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PN16-02 (Delmarva Power & Light - Pocomoke City to Oak Hall, VA) - 2015-61751 - Worcester County

Posted: 1/5/2016

Expiration date: 1/25/2016


                                               Public Notice                                                   

U.S. Army Corps             In Reply to Application Number                          

of Engineers                   CENAB-OP-RMS (Delmarva Power & Light – Pocomoke City to

Baltimore District              Oak Hall, VA) 2015-61751

PN 16-02                          Comment Period: January 5, 2016 to January 25, 2016

                                     

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 (DA) permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), as described below:

 

APPLICANT:               Delmarva Power & Light

                                    A subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc

                                    c/o Mr. Chuck Reed

                                    401 Eagle Run Road, Mailstop 79NC64

                                    Newark, Delaware  19714-9239

 

LOCATION:  In unnamed tributaries of the Sinepuxent Bay and adjacent wetlands; Kings Creek and adjacent wetlands; unnamed tributaries of Herring Creek and adjacent wetlands; Kitts Branch and adjacent wetlands; unnamed tributaries of Kitts Branch and adjacent wetlands; Union Branch; unnamed tributaries of Union Branch and adjacent wetlands along 5 miles of a 50 to 150-foot wide right –of-way (ROW) from the Pocomoke Substation (Worcester County).  The project runs from the intersection of Route 13 and Route 113, in Pocomoke City, to Virginia Road/Pocomoke Beltway south to Run Swamp Road to MD Route 371, to the substation located off McMichael Avenue, in Worcester County, Maryland.

 

WORK:  To rebuild and replace structures along a 5 mile long section of 138kV Circuit 13787 electric utility line within the existing right of way.  Eleven structures would be replaced and 18 structures would be repaired.  The project would temporarily impact approximately 49,788 square feet of wetland for the placement of wetland mats; 11 of the 29 structures being repaired or replaced are located in, near, or through nontidal wetlands.  The existing 70-foot tall H-frame structures will be replaced with 75-foot tall wooden H-frame structures.  There are no permanent wetland impacts or in stream impacts proposed.  

The method of work for wetland conversion is to be conducted by equipment on mats, as identified in the project plans, or to be done by hand.  Existing vegetation would be cut above the soil line; material would be hauled out of wetland areas by mats; and any stumps below the soil surface would remain in place.  The removed material would be placed, chipped, or chopped in an upland location in the project area and left in place.  Temporary composite interlocking mats would be utilized during construction and would result in temporary impacts to approximately 49,788 square feet of nontidal wetlands.  The applicant proposes to remediate impacts to wetlands associated with the utilization of mats following completion of construction.  All work is to be completed in accordance with the proposed plan(s).  More detailed impact plates are available upon request.  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Ms. Chikita Sanders of this office at (410) 962-5676 or via email at chikita.m.sanders@usace.army.mil.

As part of the planning process for the proposed project, steps were taken to ensure avoidance and minimization of impacts to waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable. The majority of the project would be replacement of existing poles within 10 feet of the original wooden pole position.  The new single-pole wooden structures are proposed in close proximity to current pole locations to reduce impacts to existing wetland habitat and the existing poles would be cut at the substrate and disposed at an off-site location to reduce permanent impacts and soil disturbance within wetland areas. The applicant has proposed to remediate all temporary access impacts following completion of the work.

 

The purpose of the project is to maintain compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards, to support future growth, to improve overall system reliability, and to enhance local and regional safety via replacement of aging infrastructure. 

 

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 does not lie in or adjacent to EFH as described under MSFCMA. The project is unlikely to adversely affect EFH or the species of concern by alteration of spawning, nursery, forage and/or shelter habitat.

 

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 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 provided will become part of the public record for this action.  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, Post Office Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.

 

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 Wetlands and Waterways Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Boulevard Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland  21230 within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  The 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year to make its decision. 

 

The applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Maryland Coastal Zone Program.  This certification statement is available for inspection in the District Office; however, public comments relating to consistency must be received by the Coastal Zone Division, Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland  21230, within the comment period as specified above.  It should be noted that CZ Division has a statutory limit of 6 months in which 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.

 

The evaluation of the impact of the work described above on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Any person who has an interest, which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit, may request a public hearing.  The District Engineer must receive the request, which must be in writing, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Post Office 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 that may be adversely affected by this activity in 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:

 

 

 

                                                                                    Kathy B. Anderson

                                                                                    Chief, Maryland Section Southern       

Delmarva Power & Light Kings Creek Pocomoke Substation Sinepuxent Bay