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 regulator, David Rupe, telephone number: (501) 340-1386, mailing address: Little Rock District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, PO Box 867, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-0867, email address: David.M.Rupe@usace.army.mil
Project Information. Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S. Code 1344), notice is hereby given that
Mr. Michael Griffin
Fort Smith Regional Airport
6700 McKennon Boulevard, Suite 200
Fort Smith, AR 72903
has requested authorization for work, including the placement of dredged and fill material, in waters of the United States associated with the extension of Runway 26 (and associated taxiway) at Fort Smith Regional Airport. The proposed project is located in wetlands adjacent to Massard Creek, in parts of section 31, T. 8 N., R. 31 W. and parts of section 36, T. 8 N., R. 32 W., Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas.
The project purpose is the extension of Runway 26 by 1,300 feet to meet the forecast commercial air carrier and general aviation needs by providing a 9,300-feet runway per Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5325-4B. Design and development associated with the proposed action would meet current FAA Airport Design Standards. The proposed action would be designed to be compatible with commercial, general aviation, and military aircraft using the airport. The proposed action is needed to accommodate the current and projected commercial air carrier and general aviation use of the airport by providing the design standard runway length, full parallel taxiway, and associated Navigational Aids. The project is not water dependent.
Fort Smith Regional Airport proposes to construct a runway extension (Runway 26) and associated taxiway, totaling approximately 1,300 feet in length. In addition, navigational areas and runway safety areas will be relocated as a result of the extension. The proposed extension would result in discharge of fill material into approximately 4.46 acres of emergent wetlands.
The proposed runway extension supports a routinely mowed and maintained portion of Fort Smith Regional Airport property that supports emergent wetland and adjacent upland communities.
The project was designed to avoid wetlands where practicable; however, due to alignment of the existing runways, avoidance of all wetland features was not feasible. The Applicant proposes to compensate for unavoidable wetland impacts by purchasing compensatory wetland credits from the Gum Log Creek Mitigation Bank.
The location and general plan for the proposed work are shown on the enclosed sheets.
Water Quality Certification. By copy of this public notice, the applicant is requesting water quality certification from the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, Division of Environmental Quality 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.
In accordance with 33 CFR 325.2(b)(1)(ii), the Corps has determined the reasonable period of time for the certifying agency to act upon the certification request is 60 days unless the district engineer determines a shorter or longer period is reasonable for the state to act.
This public notice serves as notification to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pursuant to section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act for neighboring jurisdiction review and begins the 30-day clock for USEPA to notify affected states.
Cultural Resources. A Corps staff archeologist will evaluate the proposal for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, including identification and evaluation of cultural resources potentially impacted by the proposal's implementation in waters of the United States. 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.
Floodplain. We are providing copies of this notice to appropriate floodplain officials in accordance with 44 Code of Federal Regulations (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 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 February 21, 2022 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 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.
Approximate Coordinates of Project Center
Latitude: 35.33777 Longitude: -94.34671
UTM Zone: 15N North: 3911334 East: 377614