Federal Register: July 19, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 139)
DOCID: FR Doc 02-18228
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Natural Resources Conservation Service
ACTION: Environmental statements; availability, etc.:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of a Finding of No Significant Impact.
Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14: Gwinnett County, GA
Pursuant to Section 102[c] of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations [40 CFR Part 1500]; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Regulations [7 CFR Part 650]; the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, gives notice that an environmental impact statement is not being prepared for the Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14, Gwinnett County, Georgia.
Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14, GA,
The Environmental Assessment of this federally assisted action indicates that the project will not cause significant local, regional, or national impacts on the environment. As a result of these findings, Leonard Jordan, State Conservationist, has determined that the preparation and review of an environmental impact statement is not needed for this project.
The project purpose is continued flood prevention. The planned works of improvement include upgrading an existing floodwater retarding structure.
The Notice of a Finding of No Significant Impact [FONSI] has been forwarded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to various Federal, States, and local agencies and interest parties. A limited number of the FONSI are available to fill single copy requests at the above address. Basic data developed during the environmental assessment are on file and may be reviewed by contacting Jimmy Bramblett at the above number.
No administrative action on implementation of the proposal will be [[Page 47507]]
taken until 30 days after the date of this publication in the Federal Register.
[This activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under 10.904, Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention, and is subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12373, which requires intergovernment consultation with State and local officials].
The Yellow River Watershed is a federally assisted action authorized for planning under Public Law 106472, the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Act, which amends Public Law 83566, the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act. An environmental assessment was undertaken in conjunction with development of the watershed plan. This assessment was conducted in consultation with local, State, and Federal agencies as well as with interested organizations and individuals. Data developed during the assessment are available for public review at the following location: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 355 East Hancock Avenue, Athens, Georgia 30601. Recommended Action
This document describes a plan for upgrading an existing floodwater
retarding structure, Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14 [Y14], to
meet current dam safety criteria in Georgia. The plan calls for
construction of a rollercompacted concrete emergency spillway over the
top of an existing earthen embankment. Works of improvement will be
accomplished by providing financial and technical assistance through an eligible local sponsor.
The principal project measures are to:
1. Construct a rollercompacted concrete emergency spillway over the top of an existing earthen embankment. This constructed emergency spillway is designed to bring the existing dam into compliance with current dam safety criteria in Georgia. The current emergency spillway will be removed from service by constructing a berm from material excavated on the existing embankment.
2. The measures will be planned and installed by developing a contract with the current operator of the dam.
Effects of Recommended Action
Installing a rollercompacted emergency spillway will bring Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14 into compliance with current dam safety criteria. This will essentially eliminate the risk to loss of life for individuals in 45 homes, 2 businesses, 2 recreational facilities, and 5 roads [7 bridges] downstream. Additional effects will include continued protection against flooding, continued water quality benefits, continued fishing activities, continued recreational opportunities, protected land values, protected road and utility networks, and reduced maintenance costs for public infrastructure.
Wildlife habitat will not be disturbed during installation activities. No wetlands, wildlife habitat, fisheries, prime farmland, or cultural resources will be destroyed or threatened by this project. Some 25 acres of wetland and wetland type wildlife habitat will be preserved. Fishery habitats will also be maintained.
No endangered or threatened plant or animal species will be adversely affected by the project.
There are no wilderness areas in the watershed.
Scenic values will be complemented with improved riparian quality and cover conditions resulting from the installation of conservation animal waste management system and grazing land practices.
Seven alternative plans of action were considered in project planning. No significant adverse environmental impacts are anticipated from installation of the selected alternative. Also, the planned action is the most practical, complete, and acceptable means of protecting life and property of downstream residents.
Original sponsoring organizations include the Gwinnett County Government, Gwinnett County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council. At the initiation of the planning process, meetings were held with representatives of the original sponsoring organizations to ascertain their interest and concerns regarding the Yellow River Watershed. Gwinnett County agreed to serve as ``lead sponsor'' being responsible for leading the planning process with assistance from NRCS. As lead sponsor they also agreed to provide nonfederal costshare, property rights, operation and maintenance, and public participation during, and beyond, the planning process. Meetings with the project sponsors were held throughout the planning process, and project sponsors provided representation at planning term, technical advisory, and public meetings.
An Interdisciplinary Planning Team provided for the ``technical'' administration of this project. Technical administration includes tasks pursuant to the NRCS ninestep planning process, and planning procedures outlined in the NRCSNational Planning Procedures Handbook. Examples of tasks completed by the Planning Team include, but are not limited to, Preliminary Investigations, Hydrologic Analysis, Reservoir Sedimentation Surveys, Economic Analysis, Formulating and Evaluating Alternatives, and Writing and Watershed PlanEnvironmental Assessment. Data collected from partner agencies, databases, landowners, and others throughout the entire planning process, were evaluated at Planning Team meetings held on 1/27/02, 2/14/02, 2/27/02, 3/20/02, 5/29/02, 6/12/02, and 6/26/02. Informal discussions amongst planning team members, partner agencies, and landowners were conducted throughout the entire planning period.
A Technical Advisory Group was developed to aid the Planning Team
with the planning process. The following agencies were involved in
developing this plan and provided representation on the Technical Advisory Group:
A meeting and field tour with the Technical Advisory Group was held on February 27, 2002 to assess proposed measures and their potential impact on resources of concern. A review of National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] concerns was initiated at this meeting. Effects of proposed measures on NEPA concerns reviewed were documented. Additional field tours were held with the COE on March 11, 2002 to determine the most efficient 404 permitting process.
Suzanne Kenyon, Cultural Resources Specialist with the NRCS National Water Management Center, visited the
project site in the fall of 2001. She provided a methodology for considering culturally significant resources, which was followed in this planning process. An inventory of the watershed, and associated downstream impacted area was completed with no culturally important or archaeological sites noted. The area of potential effect was provided to the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office with passive concurrence provided.
A public meeting was held on March 20, 2002 to explain the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program and to scope resource problems, issues, and concerns of local residents associated with the Y14 project area. Potential alternative solutions to bring Y14 into compliance with current dam safety criteria were also presented. Through a voting process, meeting participants provided input on issues and concerns to be considered in the planning process, and identified the most socially acceptable alternative solution.
A second public meeting was held on June 26, 2002 to summarize planning accomplishments, convey results of the reservoir sedimentation survey, and present various structural alternatives. The roller compacted concrete alternative was identified as the most complete, acceptable, efficient, and effective plan for the watershed. Conclusion
The Environmental Assessment summarized above indicates that this
Federal action will not cause significant adverse local, regional or
national impacts on the environment. Therefore, based on the above
finding, I have determined that an environmental impact statement for
the recommended plan of action on Yellow River Watershed Structure No. 14 is not required.
Dated: July 8, 2002.
[FR Doc. 0218228 Filed 71802; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 341016M
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Jimmy Bramblett, Water Resources Specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Building, 355 East Hancock Avenue, Athens, Georgia 30601, Telephone (706) 546 2073, EMail jimmy,firstname.lastname@example.org.