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PN14-09 (Athens Borough Susquehanna River Bank Stabilization) - Bradford County, PA

Posted: 1/30/2014

Expiration date: 1/30/2014

     Public Notice

U.S. Army Corps             In Reply to Application Number

of Engineers                     CENAB-OP-RPA-2014-00114 (Athens Borough Susquehanna River

Baltimore District                Bank Stabilization)

PN-14-09                                Comment Period:    January 30, 2014 to March 1, 2014


This District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33. U.S.C. 1344) as described below:

APPLICANT: Athens Borough, 2 South River Street, Athens, Pennsylvania 18810



West bank of the Susquehanna River from the Front Street Bridge to Walnut Street, parallel to South River Street, in Athens Borough, Bradford County, Pennsylvania (Enclosure 1).


During Tropical Storm Lee, the Borough of Athens experienced significant flooding and stream bank erosion. Emergency permits and general permits were issued to attempt to repair some of the damage. The existing bank is predominately a 1.5:1 slope and is not stable. The applicant proposes to excavate the bank, install geotextile fabric, and place 2,800 linear feet of R7 rip rap from the Front Street Bridge to Walnut Street. The R7 rock was selected due to the permissible velocity of 14.5 feet per second. During a 100-year storm, mean velocity on this portion of the Susquehanna River ranges from 8.3 to 10.3 feet per second. The R7 will provide a factor of safety since the 2011 storm exceeded the 100-year storm velocities. Work is proposed to occur during mid to late summer when river levels are lowest. The applicant’s stated purpose is to stabilize the western bank of the Susquehanna River in Athens Borough to prevent further stream bank erosion and reduce the amount of sediment being discharged into the river.

The proposed stream bank stabilization project will have the following impacts:

Permanent Impacts:

Approximately 140,000 square feet (2,800 linear feet) of R7 rip rap will be installed on the western bank of the Susquehanna River. Of the 140,000 square feet of total rip rap, approximately 75,000 square feet will be placed below the ordinary high water mark of the river.

Temporary Impacts:

Temporary impacts for construction and access will occur within the same 140,000 square feet (2,800 linear feet) of area where the rip rap will be placed. No additional temporary impacts will occur.

There are no wetland impacts associated with this project.


Mitigation Statement: A general mitigation plan was developed for the stream bank stabilization project to address the impacts to the surrounding environment. All Best Management Practices and Erosion and Sediment Control practices would be followed to minimize impacts to the surrounding environment, and work will occur within the limits of disturbance for the rip rap placement to avoid additional impacts. The project will help stabilize the bank of the river to reduce the amount of sediment being discharged into the river.  Since there is no permanent loss of waters or wetlands, no mitigation is proposed.

All work is proposed to be completed in accordance with the enclosed plan(s) (Enclosure 2).  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Ms. Holly Woodruff at
holly.a.woodruff@usace.army.mil, or by mail at: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tioga Field Office, 710 Ives Run Lane, Tioga, Pennsylvania 16946.

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, 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 reasonable 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, economic, 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, mineral needs, and consideration 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 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, ATTN: Ms. Holly Woodruff, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tioga Field Office, 710 Ives Run Lane, Tioga, Pennsylvania 16946 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 effect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  The Corps has determined this project will not affect any EFH.

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 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  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 PROGRAMS:  Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.  By this public notice, we are requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.  It should be noted that the CZM Program 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 Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Review was performed on July 24, 2013 with the search resulting in no anticipated impacts to Federally listed threatened or endangered species. However, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission listed three species of fresh water mussel as species of concern. Correspondence dated October 8, 2013, identified as Species Impact Review #41493, from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to the applicant states “…all aspects of the project work will be carried out so that there will be no impact or only minimal impact to any body of water. Provided that best management practices and an approved strict erosion/sediment control plan is maintained, then I do not anticipate the proposed activity to have any significant adverse impacts to the mussel species of special concern.”  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. Additionally, the applicant coordinated with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), and in correspondence dated September 19, 2013, ER No. 13-2168-015-A,  the PHMC determined that the project will have no effect on historic properties. Currently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the request permit.

The evaluation of the impact of this project 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 request, which must be in writing, must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, ATTN: Ms. Holly Woodruff, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tioga Field Office, 710 Ives Run Lane, Tioga, Pennsylvania 16946, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  Also, it must clearly set 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 this information concerning the proposed work to any persons know by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.

Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received within the comment period specified above to receive consideration.  Please submit written comments to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 Baltimore District

ATTN: Ms. Holly Woodruff

Tioga Field Office

710 Ives Run Lane

Tioga, Pennsylvania 16946

                                                                        Wade B. Chandler

                                                                        Chief, Pennsylvania Section

                                                                        Regulatory Branch


Athens Front Street Bridge riprap susquehanna river