupta), Winged Mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa), Rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica) and Spectaclecase (Cumberlandia monodonta).  The AHTD consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) and determined that the project is not likely to adversely affect any threatened or endangered species since none are known to occur in the project area.  Approximately 5.8 acres of prime farmland would be converted to highway right-of-way for highway construction.  The State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) determined that the project would not affect any historic properties.  There are no environmental justice issues associated with the project.  The project would not relocate any residences or businesses.  Calhoun County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Some segments of the project lie within Zone A which is the designation for a Special Flood Hazard Area.  The AHTD has determined that the project will not support incompatible use and development of the floodplain and adjacent properties should not be impacted nor have a greater flood risk than existed before construction of the project, and none of the encroachments will constitute a significant floodplain encroachment or a significant risk to property or life.

The AHTD attempted to cross the streams perpendicular to their paths and the alignment was shifted to the east or west at various locations in order to avoid or minimize impacts, however, complete avoidance was not possible.  Also, the roadway was reduced from a four-lane divided highway to a five-lane highway (four lanes with a center turn lane) and this decreased the footprint of the project by approximately 30 percent.  Temporary and permanent erosion control measures will minimize adverse impacts to streams and adjacent wetlands.  The AHTD proposes to mitigate for the unavoidable impacts to 537 linear feet of stream and 3.9 acres of wetlands at an approved  Mitigation Bank.  Stream credit requirements were calculated utilizing the Little Rock District Stream Method, and wetland credit requirements were calculated utilizing the Charleston Method.  Copies of the stream credit and wetland credit worksheets are attached.  The location and general plan for the proposed work are shown on the enclosed sheets 1 through 20 of 20.

Water Quality Certification.  By copy of this public notice, the applicant is requesting water quality certification from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in accordance with Section 401(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act.  Upon completion of the comment period and a public hearing, if held, a determination relative to water quality certification will be made.  Evidence of this water quality certification or waiver of the right to certify must be submitted prior to the issuance of a Corps of Engineers permit.

Cultural Resources.  The AHTD staff archeologists have reviewed topographic maps, the National Register of Historic Places, and other data on reported sites in the area.  The FHWA is the lead agency for coordination with all associated Native American Nations and tribal governments.  The District Engineer invites responses to this public notice from Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; Native American Nations and tribal governments 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 other listed or proposed‑to‑be‑listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the proposed activity.

Floodplain.  We 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 June 5, 2017.  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:  33.55278
   Longitude:  -92.46759

UTM Zone:  15   North:  3712697    East:  549423

public notice USACE