WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Comments are
invited on the work described below.
Please see the Public Involvement section for details on
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.
Information. Pursuant to Section
404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S. Code 1344), notice is hereby given that
Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD)
Rock, Arkansas 72203-2261
requested authorization for the placement of dredged and fill material in
waters of the United States associated with constructing the final segment of
the Searcy Bypass. The other two
segments of the bypass, one south and one east of the proposed segment, are
currently under construction. This
segment would cross seven streams and one wetland area. The proposed project is located on the
northwest side of Searcy and would connect State Highway 16 and State Highway
36, in sections 31, 32, and 33, T. 8 N., R. 7 W., and in sections 4, 5, 6, and
7, T. 7 N., R. 7 W., White County, Arkansas.
basic purpose of the project is to construct a connector between Highway 16 and
Highway 36. The overall purpose of the
project is to relieve congestion in Searcy by allowing traffic to avoid Race
Street and Beebe Capps Expressway, and allow drivers traveling from the north
and drivers traveling from U.S. Highway 67/167 to bypass traffic in downtown
Searcy. The project would also provide
traffic on the west side of Searcy better access to U.S. Highway 67/167. The project is not water dependent.
project would cross seven streams including Deener Creek and two of its unnamed
tributaries, and Rocky Branch and three of its unnamed tributaries. Deener Creek is intermittent and its two
unnamed tributaries are ephemeral. Rocky
Branch is perennial. One of Rocky
Branch’s unnamed tributaries is perennial (spring-fed), one is intermittent,
and one is ephemeral. Five of the seven
streams are moderately functional and two of the seven streams are functionally
impaired. The substrate of the streams
is primarily soft sediment with some rock.
Approximately 1,105 linear feet of stream and 0.3 acres of forested
wetlands would be permanently impacted.
Approximately 1,333 cubic yards of fill would be discharged into the
wetlands and approximately 3,600 cubic yards of fill would be discharged into
the streams to realign the streams and construct pipe or box culverts.
project is located in the Arkansas River Ecoregion and in the Little Red River
8-digit (11010014) hydrologic unit code (HUC).
Rocky Branch flows into Deener Creek and Deener Creek flows into the
Little Red River on the east side of Searcy.
The lower 31 miles of the Little Red River are designated as navigable under
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Lands adjacent to the project are a mix of forest, pasture and
majority of the project would be built on new location. The average right-of-way width for the
project is 200 feet and the total length for the project is 3.7 miles. The new roadway would generally consist of
two 12-foot-wide travel lanes with 8-foot-wide shoulders. In the urban sections, the lanes would be
widened to 14 feet with a 3-foot-wide grass berm and 5-foot-wide sidewalk. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
completed the environmental assessment (EA) for the project on June 5,
2012. The EA evaluated three new
location alternatives. The northernmost
alternative was chosen since it met the purpose and need, minimized overall
impacts, balanced the benefits versus the overall impacts and serviced a large
number of motorists. The finding of no
significant impact (FONSI) for the project was completed on December 1, 2014. A copy of the EA and FONSI are available for
viewing at the AHTD Central Office in Little Rock.
are no environmental justice issues associated with the project. No historic or archeological sites were
identified. The project would
relocate seven residences. The City of
Searcy and White County participate in the National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP). Approximately 740 linear feet of
floodway and floodplain would be impacted by the project. 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. Approximately 36.8
acres of prime farmland and 2.7 acres of farmland of statewide importance would
be converted to highway right-of-way.
AHTD attempted to cross the streams perpendicular to their paths in order to
minimize impacts; however, complete avoidance was not possible.
AHTD proposes to mitigate for the unavoidable impacts to 1,105 linear feet of
stream at the Hartsugg Creek Mitigation Bank.
Stream credit requirements were calculated utilizing the Little Rock
District Stream Method. The AHTD
proposes to mitigate for the unavoidable impacts to 0.3 acres of wetlands at
their Glaise Creek Mitigation Bank near Worden, Arkansas. Wetland credit requirements were calculated
utilizing the 2002 Charleston Method.
Copies of the stream and wetland credit worksheets are attached. The location and general plan for the
proposed work are shown on the enclosed sheets 1 through 7 of 9.
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.
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 has completed 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; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or
concerns with historic properties in the area.
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
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.
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.
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 3, 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
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.
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
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.
Coordinates of Project Center
Latitude: 35.26966 Longitude:
UTM Zone: 15
North: 3903628 East: 610755