US Army Corps of Engineers
Little Rock District

Public Notice Information

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SWL 2011-00237-2

Published Dec. 22, 2016
Expiration date: 1/23/2017

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, 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 Woodlands Edge Mitigation Bank (WEMB) 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

Mr. Greg Jones
Woodlands Edge Communities Association, Inc.
c/o Peak Properties, LLC
11711 Hermitage Road, Suite 7
Little Rock, Arkansas  72211

has submitted their WEMB 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, Woodlands Edge Communities Association, Inc. 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 Woodlands Edge Communities Association, Inc. 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 authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  The project goals are to preserve, enhance, and restore stream and associated riparian buffer functions and services within the mitigation bank area.

The proposed project is located in Little Fourche Creek and associated tributaries and wetlands, in sections 7, 8, and 17, T. 1 N., R. 13 W., in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas (see Sheets 1 through 3 of 9).  The mitigation bank, as proposed by the applicant’s consultant GBMc and Associates, consists of approximately 150 acres of property located within the Woodlands Edge neighborhood (approximately 547 acres) off Bowman Road in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The applicant proposes to preserve, enhance, and restore stream corridors in the Woodlands Edge property area for use as a stream mitigation bank.  The mitigation bank includes property along Brodie Creek, Panther Branch, and associated tributaries within the Woodlands Edge residential neighborhood area.  Creation of this bank will preserve in perpetuity approximately 7,300 linear feet of perennial stream, 15,318 linear feet of intermittent stream, and 20,472 linear feet of ephemeral stream through the establishment of a restrictive covenant, conservation easement, or similar maintenance agreement on the property with the Woodlands Edge Property Owners Association (WEPOA) (see Sheets 5 through 9 of 9).  During development of the Woodlands Edge neighborhood, minimal impacts occurred to many of the existing streams; therefore, these streams will not require any channel alterations to maintain a stable dimension, pattern, and profile.  However, some streams or sections of streams are beginning to de-stabilize and will need to be restored to prevent further degradation.  Approximately 3,600 feet of stream channel will be restored and protected and approximately 39,000 feet of stream channel will be protected.

Approximately 140 acres of riparian buffers will be enhanced and 9 acres of riparian buffers will be restored.  Riparian buffers will be enhanced through invasive species removal and supplemental plantings.  Supplemental plantings of native tree/shrub or herbaceous vegetation species will be completed, as appropriate to buffer vegetative type, to reach desired diversity and density.  Tree and/or shrub planting will be mostly in the form of seedlings and herbaceous plantings will be in the form of plugs or seed.  In some cases, larger native trees may be planted to meet the aesthetic goals of the WEPOA. 

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).

The proposed bank site lies 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 streams includes the Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207) and the Fourche La Fave (HUC 11110206).  The Secondary Geographic Service Area includes the Lake Conway – Pointe Remove (11110203) HUC (see Sheet 4 of 9).  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 9 of 9. 

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 January 23, 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:  34.73394                   Longitude:  -92.43438 

UTM Zone:  15        North:  3843684                 East:  551780