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PN14-14 (MD SHA/Project No. TA392B21/MD 331 over the Choptank River/Bridge Replacement) - Talbot - Caroline Counties

Posted: 2/20/2014

Expiration date: 3/21/2014


             Public Notice                                                       

U.S. Army Corps                   In Reply to Application Number     

of Engineers                          CENAB-OP-RMN (MD SHA/Project No. TA392B21/MD 331

Baltimore District                  over the Choptank River/Bridge Replacement) 2013-61457-M24

PN 14-14                                 Comment Period:  February 20, 2014 – March 21, 2014

                                     

THE PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLIC NOTICE IS TO SOLICIT COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE WORK DESCRIBED BELOW.  AT THIS TIME, NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A PERMIT WILL BE ISSUED.

The Baltimore District has received an application for a Department of the Army Permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), as described below:

                   

APPLICANT:           Mr. Todd Nichols

         Maryland State Highway Administration

                      707 N. Calvert Street

                      Baltimore, Maryland 21202

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:    Choptank River between Talbot and Caroline Counties at the MD 331 bridge, on the eastern shore of Maryland.

PROPOSED WORK:  To replace an existing, functionally obsolete, two-lane, swing span bridge (Dover Bridge) with a 2,021-foot long, 44-foot wide, 50-foot high fixed span bridge along MD 331, at the Choptank River, between Talbot and Caroline Counties, Maryland.  The proposed project will replace the Dover Bridge with a fixed span bridge directly downstream of the existing bridge, allowing the historic Dover Bridge to remain in place and operational.  The work will also include construction of a temporary construction trestle, dredging, relocation of a 6-inch gas line by others, installation of two culverts through the existing MD 331 road causeway, and construction of a causeway within the tidal marsh in order to align the new bridge with the existing MD 331 alignment.

The project will result in unavoidable impacts to tidal wetlands and waters including 116,961 square feet (2.69 acres) of permanent and 38,056 square feet (0.87 acres) of temporary impacts to tidal wetlands, 22,531 square feet (0.52 acres) of permanent and 5,548 square feet (0.13 acres) temporary impacts to tidal open waters, and 120 linear feet (840 square feet) of permanent impacts to non-tidal waters of the U.S.  Of the permanent impacts listed above, the area to be mechanically dredged is 14, 207 square feet of open water and 2,829 square feet of tidal wetlands, resulting in 1,440 cubic yards of dredged material to be barged to the Weanack dredged material containment facility, 461 Shirley Plantation Road, Charles City, Virginia 23030.

The applicant has proposed wetland creation to mitigate for impacts to wetlands and tidal waters.  The proposal is to mitigate for permanent tidal emergent wetland and tidal open water wetland impacts through the creation of 7.29 acres of tidal wetlands in an agricultural field (Jester property) adjacent to the project site on the north side of MD 331, east of the Dover Bridge.  The wetland mitigation construction will result in 1,908 square feet (0.04 acres) of permanent and 1,947 square feet (0.04 acres) temporary impacts to tidal wetland, and 588 square feet (0.01 acres) of permanent and 154 square feet (0.003 acres) of temporary impacts to tidal open water.  These impacts are accounted for in the total mitigation requirements for the project.  As part of the mitigation package, the applicant is also proposing to install two, 36-inch concrete culverts in the existing causeway for wildlife passage, and a super silt fence with turtle exclusion lip to keep turtles from entering the roadway, and reduce turtle mortality at the project site.

For bridge construction, design alternatives considered included a temporary fill work platform or causeway, a 40 ft wide temporary trestle, a leap frog construction method (cast in place), and a 1400 ft

bridge extension.  The temporary construction trestle avoids fill in tidal wetlands and is the preferred construction access alternative.

All work is to be completed in accordance with the enclosed plan(s).  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mrs. Mary Frazier at 410-962-5679 or Mary.A.Frazier@usace.army.mil.

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, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain

values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The evaluation of the impact of the work described above on the public interest will include application of the Clean Water Act Section 404 (b) (1) Guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of the Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

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.

Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District,  ATTN: Mrs. Mary Frazier, CENAB-OP-RMN, P.O. Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715, within the comment period specified above.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect essential fish habitat (EFH).   

 

The project site lies in or adjacent to EFH as described under MSFCMA for Scopthalmus aquosos

(windowpane flounder) juvenile and adult; Pomatomus saltatrix (blue fish) juvenile and adult;

Paralicthys dentatus (summer flounder) juvenile and adult; Peprilis triacanthos (Atlantic butterfish) eggs, larvae, juvenile and adult ; Centropristus striata (black sea bass) juvenile

and adult; eggs, larvae, juvenile, and adult stages of Sciaenops ocellatus (red drum), Scomberomorus cavalla (king mackerel), Scomberomorus maculatus (spanish mackerel), and Rachycentron canadum (cobia), all managed species under the MSFCMA.

 

The project has the potential to adversely affect EFH or the species of concern by loss of

nursery, forage and/or shelter habitat.  The project may have an adverse effect on Essential Fish Habitat as described under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for the species and life stages identified above.  However, the District Engineer has made a preliminary determination that site-specific impacts would not be substantial and an abbreviated consultation will be

 

 

conducted with NMFS.  This determination may be modified if additional information indicates otherwise and would change the preliminary determination.

SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Any written comments concerning the work described above which relate to water quality certification must be received by the Maryland Department of the Environment, Tidal Wetlands Division, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  The Section 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: The applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the State’s federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP).  By this public notice, we are requesting the State’s concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency certification statement.  It should be noted that Maryland’s CZMP has a statutory limit of 6 months to make its consistency determination.

The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.

A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work will not affect listed species or their critical habitat pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act as amended.  As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.

Review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that no registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion therein are located at the site of the proposed work.  Currently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the requested permit.

Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit may request a public hearing.  The request, which must be in writing, must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, [Attn: Mrs. Mary Frazier, CENAB-OP-RMN], P.O. Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715, within the comment period as specified as above to receive consideration.  Also, it must clearly state forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected.

It is requested that you communicate the foregoing information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.

FOR THE DISTRICT ENGINEER:

                                                                        JOSEPH P. DAVIA

                                                                        Chief, Maryland Section Northern

                       

bridge replacement Choptank River Dover Bridge MD 331