The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
Branch Highways, Inc.
Attn: Michael Higgins
442 Rutherford Avenue
Roanoke, Virginia 24016
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The limits of the project are located within the existing Route 3 alignment/corridor. The project runs from approximately 4.1 miles east of Route 29 to approximately 3.8 miles west of the Culpeper/Orange County line for a total length of 5.16 miles. The project site is located, in its entirety, within Culpeper County, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The project is the final phase of a three-part expansion on Route 3 from the Orange County line to the Route 3/Route 522 intersection. The applicant is proposing to widen the two-lane road to a four-lane divided highway. The purpose of the widening project is to improve traffic safety along the heavily traveled corridor between the city of Fredericksburg and the town of Culpeper.
As proposed the project will have a total of 3.6 acres of permanent impact to wetlands, including 2.36 acres of Palustrine Emergent Wetland (PEM), 0.518 acre of Palustrine Scrub-Shrub Wetland (PSS), 0.698 acre of Palustrine Forested Wetland (PFO) and 0.021 acre of Palustrine Open Water (POW). The project proposes the permanent conversion of 0.216 acre of PFO. Temporary impacts will include 0.367 acre of PEM and the temporary conversion of 0.091 (PSS). The project proposes a total of 3,188 linear feet (lf) of stream impact, including 724 lf of perennial stream (R3), 2,407 lf of intermittent stream and 57 lf of ephemeral stream (RE). Temporary stream impacts include 82 lf of R3, 126 lf of R4, and 10 lf of RE.
As compensation for permanent wetland and permanent wetland conversion impacts, the applicant is proposing to purchase 4.75 wetland credits. Compensation for permanent impacts to streams has been determined using the joint COE/DEQ USM. As compensation for permanent impacts to streams, the applicant is proposing to purchase 2,821 stream compensation credits. All wetland and stream credits will be purchased from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-approved wetland and/or stream mitigation bank. All temporary impacts to PSS wetlands will be restored to preconstruction conditions and will be re-seeded with a wetland/shrub seed mix.
In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated. Project drawings are attached.
AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: 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. The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use classification, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).
The U.S. Army 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 direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the U.S. Army 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.
Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the district commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The district commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.
PRELIMINARY REVIEW INDICATES: (1) The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) completed a revised Environmental Assessment for this project in March of 2012, and signed a Finding of No Significant Impact on May 8, 2012; no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) as the lead Federal agency, FHWA determined that no species of fish, wildlife, or plant (or their critical habitat) listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205) will be affected. However, the applicant and FHWA will be initiating further coordination with the USFWS regarding the Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) which is proposed for listing; and (3) as the lead Federal agency, FHWA coordinated with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in 2011/2012 and determined the project would have an adverse effect on the Brandy Station Battlefield. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was developed and executed, in 2012, between FHWA, the Virginia Historic Preservation Officer, VDOT and the Virginia Civil War Trails.
For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). We have not received a certification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review for concurrence or objection and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert . For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMENT PERIOD: Requests for hard copies or comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ATTN: Regena D. Bronson), 1329 Alum Spring Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401 or at email@example.com, and should be received by the close of business on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.
If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact Ms. Regena Bronson via email at Regena.firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 540-548-2838.