Draft Watershed Resliency Projects: PEA

Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Colorado | March 2015
Federal Emergency Management Agency
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Denver Federal Center
Building 710, Box 25267
Denver, CO 80225-0267
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................................... i
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS .......................................................................................................... iv
SECTION ONE | INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 6
1.1
OVERVIEW.................................................................................... 6
1.2
BACKGROUND............................................................................. 7
1.3
PROCESS FOR USE OF PEA ....................................................... 9
SECTION TWO | PURPOSE AND NEED .................................................................................................... 10
SECTION THREE | ALTERNATIVES........................................................................................................... 11
3.1
INTRODUCTION..................................................................................... 11
3.2
ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED ........................................................... 11
Alternative 1: No Action............................................................................ 11
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities ......................................... 12
3.3
ALTERNATIVES NOT CONSIDERED.................................................. 14
SECTION FOUR | AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES................. 15
4.1
PHYSICAL RESOURCES ....................................................................... 15
4.1.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 15
4.1.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 17
4.2
TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES ......................................................... 18
4.2.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 18
4.2.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 18
4.3
SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH ........................................ 18
4.3.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 18
4.3.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 19
4.4
SOCIOECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENAL JUSTICE .................... 20
4.4.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 20
4.4.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 20
4.5
AIR QUALITY ......................................................................................... 21
4.5.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 21
4.5.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 21
4.6
NOISE ....................................................................................................... 22
4.6.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 22
4.6.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 22
4.7
PUBLIC SERVICES AND UTILITIES ................................................... 23
4.7.1 Affected Environment ...................................................................... 23
4.7.2 Environmental Consequences .......................................................... 23
4.8
WATER RESOURCES............................................................................. 24
4.8.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 24
4.8.2 Environmental Consequences .......................................................... 26
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4.9
BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES .................................................................. 31
4.9.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 31
4.9.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 36
4.10 CULTURAL RESOURCES ..................................................................... 39
4.10.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 39
4.10.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 40
4.11 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS .................................................................. 42
4.11.1 Affected Environment ................................................................... 42
4.11.2 Environmental Consequences ....................................................... 42
4.12 CUMULATIVE IMPACTS .......................................................................... 43
4.12.1 Summary of Cumulative Impacts .................................................. 43
SECTION FIVE | MITIGATION MEASURES ............................................................................................... 46
SECTION SIX | SUMMARY OF IMPACTS .................................................................................................. 48
SECTION SEVEN | PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT.............................................................................................. 54
7.1
PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENT ............................................................... 54
7.2
PUBLIC NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY for COMMENT ...................... 55
7.3
PUBLIC COMMENTS RECEIVED ........................................................ 56
SECTION Eight | LIST OF PREPARERS .................................................................................................... 56
SECTION Nine | REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 57
FIGURES
Figure 1: Colorado State Map by County ............................................................................................ 8
Figure 2: Native American Reservations on the Colorado Plateau ...................................................... 8
Figure 3: Overview of Colorado River Basin .................................................................................... 25
Figure 4: Bioengineering Using Engineered Woody Debris ............................................................. 28
Figure 5: Woody Debris Bank Stabilization Cross-Section ............................................................... 28
Figure 6: Grade Control ..................................................................................................................... 29
Figure 7: Sample ESA Consultation Letter ........................................................................................ 37
Figure 8: Information, Planning and Consultation System (IPaC) .................................................... 38
Figure 9: Sample NHPA Section 106 Consultation Letter ................................................................ 41
Figure 10: DURT Viewer | CO Front Range ..................................................................................... 44
TABLES
Table 1: Land Cover of Colorado ...................................................................................................... 16
Table 2: Colorado Ecosystems ........................................................................................................... 31
Table 3: Threatened, Endangered and Candidate Species in Colorado. ............................................ 33
Table 4: Mitigation Measures by Resource Area ............................................................................... 46
Table 5: Summary of Impacts ............................................................................................................ 49
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APPENDICES
Appendix A: Finding
Appendix B: Figures and Tables
Appendix C: Comments Received
Appendix D: Compliance Checklist
Appendix E: Additional Resources
Appendix F: Best Practices | Promoting Successful Mitigation in Colorado, September 2014
Appendix G: Engineering With Nature | Alternative Techniques to Riprap Bank Stabilization
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Acronyms and Abbreviations
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
BMP
BGEPA
CDBG-DR
CDNR
CDOT
CDPHE
CEQ
CFLHD
CFR
CPW
DHS
DURT
EA
EO
ESA
EWP
FEMA
FHWA
FONSI
FWCA
GPD
HMA
HMGP
HUD
MBTA
NEPA
NHPA
NRCS
NRHP
OSHA
PA
PDM
PEA
PFHD
PPE
ROW
SCMP
SEA
Best Management Practice
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Colorado Department of Transportation
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Council on Environmental Quality
Central Federal Lands Highway Division
Code of Federal Regulations
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Department of Homeland Security
Colorado Disaster Unified Review Team
Environmental Assessment
Executive Order
Endangered Species Act
Emergency Watershed Protection
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Highway Administration
Finding of No Significant Impact
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
Grants Program Directorate
Hazard Mitigation Assistance
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
National Environmental Policy Act
National Historic Preservation Act of 1996
Natural Resources Conservation Service
National Register of Historic Places
Occupational Health and Safety Administration
Public Assistance
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Provisional Flood Hazard Delineation
Personal Protective Equipment
Right of Way
Stream Corridor Master Plan
Supplemental Environmental Assessment
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Acronyms and Abbreviations
SFHA
SHPO
SRIA
UDFCD
USACE
USC
USFWS
Special Flood Hazard Area
State Historic Preservation Officer
Sandy Recovery Improvement Act
Urban Drainage Flood Control District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Code
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Section 1 | Introduction
SECTION ONE | INTRODUCTION
1.1
OVERVIEW
This Programmatic Environmental Assessment was prepared in accordance with Unified
Federal Review as outlined in The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA), Section 6: Unified
Federal Review mandates the establishment of an “…expedited and unified interagency review
process to ensure compliance with environmental and historic requirements under Federal law
relating to disaster recovery projects, in order to expedite the recovery process, consistent with
applicable law.” i, ii, iii
The Federal Government, through multiple agencies and their programs, proposes to perform
comprehensive watershed resiliency actions through river restoration, bank stabilization and
hydraulic capacity mitigation measures to restoring watershed function. These actions will be
implemented under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding programs, such
as, but not limited to Individual Assistance (IA), Public Assistance (PA), Hazard Mitigation
Assistance (HMA) and Grants Program Directorate (GPD) funding. iv The Federal Highways
Administration (FHWA) may provide funding as part of the Emergency Relief (ER) program v or
Emergency Relief Federally Owned (ERFO) program vi and the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may provide funding as part of the
Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. vii The U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) may provide funding as part of the Community Development Block
Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program viii. Other Federal Agency (OFA) grant programs
may also be applicable. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be responsible for
issuing appropriate Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permits as required.
This Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) has been prepared to analyze the potential
environmental consequences associated with the proposed actions while providing a framework
for the evaluation of Federal and State laws and regulations. The proposed action and no action
alternative in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) 1, the
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations 2 and the Emergency
Management and Assistance Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 3.
This analysis is
programmatic in nature and does not address individual site-specific impacts, which will be
evaluated for individual projects prior to approval. ix
1
42 United States Code [USC] 55 parts 4321 et seq., 2000
40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 30 parts 1500 et seq., 2004
3
44 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Ch. I Part 10, and 23 CFR 771., 2013
2
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Section 1 | Introduction
1.2
BACKGROUND
In September 2013 flooding in northeastern Colorado set records as rain widened river banks and
rerouted flow patterns causing damage to watersheds. As a result local coalitions formed with the
mission of formulating comprehensive watershed master planning for recovery projects. As of
March 2015 the watershed coalitions are drafting master plans outlining unmet needs for total
watershed restoration. The most up to date information on specific watershed coalitions and
points of contact can be obtained from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). 4
This PEA evaluates typical actions undertaken by Federal Agencies, or any entity responsible for
federal level environmental compliance, (referred to hereafter as ‘The Agencies’) to provide
financial support or technical assistance to these coalitions or to any disaster recovery project
covered by the scope of this document in the state of Colorado. This includes future major
disaster events such as flooding, fires, avalanche and tornados which result in similar impacts to
watershed environments. This PEA also provides the public and decision-makers with the
information required to understand and evaluate the potential environmental consequences of
these actions and to consider these impacts in decision making.
The PEA assesses environmental compliance for the restoration of watershed hydraulic capacity
and floodplain capacity through:
•
•
•
Biologically inspired mitigation measures such as bank stabilization and hardening
using natural materials and re-vegetation, referred to as bioengineering. 5
Multi-objective project design of hydraulic control elements such as fish-passage
friendly drop structures, energy dissipating fish ladders or the creation of recreational
open space to preserve watershed functions. 6
Watershed restoration and mitigation including channel shaping or re-profiling,
floodplain construction, overflow channel construction, riparian re-vegetation, instream habitat improvement.
The NEPA and its implementing regulations direct The Agencies to take into consideration the
environmental consequences of proposed actions during the decision-making process. The
Agencies must comply with requirements identified in the NEPA process before making Federal
funds available. The Agencies have determined through experience that the majority of the
typical recurring actions proposed for funding, and for which an Environmental Assessment
(EA) is required under NEPA, can be grouped by type of action or location. These groups can be
evaluated in a PEA for compliance with NEPA without the need to develop project specific EAs.
In this way the purpose of this PEA is to streamline the federal environmental review process.
4
For Watershed Coalition details visit the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) – Department of Natural
Resources (DNR). cwcb.state.co.us
5
See Sections 4.8 and 4.9 of this PEA and Appendix G: Engineering With Nature
6
See Sections 4.8 and 4.9 of this PEA and Appendix F Mitigation Best Practices and Appendix G Engineering With
Nature. Another useful, though dated, resource is Using Multi-Objective Management to Reduce Flood Losses in
Your Watershed prepared by the Association of State Floodplain Managers Inc (ASFPM), in 1996.
http://www.floods.org/PDF/Using_MOM_in_Watershed.pdf
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Section 1 | Introduction
The project area of this PEA encompasses the State of Colorado (Figure 1), the Ute Mountain
Indian Reservation and the Southern Ute Indian Reservation (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Colorado State Map by Countyx
Figure 2: Native American Reservations on the Colorado Plateau xi
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Section 1 | Introduction
1.3
PROCESS FOR USE OF PEA
A PEA is utilized to address a group of projects that are similar in scope, scale, magnitude, and
the nature of impact. This PEA is regional in scope, covers numerous ecosystems and political
boundaries, and focuses on a range of watershed recovery actions. The use of a PEA can reduce
redundant analytical undertakings and identify cumulative impacts created by these actions. In
contrast an EA assesses impacts on a specific project site and the immediate surroundings.
For a project to qualify under this PEA the scope of the project and the nature of impacts must be
evaluated within this document, see Appendix D – Compliance Checklist. Additional analysis
and project specific mitigation may be required by this document as the context and intensity of
proposed project impacts become apparent. All projects using this PEA must undergo standard
federal environmental compliance procedures to verify the project is consistent with scope of this
PEA. The agencies will use this PEA to determine the level of environmental analysis and
documentation required under NEPA for the watershed recovery projects being evaluated. If the
description of the site-specific nature of the project and the levels of analysis are fully and
accurately described in this PEA, the Agencies will take no further action other than to document
that conclusion using the Compliance Checklist found in Appendix D.
If a specific action is expected to (1) create impacts not described in this PEA; (2) create impacts
greater in magnitude, extent, or duration than those described in this PEA; or (3) require
mitigation measures to keep impacts below significant levels that are not described in this PEA;
then a Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) would be prepared to address the specific
action. The SEA would be tiered from this PEA in accordance with the CEQ NEPA
implementing regulations 7. Actions that are determined during the preparation of the SEA to
require a more detailed or broader environmental review will be subject to the stand-alone EA or
other applicable process.
Any official usage of this document all supporting documentation, project specific compliance
checklists and potential SEAs, must be submitted to the Colorado Disaster Unified Review Team
(DURT) via [email protected] for purposes of documenting cumulative watershed
impacts.
7
40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 30 parts 1508.28, 2004
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Section 2 | Purpose and Need
SECTION TWO | PURPOSE AND NEED
The purpose of this PEA is to facilitate environmental review for watershed resiliency activities
and track subsequent natural and cultural resource cumulative impacts in the state of Colorado.
The need is based on the existence of damages which impede traditional watershed functionality
as a result of major disaster events.
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Section 3 | Alternatives Considered
SECTION THREE | ALTERNATIVES
3.1
INTRODUCTION
The following Alternatives are being considered for further evaluation in this PEA. These
alternatives represent classes of actions that may be implemented individually or in combination
with one another. Depending upon the action determined necessary by the Agencies to restore
and improve watershed function and the individual characteristics of the specific site, some
options may not be viable.
3.2
ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED
Alternative 1: No Action
A No Action Alternative is required to be included in this environmental assessment in
accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA.
The No Action Alternative is defined as maintaining the status quo with no Agency involvement.
This alternative is used to evaluate the effects of not performing watershed resiliency activities
and so provides a benchmark against which other alternatives may be evaluated.
Existing watershed conditions enable chronic infliction of damages to infrastructure, properties,
and watershed elements in future high velocity events. Additionally the existing watershed
deposition features drainage corridors that run through steep narrow canyons presenting threats
to downhill communities. Conveyance of large debris can destroy emergency access to
communities and cause destruction of private property. In this scenario communities will become
isolated and suffer delayed emergency response actions and medical services. The conveyance of
large debris combined with infrastructure damage can also block or destroy safe egress for
evacuations creating the potential for loss of life.
In this alternative there is likelihood that recovery projects would still be completed by locals or
private landowners and may be approached in an uncoordinated manner that does not
appropriately consider environmental impacts. Individual projects may accomplish inconsistent
hydraulic capacity creating upstream or downstream impacts. Unpredictable downstream flows
could lead to chronic infrastructure and property damages and unpredictable flood events.
Infrastructure with insufficient hydraulic capacity could lead to structural failure and risk loss of
life. A lack of watershed capacity coordination could have lasting effects on Colorado
agricultural resources and further complicate an already notorious history of Colorado water
rights management. 8
8
For more on Colorado water rights management see:
Colorado Division of Water Resources | Department of Natural Resources: History of Water Rights.
http://water.state.co.us/SURFACEWATER/SWRIGHTS/Pages/WRHistory.aspx
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Section 2 | Purpose and Need
For the purpose of this programmatic environmental analysis, under the No Action Alternative
the State of Colorado and individual project proponents would have to rely on savings,
insurance, loans, or other forms of assistance to restore watersheds.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
This alternative applies to restoration, replacement and mitigation of existing watershed
elements. This alternative differs from No Action in that it includes watershed restoration
activities with natural and cultural resource consideration, bioengineering and multi-objective
design considerations as outlined in section four of this PEA. Watershed flood hazards would be
mitigated without major relocation of watershed elements. In some locations leaving watershed
features in post-flood locations may be the safest and/or most cost-effective option.
Changes to materials and dimensions are included in this alternative. This includes upgrades to
meet existing codes and standards as well as upgrades warranted to address conditions that have
changed since the original construction. In the case of stream corridors that no longer serve as
functional drainage, bank stabilization and/or grade control may be needed to restore stream
corridor function and stability.
Alternative 2 will result in the redistribution of sediment, rock, woody debris and other materials
within watersheds to reestablish appropriate hydraulic capacity of stream corridors, river
channels and accompanying floodplains. Engineering plans which define the appropriate
geometry and elevations to reestablish desired hydraulic capacity and a monitoring plan of action
that oversees all contractor activity utilized to complete the scope of work will be required.
Local standard Best Management Practices (BMP), to prevent erosion, sedimentation,
contamination, and the spread of noxious weeds must be implemented. Standard BMPs are
available from local municipal authorities and technical documentation can be found through the
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD). 9
Watershed, restoration generally involves the following activities:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
9
General construction activities within previously defined right of ways (ROW).
Creation of access and staging areas when needed to move trucks and heavy equipment
Dewatering to allow operations in-stream
Use of heavy equipment within a floodplain, stream bank or in-stream position
Establishment of temporary low-flow channels
Grading, shaping, and re-vegetation of watersheds by seeding or planting
Restoration of floodplain dimension, pattern and profile
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District: http://www.udfcd.org/index.html .
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Section 2 | Purpose and Need
Creating access may require removing riparian vegetation, excavating and bank filling, grading,
and stabilization. The number of access routes should be minimized. Access routes and staging
areas should be located within un-vegetated and previously disturbed areas. Existing riparian
vegetation should not be disturbed or buried. Dewatering diverts water within a stream, resulting
in dry conditions needed to perform work. Some projects will require usage of heavy equipment
either from the bank or in-stream.
In establishing a low-flow channel, heavy equipment is used to excavate an impaired streambed
to restore the stream’s channel on its outside bends. The low- flow channel maintains the base
flow (normal stream flow during average periods of rainfall) of the stream and aids in
transporting fine sediment and reduces impacts to aquatic habitats.
Grading and shaping affected stream banks may be necessary during the finishing phase of a job
to create slopes with a gradient suitable for sustaining vegetative growth. Reestablishing
vegetation is accomplished by hand or mechanical seeding or planting. Any disturbed areas
should be restored using native riparian plant species and weed-free mulch and fertilizers.
Debris use or disposal involves a number of choices, and the advantages and disadvantages of
each option are affected by feasibility and cost. The method selected depends on the
circumstances at the disposal site and an evaluation of how disposal may affect the environment.
Debris can be used for a number of purposes either on-site or off-site.
Construction and demolition debris or any debris containing hazardous materials requires special
consideration. Disposal should follow all applicable State and local regulations regarding
handling and disposal. Regulations can be found through the Colorado Department of Public
Health and Safety (CDPHE) Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. 10
Cobbles or boulders may be used to stabilize banks, although retention of cobbles on site may
contribute to the debris load in flood events. Where practical, cobbles and debris will be removed
from the floodplain. Cobble and gravel can be used to restore fish habitat and/or to dissipate
energy. Root wads (tree trunks with root structure intact) and tree trunks can also be used to
stabilize stream banks, but must be anchored in a way to prevent release back into the
waterway. 11
10
Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety | Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hm
11
See sections 4.8 and 4.9 of this PEA and Appendix F: Mitigation Best Practices Guide and Appendix G:
Engineering with Nature for more information on the types of bank stabilization and fish passage required by this
alternative.
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Section 2 | Purpose and Need
Further technical documentation on seed and plant sources and Riparian and Bioengineering can
be found through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Plant Materials
Program. 12
3.3
ALTERNATIVES NOT CONSIDERED
Applicants for federal grant funding may repair watershed elements to pre-disaster condition
under programs like FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Program or make small mitigation
upgrades under Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs (HMGP). These types of projects may fall
into a Statutory or Categorical Exclusion under NEPA and will be evaluated accordingly. No
further review of these types of projects will be considered in this PEA.
12
Plant Materials Program | Riparian and Bioengineering | Natural Resources Conservation Service:
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/plantmaterials/technical/publications/?cid=stelprdb1043002
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Section 5 | Mitigation Measures
SECTION FOUR | AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL
CONSEQUENCES
4.1
PHYSICAL RESOURCES
4.1.1 Affected Environment
Geology and Soils
Colorado has a diverse geology, ranging from the western mountains lifted and folded by
tectonics and sculpted by glaciers to the eastern plains partly overlain by glacial till and dissected
by wind and water. The 2007 state geological map included 324 distinct geological units.
Colorado's eastern plains contain more than 30,000 square miles of wind- blown (eolian)
deposits. These eolian deposits consist of particles transported and deposited by the wind. Finegrained particles (dust) form loess deposits. Coarser-grained deposits form sand dunes of
varying shape.
Colorado has approximately a dozen glaciers. These are not remnants of the Pleistocene
glaciers, but were formed approximately 500 years ago during the Little Ice Age. The maximum
extent of the glaciers occurred about 1850. As the climate began warming again, the ice began
to melt and the glaciers began retreating back into the cirques.
At 6,800 feet above sea level, Colorado has the highest average elevation in the United States.
Thirty one percent (32,649 square miles) of the state is "mountainous", or greater than 8,000 feet.
The vertical range in elevation is more than two miles, ranging from a low of 3,313 feet above
sea level where the Arikaree River enters Kansas, to 14,440 feet at the crest of Mount Elbert near
the center of the state. It is generally accepted that Colorado has 53 to 58 named peaks that are
greater than 14,000 feet in elevation (depending on criteria used) and more than 700 peaks higher
than 13,000 feet. The largely mountainous Continental Divide is the principal hydrological
divide of the Americas. It extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates
the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the
Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea), and
along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic
Ocean. There are seven major river basins in Colorado: the Arkansas, Rio Grande, San Juan,
Colorado, Green, Platte and Republican. Four major river systems – the Platte, Colorado,
Arkansas, and Rio Grande – originate within the mountains of Colorado. xii
Five different physiographic provinces and three sub-provinces are found within Colorado:
Colorado Plateau, Wyoming Basin, Southern Rocky Mountains, Middle Rocky Mountains, and
the Great Plains which is divided into the Colorado Piedmont, High Plains, and Raton Basin.
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Colorado’s State soil is “Seitz soil” that consists of very deep, well drained, slowly permeable
soils that were formed from igneous, sedimentary, and volcanic rocks. Seitz soils are found on
mountains, mainly in southwestern and central Colorado.
Colorado, especially the Front Range, is classified as having two types of soil existing together:
expansive and hydro-compactable. Most soil in the Front Range can be classified as a swelling
soil – a soil that contains a high percentage of certain types of clay that absorb vast quantities of
water. This can cause the soil to expand 10% or more as moisture enters it, usually during winter
snow melt and spring runoff, and then contract when the moisture evaporates during the hot
summer months. xiii
Land Use
Land use in Colorado consists primarily of grassland/herbaceous areas (39.5%), Evergreen
Forest (20.8%), and Small Grains (24.0%) according to the National Land Cover Statistics
Database (USGS 2010) (Table 1). Residential development covers less than 1% of Colorado
lands.
Table 1: Land Cover of Colorado xiv
Land Cover Classes
State Totals
Units in Square Miles
Water
453
Perennial Ice/Snow
138
Low Intensity Residential
539
High Intensity Residential
76
Commercial/Industrial/Transportation
309
Bare Rock
1,111
Quarries/Mines
19
Transitional
89
Deciduous Forest
7,121
Evergreen Forest
21,663
Mixed Forest
798
Shrubland
16,878
Orchards/Vineyard
5
Grasslands/Herbaceous
41,073
Pasture/Hay
3,107
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Section 5 | Mitigation Measures
Row Crops
3,266
Small Grains
24,987
Fallow
2,291
Urban/Recreational Grasses
91
Woody Wetlands
14
Emergent/Herbaceous Wetlands
67
State Total
104,094
Source: USGS 2010
According to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there were
31,604,901 acres in Colorado classified as farmland and 36,700 farms. Prime farmland is found
throughout the state. Prime farmland, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the
land that is best suited to food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops. Colorado had
approximately 1,696,800 acres of nonfederal prime farmland recorded in 1997. This represents
over 2 percent of the state’s total land area or 4 percent of the nonfederal land in Colorado.
Nationally, 64 percent of soils classified as prime farmland are being used for cropland. In
Colorado, 93 percent of the soils classified as prime farmland are being utilized as cropland.
There has been a gradual loss overall of prime farmlands in Colorado. Approximately 53,300
acres of prime farmland were converted urban or rural development between 1982 and 1997.
Colorado is the 8th largest state by land and has 103,730 square miles. Property is divided into
private, federal, state, tribal and BIA, and water. xv
4.1.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. Alternative 1 has potential to pose safety
threats, permanently displace residents, further economic strains on the State of Colorado, alter
drainage and flow rates and to change land use if watersheds are not restored to functional
capacity. Loss in residential, commercial, agricultural, or recreational land use may occur.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
This alternative applies to restoration or replacement of watershed features and so a hydrologic
and hydraulic study will be used to determine the best redistribution for watersheds. Although
this will affect the physical environment the no action alternative is expected to alter stream
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Section 5 | Mitigation Measures
corridors at a more significant rate than the proposed actions. Watershed features are expected to
remain within the previous ROW so no changes in land use are anticipated.
4.2
TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES
4.2.1 Affected Environment
Colorado has 88,259 miles of highways, roads and streets and 8,260 bridges as of 2010. There
were 5,024,145 registered motor vehicles in the state as of 2009 and 3,638,374 licensed drivers
in the state as of 2010. Mobility in regional areas is critical for social, recreational and economic
activities. Commuting is a part of daily life and truck transportation plays a vital role in
Colorado’s economy. Any impediment to freight movement hinders economic performance and
growth. xvi
4.2.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. Immediate threats would persist unless
actions to restore watershed function would be provided by the State and/or local municipalities.
This alternative may result in significant adverse impacts due to increased travel times and traffic
volumes as damages to transportation facilities would remain.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
This alternative applies to restoration or replacement of existing watershed elements in the
existing location. Short term impacts would be expected during construction as traffic delays
and alternate routes may be required. No significant adverse long term impacts are expected to
the transportation volume, capacity, and time of transit. The transportation facilities would be
more resilient and less likely to experience substantial damage from future severe weather
events.
4.3
SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
4.3.1 Affected Environment
Safety and occupational health issues include exposure to natural hazards; one-time and longterm exposure to asbestos, lead, radiation, chemicals, and other hazardous materials; and injuries
or deaths resulting from a one-time accident. Safety and occupational health concerns could
impact personnel working on the project and in the surrounding area, as well as travelers near the
project sites. Buildings and infrastructure are damaged or isolated in the streambed creating
public safety issues. Structures constructed prior to 1978 have the potential to contain leadbased paint or asbestos.
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Lead exposure can result from paint chips or dust, or inhalation of lead vapors from torch-cutting
operations. Lead exposure can adversely affect the human nervous system. Exposure to lead
based paint is especially dangerous to small children. Occupational Health and Safety
Administration (OSHA) considers all painted surfaces in which lead is detectable to have a
potential for occupational health exposure.
Asbestos exposure can result from the inhalation of dust from a plethora construction materials
or household products. In 1988 the EPA issued regulations requiring certain companies to report
the asbestos used in their products. However, to this day these products can easily be found
anywhere in the United States. Asbestos fibers cannot be seen with the naked eye and when
inhaled can cause asbestosis that often progresses to disability and death. xvii
Considering Colorado’s rich history mining history sediment within riverbeds may have high
concentrations of lead and other heavy metals.
4.3.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. Residents, communities, and properties
would be left susceptible to significant future damages. Materials could be washed downstream
impacting other structures. These materials may have the potential to cause both lead and
asbestos exposure. A No Action Alternative may also result in restricted access for emergency,
police and fire services causing the potential for significant delay. The No Action Alternative
provides a significant adverse safety affect to residents of the State of Colorado.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
Alternative 2 would have no significant impact to public safety or occupational health.
Communities are expected to benefit from watershed resiliency activities. Removal or
redistribution of materials with painted surfaces or containing Asbestos may be required and
construction workers are required to follow OSHA regulations to provide appropriate Asbestos
abatement and avoid release of lead from paint. Construction workers and equipment operators
are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and be properly trained for
the work being performed. All solid or hazardous wastes that might be generated during
restoration or replacement must be removed and disposed of at a permitted facility or designated
collection point (e.g., for solid waste, a utility or construction company’s own dumpster).
Standard construction traffic control measures will be used to protect workers, residents and the
travelling public.
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4.4
SOCIOECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENAL JUSTICE
4.4.1 Affected Environment
According to the U.S. Census, the population of Colorado in 2000 was 4,301,261; in 2010 it was
5,029,196, with an estimated 5,268,367 in 2013. The five largest cities in Colorado at the time
of the 2010 Census were: Denver with 610,345; Colorado Springs with 399,803; Aurora with
323,288; Lakewood with 141,928; and Fort Collins with 138,722. Grand Junction is the largest
city on the western slope with 56,630, making it sixteenth largest city in the state.
The majority of the Census respondents (96.6%) identified themselves as being of one race. Of
those who identified themselves as being of one race, 81.3% identified themselves as being
White and 1.1% identified themselves as an American Indian or Alaska Native. The remaining
respondents identified themselves as Black or African American (4.0%), Asian (2.8%), Native
Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.1%) or some other race (7.2%).
There are two federally recognized American Indian tribes in Colorado: Southern Ute Indian
Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation and Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation
(Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). xviii
Poverty levels in Colorado were 12.5 % for all people and 16.6% for children under age 18. xix
Colorado’s economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated
agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important.
Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products.
Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2013 the largest non-farm employment
sector in Colorado was trade, transportation, and utilities (17.37%), followed by government
(17.05%), professional and business services (15.76%), education and health services (12.37%),
and leisure and hospitality (12.35%). Unemployment was 6.8% compared to 7.2% nationally. xx
4.4.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. There is no requirement for compliance with
Executive Orders (EO) 12898 (Environmental Justice) and 13045 (Protection of Children from
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks) since there are no federal actions. Alternative 1
has potential to result in significant adverse impact to socioeconomics of a community if
watershed elements are left in disrepair leaving infrastructure and private property vulnerable to
major disaster events. Residents may be isolated from their homes and businesses by roadway
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damages. The No Action alternative may cause significant damages to property and compromise
infrastructure.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
During the construction period this alternative may provide some short term benefits by
providing construction jobs and a multiple effect of increased expenditures in the local economy.
There may be major effects to populations during construction periods due to road detours, to
provide access to watershed features.
Efforts would be made during any construction to minimize short-term disruption to the local
transportation system. Low income and minority populations may benefit during the
construction process through the provision of construction jobs and multiplier effects of
expenditures in the local economy. Any adverse impacts to low income or minority populations
are expected to be short-term and not significant.
4.5
AIR QUALITY
4.5.1 Affected Environment
The Clean Air Act requires that states adopt ambient air quality standards. The standards have
been established in order to protect the public from potentially harmful amounts of pollutants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established National Ambient Air Quality
Standards (NAAQS) for six air pollutants. These pollutants include sulfur dioxide (SO2),
particulate matter with a diameter less than or equal to ten micrometers (PM10), carbon monoxide
(CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and lead. The EPA has designated specific areas as
NAAQS attainment or non-attainment areas. Non-attainment areas are any areas that do not
meet (or that contribute to ambient air quality in a nearby area that does not meet) the quality
standard for a pollutant.
Colorado is currently in attainment or maintenance for air quality as is the majority of Colorado
with the exception of the Denver-Boulder-Greeley-Ft. Collins-Loveland area which is listed as
being in nonattainment for 8-hour ozone under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. xxi
4.5.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. Vehicle emissions may increase do to
alternative transportation routes.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
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Watershed resiliency actions will require heavy construction equipment to reshape watershed
elements. During construction there may be temporary increases in equipment exhaust
emissions and fugitive dust. However, the temporary increase in equipment exhaust is expected
to be negligible as long as the equipment is well maintained and idling is minimized. All
necessary measures must be taken to minimize fugitive dust emissions created during
construction activities. Any complaints that may arise are to be dealt with in an efficient and
effective manner. The contractor would be required to keep all equipment in good working order
to minimize air pollution.
If fugitive dust were to become a problem it can be mitigated by periodic watering of active
construction areas, particularly areas close to any nearby sensitive receptors (e.g., hospitals,
senior citizen homes, schools). Impacts from fugitive dust are anticipated to be short-term and
negligible.
Where bank stabilization/construction within the stream corridor is required there would be some
short term increase in fugitive dust and vehicular emissions. Mitigation of fugitive dust, if
necessary can be accomplished by periodic watering of the demolition site.
After construction there would be no change in air quality as this alternative would not change
roadway length, and therefore would not change the amount of vehicle emissions.
4.6
NOISE
4.6.1 Affected Environment
Sounds that disrupt normal activities or otherwise diminish the quality of the environment are
designated as noise. Noise events that occur during the night (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) are generally
considered more annoying than those that occur during normal waking hours (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
Noise events in the project vicinity are associated with climatic conditions (e.g., wind, thunder),
transportation noise (e.g., traffic on roads, airplanes) and “life sounds” (e.g., people talking,
children playing).
4.6.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. There is the potential that overall noise
levels in the immediate area may increase due to locally funded temporary construction.
However, noise impacts are not expected to be significant.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
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Watershed resiliency activities are anticipated to carry a similar noise level to that which existed
at pre-disaster damage levels. Noise from construction activities may have short term adverse
effects on persons who live near the construction area. Noise levels can be minimized by
ensuring that construction equipment is equipped with a recommended muffler in good working
order. Noise impacts on residences can also be minimized by ensuring that construction
activities are not conducted during early morning or late evening hours. Noise levels of
construction equipment (70 to 72 dBA) at the distance in which affected parties would likely be
located (>200 feet/60 meters) will not be of a duration to be significant.
4.7
PUBLIC SERVICES AND UTILITIES
4.7.1 Affected Environment
Utility lines often cross or run along stream corridors, either overhead or underground. Public
services and utilities include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Fire protection
Law Enforcement
Emergency Medical Services
Schools
Water
Wastewater
Sanitation
Solid waste disposal
Storm water drainage
Electric utilities
Natural gas
Telephone/Telecommunications
4.7.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
This alternative does not include any federal action. Alternative one has the potential to affect
public services and utilities as watershed hazards can undermine, damage, or destroy facilities in
subsequent events if not removed. Fire, emergency, law enforcement, and school services would
be delayed as a result of continued inaccessibility of the route due to closed roads or bridges.
Depending on the length of detour required these services could be significantly impacted. In
addition, utility repair crews may not be able to reach damaged utility lines, resulting in lengthy
service outages.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
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During construction, delays in fire, emergency, law enforcement and school services may
continue, but these would be short term impacts. Once completed, public services would be
restored to pre-disaster levels. Utilities that cross or run along the watershed may be temporarily
interrupted, but this would be a short-term impact. No long term impacts would occur under this
alternative.
4.8
WATER RESOURCES
4.8.1 Affected Environment
Water resources in Colorado are heavily regulated. Colorado has more than 105,344 river miles
and more than 249,787 lake acres. There are seven major river basins in Colorado: the Arkansas,
Rio Grande, San Juan, Colorado, Green, Platte and Republican. Four major river systems – the
Platte, Colorado, Arkansas, and Rio Grande – originate within the mountains of Colorado. These
systems drain fully one-third of the landmass of the lower 48 states. Around 80 percent of the
state’s population lives on the Eastern Slope of Colorado between Fort Collins and Pueblo, but
about 80 percent of Colorado’s precipitation falls on the Western Slope.
Sixty-three percent of Colorado’s 4.3 million residents obtain at least part of their water from
areas west of the Continental Divide via natural channels and a vast network of artificial
conveyances such as tunnels, ditches, aqueducts, pipelines, and canals.
Colorado is divided into eight ground water regions: Kiowa-Bijou, Southern High Plains, Upper
Black Squirrel Creek, Lost Creek, Camp Creek, Upper Big Sandy, Upper Crow Creek, and
Northern High Plains. Groundwater provides 18% of public water supply and 85% of
agricultural water supply in Colorado. 2,780,000 acre-feet of ground water are used annually in
Colorado.
There are nine principle aquifers within the state that are categorized as follows: unconsolidated
Quaternary age alluvial aquifers associated with the major river systems; poorly consolidated or
unconsolidated sediments; consolidated sedimentary rock aquifers; and volcanic and crystalline
rock aquifers.
The South Platte River basin drains an 18,924 square mile area. The Arkansas River basin
encompasses 28,273 square mile area. The Colorado River basin watershed encompasses an
area of approximately 9,830 square miles. The Colorado portion of the drainage basin
encompasses an area of approximately 6,765 square miles. The White River basin encompasses
approximately 3,770 square miles. The Gunnison River basin of southwestern Colorado
encompasses approximately 8,000 square miles. The San Juan River encompasses about 26,000
square miles of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Dolores River basin encompasses an
area of just over 5,300 square miles. xii
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Figure 3: Overview of Colorado River Basin
Wild and Scenic Rivers
Colorado has one river classified a wild and scenic river under the National Wild and Scenic
River System (16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) designation: Cache La Poudre River with 30 miles
designated as Wild and 46 miles as Recreational. This designation protects against most types of
alterations as any disruption may adversely affect river values. 13
Floodplains
Executive Order (EO) 11988 requires federal agencies to consider the effect of their actions on
the floodplain, evaluate alternatives to taking action in the floodplain and to provide opportunity
for public comment if there is no practicable alternative. Colorado has 250 participating and 14
non-participating entities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Under requirements
established in 44 CFR Section 60.3, participating communities shall require permits for all
development, including temporary development, in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).
Development is defined as “any man-made change to improved and unimproved real estate,
including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading,
paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials” and includes both
13
For more information see that National Wild and Scenic Rivers System - http://www.rivers.gov/
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permanent and temporary actions such as stream crossings and conveyance structures (public and
private), sediment removal, channel restoration or relocation, etc. A local floodplain
development permit may include, but is not limited to, plans in duplicate drawn to scale showing
the location, dimensions, and elevation of proposed landscape alterations, existing and proposed
structures, including the placement of manufactured homes, and the location of the foregoing in
relation to the SFHA.
Adopted November 17, 2010 and effective January 14, 2011, the State of Colorado has new
rules and regulations for all development in the SFHA. The rules can be viewed on the Colorado
Water Conservation Board (CWCB) website. 14
These standards are the minimum local communities must adopt, however, local standards may
be more restrictive. The standards are intended to prevent loss of life and property, as well as
economic and social hardships that result from flooding.
Wetlands
EO 11990 requires federal agencies minimize the destruction, loss or degradation of wetlands
and to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands. To meet these
objectives, the order requires federal agencies, in planning their actions, to consider project
alternatives to sites with wetlands and limit potential damage if an activity affecting a wetland
cannot be avoided. Colorado has lost approximately half of its naturally occurring wetlands
since settlement. Wetlands provide flood control, recharge groundwater, stabilize stream flows,
improve water quality, and provide habitat for wildlife. Though, the Federal Clean Water Act
(CWA) requires that impacts to wetlands be avoided, then minimized, and finally mitigated if no
practicable alternative exists for some wetland filling projects, wetlands continue to be impacted
and lost as roads are expanded, land is developed and due to cumulative impacts from numerous
activities such as draining, changes in land management and landowner preference for open
water ponds.
4.8.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
In the no action alternative watershed resiliency activities would not be completed. No work
would occur in water, thus there would be no direct impact to water resources due to the
proposed action. Hazards may cause a flow impediment, potentially causing significant impacts
to stream and floodplain hydraulics and function.
14
Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) | Floodplain Rules and Regulations Process:
http://cwcb.state.co.us/legal/pages/cwcbfloodplainrulesandregulationsprocess.aspx
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Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
Under this alternative watershed resiliency activities will be performed within waterways and
floodplains. Excavation, redistribution, and fill materials may be necessary for the proposed
project thus impacting waters of the U.S. Discharge into surface water may provide a temporary
alteration of surface water quality including but not limited to temperature, dissolved oxygen or
turbidity.
Watershed resiliency activities include bioengineering inspired bank stabilization, utilization of
engineering woody debris, re-vegetation and in-stream grade control that does not restrict aquatic
species
passage.
Additionally
watershed
resiliency activities are
composed primarily of
multi-objective
design
projects such as reactional
usages for floodplains. 15
Activities that result in
hardened channelization or
the creation of new
impervious surfaces are not
covered in this alternative.
For examples of the types
of biologically inspired
engineering covered in
alternative two see and
Appendix F: Best Practices
| Promoting Successful
Mitigation in Colorado and
Appendix G: Engineering
with Nature | Alternative
Techniques to Riprap Bank
Stabilization.
15
Another useful, though dated, resource is Using Multi-Objective Management to Reduce Flood
Losses in Your Watershed prepared by the Association of State Floodplain Managers Inc
(ASFPM), in 1996. http://www.floods.org/PDF/Using_MOM_in_Watershed.pdf
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Figure 4: Bioengineering Using Engineered Woody Debris
Figure 5: Woody Debris Bank Stabilization Cross-Section
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Figure 6: Grade Control
Through the NRCS myriad bioengineering resources and case studies are available: 16
17 18 19
•
Riparian and Bioengineering
•
Bioengineering Seed and Plant Sources,
•
The Practical Stream Bank Bioengineering Guide
•
Stream Restoration Design (National Engineering Handbook 654)
•
Federal Stream Corridor Restoration Handbook (National Engineering Handbook 654)
•
Emergency Watershed Protection Program Final Programmatic Environmental Impact
Statement.
16
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/plantmaterials/technical/publications/?cid=stelprdb1043002
17
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/water/quality/?cid=stelprdb1044707
18
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/water/quality/?cid=stelprdb1043244
19
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/nra/ec/?cid=nrcs143_008451
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Waters of the U.S. are heavily regulated. Watershed resiliency activities will require a
hydrologic and hydraulic analysis to determine magnitude and frequency of flows. During
construction the Agencies would mitigate impacts by requiring the applicant to apply local
BMPs to reduce sediment and fill material from entering the water. The applicant may be
required to prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).20 The applicant may
also be required to obtain a Section 404 permit from the USACE 21 and a Section 401 Water
Quality Certification permit from CDPHE Water Quality Control Division or the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). 22 Certain limited discharges of dredged and fill material within waters
of the U.S. associated with stream habitat improvement structures in Colorado and occurring
between October 11, 2011 and October 11, 2016 may be eligible under Regional General
Permit Number 12 – Aquatic Habitat Improvement for Stream Channels in Colorado from the
USACE. 23 Discharges of water encountered during excavation or work in wet areas may require
a Construction Dewatering Discharge Permit. 24 The applicant is responsible for complying with
any conditions outlined within these permits. Compliance with local floodplain ordinances will
also be required.
Certain activities could result in new construction, materials or fill being placed in a floodplain
or a wetland. Wetland boundaries would be determined in accordance with the latest regulatory
guidance from the USACE and the USFWS. 25 Regulatory floodplain boundaries and
designations can be found at the FEMA Map Service Center. 26 In these situations agency
projects are required to implement the Eight-step Process to evaluate effects. 27
Water quality may be adversely affected through the transmission of sediment, debris, oils, and
hazardous substances into surface waters. During construction, agencies would mitigate these
impacts by requiring the applicant to apply local BMPs to reduce impacts on wetlands and
waterways.
20
Environmental Protection Agency: Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans for Construction Activities:
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Pollution-Prevention-Plans-for-ConstructionActivities.cfm
21
Environmental Protection Agency: Clean Water Action Section 404 Permits to Discharge Dredge or Fill Material:
http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/habitat/cwa404.cfm
22
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: 401 Water Quality Certification:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wq-401-water-quality-certification
23
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Regional General Permit No. 12 – Aquatic Habitat Improvement for Stream
Channels in Colorado:
http://www.spa.usace.army.mil/Portals/16/docs/civilworks/regulatory/Regional%20General%20Permits/Colorado/Fi
nal%20RGP12%2011-Oct-11_signed.pdf
24
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Colorado Discharge Permit System (CDPS) General
Permits:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Final%202014_RE%20CD%20Combined%20Application%20
Guidance.pdf
25
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: National Wetlands Inventory: http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/data/mapper.HTML
26
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Map Service Center (MSC) - https://msc.fema.gov/
27
Federal Emergency Management Agency: Eight Step Planning Process for Floodplain/Wetland Management:
https://www.fema.gov/environmental-planning-and-historic-preservation-program/eight-step-planning-processfloodplain
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For any work completed within the designated section of the Cache La Poudre River that is listed
wild and scenic agencies would confer with the regulatory agency overseeing that section.
4.9
BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES
Biological resources include native or naturalized plants and animals and the habitats (e.g.,
wetlands, forests, and grasslands) in which they exist. Protected and sensitive biological
resources include federally listed (endangered or threatened), proposed, and candidate species
designated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Sensitive habitats include
those areas designated by the USFWS as critical habitat protected by the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) and sensitive ecological areas as designated by state or federal rulings. Sensitive
habitats also include wetlands, plant communities that are unusual or of limited distribution, and
important seasonal use areas for wildlife (e.g., migration routes, breeding areas, crucial summer
and winter habitats).
4.9.1 Affected Environment
Vegetation
Colorado contains parts of six major eco-regions and is divided into approximately 60
ecosystems (Table 2). The most prominent eco-region is the Southern Rockies, which occupies
most of the state's central and western portions and the Great Plains-Palouse Dry Steppe in the
eastern half of the state.
Table 2: Colorado Ecosystems
Ecosystem Name
Central Mixed grass Prairie
Colorado Plateau Hanging Garden
Colorado Plateau Mixed Low Sagebrush Shrubland
Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
Inter-Mountain Basins Aspen-Mixed Conifer Forest
and Woodland
Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Steppe
Inter-Mountain Basins Interdunal Swale Wetland
Inter-Mountain Basins Mat Saltbush Shrubland
Inter-Mountain Basins Montane Sagebrush Steppe
Inter-Mountain Basins Playa
Inter-Mountain Basins Semi-Desert Shrub-Steppe
Inter-Mountain Basins Wash
North American Arid West Emergent Marsh
Rocky Mountain Alpine Bedrock and Scree
Rocky Mountain Alpine Fell-Field
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Ecosystem Name
Colorado Plateau Blackbrush-Mormon-tea Shrubland
Colorado Plateau Mixed Bedrock Canyon and
Tableland
Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Shrubland
Inter-Mountain Basins Active and Stabilized Dunes
Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Shrubland
Inter-Mountain Basins Greasewood Flat
Inter-Mountain Basins Juniper Savanna
Inter-Mountain Basins Mixed Salt Desert Scrub
Inter-Mountain
Basins
Mountain
Mahogany
Woodland and Shrubland
Inter-Mountain Basins Semi-Desert Grassland
Inter-Mountain Basins Shale Badland
North American Alpine Ice Field
Northern Rocky Mountain Avalanche Chute
Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Alpine Dwarf-Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow
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Ecosystem Name
Rocky Mountain Aspen Forest and Woodland
Rocky Mountain Dry Tundra
Rocky Mountain Foothill Limber Pine-Juniper
Woodland
Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine Forest
Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic and Mesic
Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Fen
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian
Shrubland
Southern Rocky Mountain Juniper Woodland and
Savanna
Southern Rocky Mountain Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
Southwestern Great Plains Canyon
Western Great Plains Closed Depression Wetland
Western Great Plains Foothill and Piedmont
Grassland
Western Great Plains Saline Depression
Western Great Plains Sandhill Shrubland
Western Great Plains Tallgrass Prairie
Ecosystem Name
Rocky Mountain Cliff, Canyon and Massive Bedrock
Rocky Mountain Dry-Mesic and Mesic Montane
Mixed Conifer Forest and Woodland
Rocky Mountain Gambel Oak-Mixed Montane
Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Riparian
Woodland and Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Savanna
Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic Meadow
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane LimberBristlecone Pine Woodland
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian
Woodland
Southern Rocky Mountain Montane-Subalpine
Grassland
Southern Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Woodland
Western Great Plains Cliff, Outcrop, and Shale
Barren
Western Great Plains Big River Floodplain
Western Great Plains Riparian Woodland, Shrubland
and Herbaceous
Western Great Plains Sand Prairie
Western Great Plains Shortgrass Prairie
Wyoming Basins Low Sagebrush Shrubland
Wildlife
Colorado hosts about 750 species of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and amphibians. Big
game hunted in Colorado includes black bear, deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, bighorn sheep,
mountain goat, mountain lion and Turkey. Smaller game species hunted include sharp-tailed
grouse, prairie chickens, sage grouse, mountain grouse, ptarmigan, and pheasants. Hunted
waterfowl includes ducks, geese, and swans. Bobcat, otter and swift fox are trapped.
Across the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) manages more than 348 State Wildlife
Areas, totaling more than 684,252 acres. In addition, CPW leases approximately 550,000 acres
of State Trust Lands. CPW also manages fifteen properties that house State Fish Units hatcheries or fish rearing operations. Out of the 750 fish and wildlife species in Colorado, 74 are
listed as species in need of conservation and protected by CPW. 28 29
28
29
More on Colorado Parks and Wildlife Species Profiles: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/SpeciesProfiles.aspx
For Colorado Parks and Wildlife Spatial Data: http://ndis.nrel.colostate.edu/index.html
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Protected Species
There are 46 species listed as Endangered (E), Threatened (T), Candidate (C), or Proposed (P)
(see Table 4) by the USFWS under ESA that historically occurred, occur or may potentially
occur within Colorado. Thirteen of these species, Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse, New
Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse, Mexican Spotted Owl, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher,
Colorado Pikeminnow, Whooping Crane, Razorback Sucker, bonytail, humpback chub, clayloving wild buckwheat, Pagosa skyrocket, Parachute beardtongue, and DeBeque phacelia have
designated critical habitat in Colorado. The threatened Yellow-billed Cuckoo has proposed
critical habitat. In addition, critical habitat designations have been included with the proposed
Gunnison Sage Grouse.
Table 3: Threatened, Endangered and Candidate Species in Colorado.
Common Name
Arapahoe Snowfly
Scientific Name
Capnia Arapahoe
Federal
Status
C
Habitat Requirements/Notes
Typically found in cold, clean, well-oxygenated streams
and rivers.
Prefers shallow, clear, cool water, sand or silt bottom
streams with spring-fed pools and abundant rooted aquatic
vegetation. During late summer low-water periods when
streams may become intermittent, Arkansas darter
populations in Colorado persist in large, deep pools.
Arkansas darter
Etheostoma
cragini
C
Black footed Ferret
Mustela nigripes
E
Bonytail chub
Gila elegans
E
Large, fast-flowing waterways of the Colorado River system.
Canada lynx
Lynx canadensis
T
Dense subalpine forest, willow corridors along mountain
streams, avalanche chutes. Occurs at elevations between
8,000 and 14,000 feet.
Clay-loving wild
buckwheat
Eriogonum
pelinophilum
E
Endemic to the rolling clay (adobe) hills and flats
immediately adjacent to the communities of Delta and
Montrose, Colorado
Colorado Butterfly
plant
Gaura
neomexicana var.
T
Moist areas of floodplains
Colorado hookless
Cactus
Sclerocactus
glaucus
T
Exposed stretches of gravelly clay, including alluvial
benches above floodplains and on mesa slopes
Colorado
pikeminnow
Ptychocheilus
lucius
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E
Most of this species has been block-cleared in Colorado.
Swift flowing muddy rivers with quiet, warm backwaters.
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Common Name
Scientific Name
Federal
Status
Habitat Requirements/Notes
DeBeque Phacelia
Phacelia
submutica
T
Grows on barren patches of shrink-swell clay of the
Wasatch Formation at about 5,000 to 6,200 feet elevation
in the southern Piceance Basin oil and gas fields of Mesa
and Garfield Counties, western Colorado.
Dudley Bluffs
Bladderpod
Lesquerella
congesta
T
Barren white outcrops exposed along drainages by erosion
from downcutting of streams in the Picaence Basin in Rio
Blanco County, Colorado
Dudley Bluffs
Twinpod
Physaria
obcordata
T
Steep side slopes of barren white outcrops exposed along
drainages by erosion from down cutting of streams in the
Picaence Basin in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.
Gray Wolf
Canis lupus
E
USFWS does not consult on the gray wolf as they
consider it not to occur in Colorado.
Greater sage-grouse
Centrocercus
urophasianus
C
Sagebrush ecosystem, usually inhabiting sagebrushgrassland or juniper sagebrush-grassland communities.
Meadows surrounded by sagebrush may be used as
feeding grounds.
Greenback Cutthroat
Trout
Grizzly Bear
Oncorhynchus
clarki stomias
Ursus arctos
horribilis
T
South Platte basin, Arkansas River Basin
T
USFWS does not consult on the grizzly bear as they
consider it not to occur in Colorado.
Gunnison Sagegrouse
Centrocercus
minimus
P
Require a variety of habitats such as large expanses of
sagebrush with a diversity of grasses and forbs and healthy
wetland and riparian ecosystems. It requires sagebrush for
cover and fall and winter food.
Humpback chub
Gila cypha
E
Deep, fast-moving, turbid waters often associated with large
boulders and steep cliffs
Knowlton's Cactus
Pediocactus
knowltonii
Least tern*
Sterna antillarum
Lesser prairiechicken
Tympanuchus
pallidicinctus
Astragalus
humillimus
Mancos Milk-vetch
Mesa Verde Cactus
Sclerocactus
mesae-verdae
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E
E
P
On rolling, gravelly hills in a piñon-juniper-sagebrush
community at about 1,900 m (6,200-6,300 ft).
Bare sand and gravel bars along rivers and waste sand
piles along several rivers in Nebraska.
Found throughout short- and mid-grass prairies
E
Cracks or eroded depressions on sandstone rimrock ledges
and mesa tops
T
Sparsely vegetated low rolling clay hills formed from the
Mancos or Fruitland shale formations at 1,500-1,700 m
(4,900-5,500 feet).
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Common Name
Mexican Spotted Owl
Scientific Name
Federal
Status
Strix occidentalis
lucida
New Mexico meadow Zapus hudsonius
j
i
l t )
Phacelia
North Park Phacelia
formosula
Habitat Requirements/Notes
T
Old-growth forests in western North America, where it
nests in tree holes, old bird of prey nests, or rock crevices
P
Lives only along the banks of southwestern streams.
E
Ravines and bare slopes of eroding rock originating from
the Coalmont Formation.
Osterhout milkvetch
Astragalus
osterhoutii
E
Grows in high-selenium soils
Pagosa Skyrocket
Ipomopsis
polyantha
E
Grows on weathered Mancos Shale outcrops at about
7,000 feet elevation in the vicinity of Pagosa Springs in
southwestern Colorado
T
Pallid sturgeons evolved and adapted to living close to the
bottom of large, silty rivers with natural a hydrograph.
Their preferred habitat has a diversity of depths and
velocities formed by braided channels, sand bars, sand
flats and gravel bars.
T
Only on oil shale outcrops on the Roan Plateau
escarpment in Garfield County, Colorado.
Pallid sturgeon*
Scaphirhynchus
albus
Parachute beardtongue Penstemon debilis
Pawnee Montane
Skipper
Hesperia
leonardus
montana
T
Only in the South Platte Canyon River drainage system in
Colorado, in portions of Jefferson, Douglas, Teller, and
Park Counties
Penland alpine fen
Mustard
Eutrema penlandii
T
Limestone outcrops in the Hoosier Ridge and Hoosier Pass
areas of Summit County
Penland Beardtongue
Piping plover*
Preble's Meadow
Jumping Mouse
Razorback sucker
Penstemon
penlandii
Charadrius
melodus
Zapus hudsonius
preblei
Xyrauchen texanus
Rio Grande Cutthroat Oncorhynchus
trout
clarkii virginalis
E
T
T
E
C
Alkaline shale that weathers into barren clay containing
selenium
Bare sand and gravel bars along rivers and waste sand piles
along several rivers in Nebraska.
Heavily vegetated riparian habitats.
Deep, clear to turbid waters of large rivers and some
reservoirs over mud, sand, or gravel.
Rapidly flowing water. Backwaters or banks adjacent to
fast waters provide holding areas during the day. These
suckers move to swifter water at night.
Schmoll milk-vetch
Astragalus
schmolliae)
C
Found primarily growing in red loess on mesa tops in old
growth. Pinyon-juniper woodlands between 6,500 and 7,500
feet in elevation.
skiff milkvetch
Astragalus
microcymbus
C
Found on sparsely vegetated slopes within open sagebrush
habitat.
Sleeping Ute
milkvetch
Astragalus tortipes
C
This species is found only on the lower slopes of Sleeping
Ute Mountain and grows in gravels over Mancos shale.
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Common Name
Scientific Name
Federal
Status
Habitat Requirements/Notes
Southwestern Willow Empidonax traillii
Flycatcher
extimus
E
Dense riparian tree and shrub communities associated
with rivers, swamps, and other wetlands including lakes
and reservoirs. In most instances, the dense vegetation
occurs within the first 10 to 13 feet above ground.
Uncompahgre
Fritillary Butterfly
E
Patches of snow willow in alpine meadows at elevations
above the tree line
T
Along riparian edges, gravel bars, old oxbows, high flow
channels, and moist to wet meadows along perennial
streams. Stable wetland and seepy areas associated with old
landscape features within historical floodplains of major
rivers. It also is found in wetland and seepy areas near
freshwater lakes or springs.
Boloria
acrocnema
Ute Ladies'-tresses
Spiranthes
diluvialis
Western Prairie
Fringed Orchid*
Platanthera
praeclara
T
Occurs Most often in mesic to wet unplowed tall grass
prairies and meadows but have been found in old fields
and roadside ditches
Whooping crane*
Grus americana
E
Mid-river sandbars and wet meadows along the Platte
River in Nebraska. This species does not occur in CO, but
occurs downstream and is affected by water depletions.
Yellow-Billed
Cuckoo
Coccyzus
americanus)
T
Prefer open woodlands with clearings and a dense shrub
layer. They are often found in woodlands near streams,
rivers or lakes.
*Water depletions in the North Platte, South Platte and Laramie River Basins may affect downstream species and/or
critical habitat associated with the Platte River in Nebraska. 30
ENDANGERED (E) - Any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
THREATENED (T) - Any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future
throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
PROPOSED (P) – Any species of that is proposed in the Federal Register to be listed under section 4 of the Act.
CANDIDATE (C) - Those taxa for which the Service has sufficient information on biological status and threats to
propose to list them as threatened or endangered. We encourage their consideration in environmental planning and
partnerships, however, none of the substantive or procedural provisions of the Act apply to candidate species
4.9.2 Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
30
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: How to Seek ESA Coverage for Water-Related Activities through the Platte River
Recovery Implementation Program: http://www.fws.gov/platteriver/
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Under the No Action Alternative, no localized or regional effects to threatened or endangered
species are expected. This alternative does not include any action. Therefore, the applicants
would not be required to consult with USFWS to comply with the ESA, Migratory Bird Treaty
Act (MBTA), Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), or state laws. Damaged watershed
elements may cause a flow impediment, potentially causing impacts to species habitats and
individuals.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
The actions under this alternative may have the potential to affect sensitive biological resources,
wetlands or natural waterways due to construction activities; a review of available information
on the potential for species and critical habitat occurrence in the area will be conducted. The
proposed action requires the redistribution or removal of hazards, materials, and possibly
structures from the waterway. Embankment work and in-water work will occur. This type of
action may require a Senate Bill (SB) 40 permit from CPW for impacts to riparian areas. More
information on SB 40 procedures can be found by contacting the appropriate CPW area
representative. 31 The most current SB 40 guidance document is the Guidelines for Senate Bill 40
Wildlife Certification Developed and Agreed Upon by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the
Colorado Department of Transportation
(April 1, 2013). 32
Federal Agencies will coordinate with
USFWS and will review the project and
make a determination of effect. If an
Agency determines that a project has the
potential to affect sensitive biological
resources it will initiate the review process
under Section 7 of the ESA, MBTA, or
FWCA, the results of this consultation
with USFWS would be documented in a
memorandum to this PEA or in a SEA. If
work occurs on U.S. Forest Service
(USFS) or Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) land additional coordination with
these agencies will be required.
Figure 7: Sample ESA Consultation Letter
Specific project areas can be searched for
31
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Contact Map, http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Maps/Areas.pdf
Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Senate Bill 40 Guidelines.
https://www.codot.gov/programs/environmental/wildlife/guidelines/sb-40-wildlife-cert-guidelines-june-2013
32
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presence of these species through the USFWS online Information, Planning and Consultation
System (IPaC) resource. 33
Figure 8: Information, Planning and Consultation System (IPaC)
Because migratory birds nest on many substrates (e.g., ground, shrubs, trees, utility boxes),
should the proposed work occur during the breeding season (May 1st to August 15th) , the Service
recommends: the required cutting of trees or shrubs occur between August 16th and April 30th to
remove potential nesting surfaces prior to project commencement; and the removal of swallow
nests as they are built, but prior to egg laying, from the utility structures that are to be removed;
and/or netting of the affected structures or implementation of other measures to prevent swallow
nesting prior to the breeding season. In addition, some migratory birds are known to nest outside
of the aforementioned primary nesting season period. For example, raptors can be expected to
nest during February 1 through July 15. For projects near raptors USFWS recommends the CPW
Raptor Guidelines be applied as necessary. 34 For actions within 0.5 mile of occupied eagle nests
coordination with CPW and USFWS should occur as a Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
(BGEPA) permit may be required. Implementation of the National Bald Eagle Management
33
For U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Information, Planning and Consultation System :
http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac/ or http://www.fws.gov/ipac/
34
Colorado Parks and Wildlife | Recommended Buffer Zones and Seasonal Restrictions for Colorado Raptors:
http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/RaptorBufferGuidelines2008.pdf
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Guidelines would be applied as necessary. 35 If a nest or bird is taken outside the specified
timeframe, that take is considered a violation of the MBTA.
Watershed resiliency activities have the potential to affect aquatic species. Covered by
alternative two is the execution of multi-objective design projects such as fish passage
facilitating drop structures. Technical assistance and project examples are available from the
USFWS via their Nation Fish Passage Program and associated annual reports. 36
In order to avoid and minimize potential impacts to federally listed threatened and endangered
(T&E) species and their habitats applicants should implement conservation measures provided
by USFWS to the extent possible. Conservation measures include, but are not limited to:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Locate access routes, staging areas, etc. within previously disturbed areas
Avoid disturbing or burying any existing riparian (streamside) habitat
Implement local BMPs for control of erosion and sedimentation
Incorporate consideration of fish passage into project design
Restore any disturbed areas using native riparian plant species to prevent erosion
Integrate native vegetation into rip rap slope protection
Avoid fragmenting or isolating riparian corridors or wetlands
Identify areas of ground disturbance and conservation measures implemented
Contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately by telephone at (303) 236–4773 if
any T&E species is found alive, dead, injured, or hibernating within the project area.
4.10 CULTURAL RESOURCES
4.10.1
Affected Environment
To preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America the National
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was established in 1966. The act created the National Register
of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks, and the State Historic Preservation
Offices (SHPO).
The National Register of Historic Places is the Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy
of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private
efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties
listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant
in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. To be eligible for
listing, a property must meet one of four eligibility criteria and have sufficient integrity.
35
U.S.
Fish
and
Wildlife
Service
|
National
Bald
Eagle
Management
Guidelines,
http://www.fws.gov/southdakotafieldoffice/NationalBaldEagleManagementGuidelines.pdf
36
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) | National Fish Passage Program (NFPP).
http://www.fws.gov/fisheries/whatwedo/NFPP/nfpp.html v
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Colorado has a rich cultural history. Throughout the state Native Americans have left
petroglyphs, abandoned villages, and many other items from their life and travels through the
state. Spanish explorers, trappers and hunters, and gold miners made their way through the state
and settled in Colorado. Westward expansion brought European settlers to the area, for mining,
ranching and farming. Colorado has over 1500 listings on the National Register.
4.10.2
Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
No federal action would occur under this alternative. However, new impacts to historic resources
are possible as exposed or otherwise disrupted cultural resources would remain vulnerable to
future events and accelerated deterioration. If state or local actions were to occur compliance
with the Colorado State Register Act will be required. 37
Alternative 2: Restoration or Replacement of Watershed Functions
This alternative has the potential to affect historic or cultural resources. Destruction or alteration
of any site, structure or object of historic, prehistoric or paleontological importance may occur as
a result of watershed resiliency activities. Redistribution of alluvium or other watershed
elements may have exposed areas of high archaeological sensitivity. Physical change could
affect unique cultural values. There could be effects on existing religious or sacred uses of a site
or area and archeological resources may be present. For non-tribal lands any agencies that have
entered into Programmatic Agreements with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office
(SHPO) or a Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) will determine if a project meets any
outlined programmatic allowances. If so, The Agencies would consider the project to be in
compliance with Section 106 of NHPA and no further review would occur.
37
Office
of
Archaeology
and
Historic
http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/review-compliance
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Preservation
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–
Review
and
Compliance.
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Section 5 | Mitigation Measures
If a project does not fall within an allowance, or a Programmatic Agreement does not exist, The
Agencies will make a determination of effect in accordance with NHPA section 106 and consult
with the SHPO.
Figure 9: Sample NHPA Section 106 Consultation Letter
…
Additional archaeological surveys of ground disturbing activities or architectural surveys of
projects impacting built environments may be required depending on consultation with Tribal
Historic Preservation Office (THPO) and SHPO. Wealth of section 106 compliance resources
are available at historycolorado.org and by contacting The Office of Archaeology and Historic
Preservation (OAHP) staff members. 38
38
Office
of
Archaeology
and
Historic
Preservation
http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/section-106-compliance
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–
Section
106
Compliance.
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4.11 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
4.11.1
Affected Environment
Hazardous wastes, as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), are
defined as “a solid waste, or combination of solid wastes, which because of its quantity,
concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics may; (1) cause, or significantly
contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating
reversible illness or; (2) pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the
environment when improperly treated, stored, transported or disposed of or otherwise managed.”
Hazardous materials and wastes are regulated in
state laws. Federal regulations governing the
include RCRA, the RCRA Hazardous and
Environmental Response, Compensation and
Substances Control Act.
Colorado by a combination of federal laws and
assessment and disposal of hazardous wastes
Solid Waste Amendments, Comprehensive
Liability Act, Solid Waste Act, and Toxic
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provides guidance and
regulatory relief for the management and disposal of damaged or destroyed structures. Small
appliance refrigerant recovery is also regulated by the CDPHE as well as the Air Pollution
Control Division, and the Indoor Environment Program. A Chlorofluorocarbon HOTLINE is
available to leave messages, report violations or to request assistance for either the state or
federal chlorofluorocarbon programs. The number for the state Chlorofluorocarbon Hotline is
303-692-3200.
4.11.2
Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1: No Action
The No Action alternative would not disturb any hazardous materials or create any potential
hazard to human health.
Alternative 2: Watershed Resiliency Activities
Watershed resiliency activities would not disturb any known hazardous materials or create any
potential hazard to human health. If hazardous constituents are encountered during the proposed
construction operations, appropriate measures for the proper assessment, remediation and
management of the contamination would be initiated in accordance with applicable federal, state,
and local regulations. The contractor would take appropriate measures to prevent, minimize, and
control the spill of hazardous materials. 39
39
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) | Hazardous Waster Management.
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hazwaste
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4.12 CUMULATIVE IMPACTS
The CEQ regulations 40 implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA of 1969, as amended 41
defines cumulative effects as:
“the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when
added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what
agency (federal or local) or person undertakes such other action”. 42
Based on these regulations, if the alternative does not have direct or indirect effects there can be
no cumulative effects resulting from the project because there would be no impacts added to
past, present, or reasonably foreseeable actions.
CEQ regulations also describe cumulative impacts as impacts that “can result from individually
minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time.” On a
programmatic level and combined with other actions affecting watersheds alternative two could
lead to cumulative impacts depending on the scale (number of projects) or geography (localized
area) in which the actions are performed.
4.12.1
Summary of Cumulative Impacts
Individual projects proposed under this Programmatic Environmental Assessment have the
potential to cause significant impacts when compounded and undocumented. In an effort to
track and mitigate cumulative impacts any official usage of this PEA must be documented by the
completion of the Compliance Checklist found in Appendix D. All supporting documentation,
completed project specific compliance checklists and SEAs, must be submitted to the DURT at
[email protected]
Cumulative impacts can be reduced, and project streamlining realized by (1) coordinating natural
and cultural resource compliance review responsibilities with other projects in the respective
watershed, (2) exploring multi-objective design and utilizing bioengineering and (3)
incorporating effective mitigation strategies.
Coordinating Natural and Cultural Resource Compliance Review
In an effort to aggregate and share existing environmental review data DURT is actively
collecting project data and natural and cultural resource data. The first iteration of this effort is
available through the FEMA GeoPlatform and is called the DURT Viewer. Credentials to access
40
40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Section 1500-1508
42 United States Code [USC] Section 4321
42
40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Section 1508.7
41
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the DURT viewer can be obtained by sending inquiry to [email protected] 43 By
opening up the compliance review process stake holders can share relevant information and
better work together to facilitate comprehensive watershed restoration.
Figure 10: DURT Viewer | CO Front Range
43
FEMA GeoPlatform – Disaster Unified Review Team Geospatial Information Systems Viewer http://fema.maps.arcgis.com/home/
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Multi-Objective Design, Bioengineering and Mitigation
Section four of this PEA covers
numerous examples of multiobjective design, bioengineering
and mitigation. These types of
projects will greatly minimize
cumulative
impacts.
See
Appendix F – Best Practices and
Appendix G – Engineering With
Nature for more examples of
project types covered by the
Watershed Resiliency Activities
alternative. See Appendix E –
Additional Resources for a
summary and expansion of
external resources provided in this
PEA.
Finally, under the Watershed
Resilience Activities Alternative
project
impacts
that
are
implemented at an individual or
cumulative scale, such as to
produce significant impacts may
potentially be reduced below a
level of significance by mitigating
for individual impacts using the Mitigation Measures outlined in Section 5. A SEA will be
completed, for any projects that are anticipated to surpass the scope of this document such that
impacts cannot be contained utilizing the Mitigation Measures outlined in Section 5.
For any official usage of this document all supporting documentation, completed project specific
COcompliance checklists and SEAs, must be submitted to the DURT at
[email protected] for purposes of documenting cumulative watershed impacts.
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SECTION FIVE | MITIGATION MEASURES
Project impacts that are implemented at an individual or cumulative scale such as to produce
significant impacts can generally be reduced below the level of significance through avoidance,
minimization, or by mitigating for individual impacts using mitigation measures as described
below. If impact avoidance cannot be achieved, specific mitigation measures including agency
consultation will be undertaken by The Agencies to reduce any potentially significant impacts to
less than significant levels. Table 4 lists the specific mitigation measures The Agencies will use
if necessary.
Table 4: Mitigation Measures by Resource Area
Resource Area
Mitigation Measure
Physical
For projects where wetland areas will be impacted, The Agencies will evaluate individual and
Resources, Water cumulative impacts and implement avoidance, minimization and/or mitigation measures as
Resources
necessary to reduce impacts below level of significance.
For projects in which soil erosion potential is determined to be significant, a project erosion
Physical
control plan to minimize soil loss, including the use of Best Management Practices, to isolate
Resources, Water
the construction site and minimize adverse effects of soil loss and sedimentation on soil and
Resources
water resources will be implemented.
Physical
To mitigate for impacts to floodplain, a hydrology and hydraulics study will be completed to
Resources, Water ensure the flow of flood waters. The project must not serve as a dam or otherwise impede water
movement thus aggravating flooding upstream of the roadway.
Resources
The Agencies will consult with US Fish and Wildlife Service and/or Natural Resources
Physical
Conservation Service for any project which extends outside of the original right of way and has
Resources, Water
the potential to affect land use, including Fish and Wildlife Service easements, prime farmland,
Resources
or farmland of state/local significance.
Safety and
Occupational
Health
To minimize any potential to occupation health and safety, construction workers and equipment
operators are required to wear appropriate PPE and to be properly trained for the work being
performed, including removal and disposal of asbestos and lead-based paint for demolition
projects.
Safety and
Occupational
Health
All waste material associated with the project must be disposed of properly and not placed in
identified floodway or wetland areas or in habitat for threatened or endangered species. All
hazardous material resulting from demolition activities, including asbestos and lead paint will
be disposed of in hazardous waste landfill.
Air Quality
To mitigate for fugitive dust during construction periodic watering of active construction areas,
particularly in areas close to sensitive receptors (e.g. hospitals, senior citizen homes, and
schools) will be implemented.
Noise
Construction noise levels will be minimized by ensuring that construction equipment is
equipped with a recommended muffler in good working order. Impact to noise levels will be
minimized by limiting construction activities that occur during early morning or late evening
hours.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 46
March 2015
Section 5 | Mitigation Measures
Resource Area
Mitigation Measure
Biological
Resources
The Agencies will consult with USFWS, who is the regulatory authority, on any actions that
have the potential to affect biological resources including Threatened and Endangered species
and will include measures to avoid or minimize potential impacts. Coordination will include
measures to avoid or minimize potential impacts as grant conditions. This includes migratory
birds and raptors. Projects may be subject to additional documentation through Colorado
Senate Bill 40.
Biological
Resources
Fill material must not come from nor be deposited in threatened and/or endangered species
habitat.
Biological
Resources
The Agencies will coordinate with CPW concerning guidelines regarding impacts to State
species of interest. Coordination may include measures to avoid or minimize potential impacts
as grant conditions. This includes migratory birds and raptors.
Cultural
Resources
Unless a project is covered under a programmatic agreement exemption all other ground
disturbing projects must consult with the SHPO or THPO under Section 106 of the NHPA. The
absence of cultural property documentation in the area does not mean they do not exist, but
rather may reflect the absence of any previous cultural resource inventory in the area. If during
the course of any ground disturbance related to this project, cultural materials are inadvertently
discovered, the project would be immediately stopped and the SHPO/THPO and Agency
notified.
Cultural
Resources
To avoid impacts to cultural resources from material borrow source, borrow material source
will be reviewed and approved by SHPO or THPO prior to use.
Cultural
Resources
The Agencies will consult with the State/Tribal Historic Preservation Office on project specific
activities for any project that has the potential to affect previously undisturbed areas or historic
properties.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 47
March 2015
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
SECTION SIX | SUMMARY OF IMPACTS
The following table summarizes the potential impacts of each alternative on the resource areas
discussed in Section 4. Table 5 is organized by each resource area for each alternative. Permits
and conditions are summarized. The following best construction practices apply to all potential
impacts outlined in table 5.
Construction Best Practices
• Utilize vegetative stabilization measures, bioengineered alternatives and multi-objective
designs.
• Assess impacts to, and initiate proper coordination for, resource areas to be impacted by project
components as outlined in Section 4. Assess and coordinate actively as project specifics are
identified. This includes consultation with individual agencies including USFWS, USACE,
EPA, etc. as needed on individual projects.
• Implement USFWS conservation measures outlined in section 4.9:
o Locate access routes, staging areas, etc. within previously disturbed areas
o Avoid disturbing or burying any existing riparian (streamside) habitat
o Restore any disturbed areas using native riparian plant species to prevent erosion
 Integrate native vegetation into slope protection
 Avoid fragmenting or isolating riparian corridors or wetlands
Identify areas of ground disturbance
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 48
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
Table 5: Summary of Impacts
Resource
Area
Alternative 1:
No Action
Physical
Resources
The potential of safety threats, permanently
displaced residents, economic strain, change
in land use, permanently altered drainage
and flow rates, loss in residential,
commercial, agricultural, or recreational
land use exists
Transportation
Facilities
Significant adverse impacts due to
increased travel times and traffic volumes
are possible if future events continue
damage to transportation facilities.
Safety and
Occupational
Health
Residents, communities, and properties
would remain susceptible to future events.
Materials could be washed downstream
impacting other structures. These materials
may have the potential to cause both lead
and asbestos exposure. Access would be
restricted for emergency, police and fire
services causing the potential for significant
delay creating a significant adverse safety
affect to residents of the State of Colorado.
Socioeconomic
and
Environmental
Justice
There is no requirement for compliance
with Executive Orders (EO) 12898
(Environmental Justice) and 13045
(Protection of Children From
Environmental Health Risks and Safety
Risks) Alternative 1 has potential to result
in significant adverse impact to
socioeconomics of a community if
buildings and critical infrastructural
elements such as utilities are damaged in
future events. Residents may be isolated
from their homes and businesses.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Alternative 2:
Replacement
Hydrologic and hydraulic studies will be used to
determine the best configuration for watershed
elements. Stream corridor footprint is expected to
remain within the previous right-of-way (ROW) so no
changes in land use are anticipated.
Short term impacts would be expected during
construction as traffic delays and alternate routes may
be required. No significant adverse long term
impacts are expected to the transportation volume,
capacity, and time of transit.
Communities are expected to benefit from the
proposed action. Removal or redistribution of
materials with painted surfaces or containing
Asbestos may be required and construction workers
are required to follow OSHA regulations to provide
appropriate Asbestos abatement and avoid release of
lead from paint. Construction workers and equipment
operators are required to wear appropriate personal
protective equipment (PPE) and be properly trained
for the work being performed. All solid or hazardous
wastes that might be generated during the removal
and redistribution must be removed and disposed of
at a permitted facility or designated collection point.
Standard construction traffic control measures will be
used.
During the construction period this alternative may
provide some short term benefits by providing
construction jobs and a multiple effect of increased
expenditures in the local economy. There may be
major effects to populations during construction
periods due to road detours, to provide access or
hazard removal from stream banks.
Efforts would be made during any construction to
minimize short-term disruption to the local
transportation system. Low income and minority
populations may benefit during the construction
process through the provision of construction jobs
Page 49
Permits
Conditions
USACE
Permit
The applicant is responsible for verifying and compliance with all
permit requirements, including permit conditions, pre-construction
notification requirements and regional conditions as provided by the US
Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The applicant is responsible for
implementing, monitoring, and maintaining all Best Management
Practices (BMP’s) and Pre-Construction Notification (PCN) conditions
of applicable Nation Wide Permits (NWP). This is to include any
requirements per the Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment 401 Water Quality Certification for Clean Water Act
permits. To the extent possible, keep equipment and construction
within previously disturbed area and ROW.
none
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize impacts to transportation facilities.
none
For any “Asbestos Containing Material”, lead-based paint and/or other
hazardous materials found during remediation or repair activities, the
applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and local abatement and
disposal requirements. Applicants are responsible for ensuring
contracted removal of hazardous debris also follows these guidelines.
none
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize impacts to low income and minority populations.
March 2015
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
Resource
Area
Alternative 1:
No Action
Alternative 2:
Replacement
Permits
Conditions
none
Applicant shall follow best construction practices to minimize impacts
to air quality. The contractor should keep all equipment in good
working order to minimize air pollution.
Noise
There is the potential that overall noise
levels in the immediate area may increase
due to temporary construction. However,
noise impacts are not expected to be
significant.
. Noise from construction activities may have short
term adverse effects on persons who live near the
construction area. Noise levels can be minimized by
ensuring that construction equipment is equipped
with a recommended muffler in good working order.
Noise impacts on residences can also be minimized
by ensuring that construction activities are not
conducted during early morning or late evening
hours. Noise levels of construction equipment (70 to
72 dBA) at the distance in which affected parties
would likely be located (>200 feet/60 meters) will not
be of a duration to be significant.
none
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize noise impacts.
Public Services
and Utilities
The potential to affect public services and
utilities will exist in subsequent events.
Fire, emergency, law enforcement, and
school services would be delayed as a result
of continued inaccessibility of the route due
to closed roads or bridges. Depending on
the length of detour required these services
could be significantly impacted. In
addition, utility repair crews may not be
able to reach damaged utility lines, resulting
in lengthy service outages.
During construction, delays in fire, emergency, law
enforcement and school services may continue, but
these would be short term impacts. Once completed,
public services would be restored to pre-disaster
levels. Utilities that cross or run along watersheds
may be temporarily interrupted, but this would be a
short-term impact. No long term impacts would
occur under this alternative.
none
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize any impacts on public services and utilities.
Air Quality
Affected areas will remain in existing
conditions. Vehicle emissions would
remain the same.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
and multiplier effects of expenditures in the local
economy. Any adverse impacts to low income or
minority populations are expected to be short-term
and not significant.
Watershed Resiliency Activities will involve the use
of heavy construction equipment. During
construction there may be temporary increases in
equipment exhaust emissions and fugitive dust.
However, the temporary increase in equipment
exhaust is expected to be negligible as long as the
equipment is well maintained and idling is
minimized. All necessary measures must be taken to
minimize fugitive dust emissions created during
construction activities. Any complaints that may
arise are to be dealt with in an efficient and effective
manner. The contractor would be required to keep all
equipment in good working order to minimize air
pollution.
Fugitive dust can be mitigated by periodic watering
of active construction areas, particularly areas close to
any nearby sensitive receptors (e.g., hospitals, senior
citizen homes, schools). Impacts from fugitive dust
are anticipated to be short-term and negligible.
Page 50
March 2015
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
Resource
Area
Alternative 1:
No Action
Alternative 2:
Replacement
Permits
Conditions
The actions under this alternative may have the
potential to effect sensitive biological resources,
wetlands or natural waterways due to construction
activities; a review of available information on the
potential for species and critical habitat occurrence in
the area will be conducted.. Embankment work and
in-water work will occur. This type of action may
require a Senate Bill (SB) 40 permit from CPW for
impacts to riparian areas.
Biological
Resources
Applicants would not be required to consult
with USFWS to comply with the ESA,
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Fish
and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), or
state laws. Abandoned watershed elements
may cause a flow impediment, potentially
causing impacts to species habitats and
individuals.
The Agencies or responsible entities will coordinate
with USFWS and will review the project and make a
determination of effect. If an Agency determines that
a project has the potential to affect sensitive
biological resources it will initiate the review process
under Section 7 of the ESA, the results of this
consultation with USFWS would be documented in a
memorandum to this PEA or in a SEA. If work occurs
on USFS or BLM land additional coordination with
these agencies will be required.
Because migratory birds nest on many substrates
(e.g., ground, shrubs, trees, bridges, box culverts),
proposed work should not occur during the breeding
season (April 1st to August 30th per USFWS) , the
Service recommends: the required cutting of trees or
shrubs occur between August 30th and April 1st to
remove potential nesting surfaces prior to project
commencement; the removal of swallow nests as they
are built, but prior to egg laying, from the bridge
structures that are to be removed; and/or netting of
the affected bridge structures to prevent swallow
nesting prior to the breeding season.
Consultation
with USFWS
will be
necessary to
assess
permanent and
temporary
impacts.
Compliance
with Senate
Bill 40 may be
required.
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize impacts to any species. Should any threatened or
endangered species be discovered during construction work in the
subject area shall be halted and the applicant should contact USFWS for
further guidance.
Proposed work should not occur during the avian breeding season (April
1st to August 30th), the Service recommends: the required cutting of
trees or shrubs occur between August 30th and April 1st to remove
potential nesting surfaces prior to project commencement; the removal
of swallow nests as they are built, but prior to egg laying, from the
bridge structures that are to be removed; and/or netting of the affected
bridge structures to prevent swallow nesting prior to the breeding
season.
If the project sites occur within 0.5 mile of occupied
eagle nests, implementation of the National Bald
Eagle Management Guidelines would be applied as
necessary. Still, if a nest or bird is taken outside that
timeframe, it’s a violation of the MBTA.
Watershed Resiliency activities have the potential to
affect federally listed threatened and endangered
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 51
March 2015
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
Resource
Area
Alternative 1:
No Action
Alternative 2:
Replacement
Permits
Conditions
(T&E) species and their habitat. In order to avoid and
minimize potential impacts applicants should
implement conservation measures provided by
USFWS and enumerated in section 4.9 of this PEA.
Water
Resources
No work would occur in water, thus there
would be no direct impact to water
resources due to the proposed action.
Hazards may cause a flow impediment,
potentially causing significant impacts to
stream and floodplain hydraulics and
function.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Excavation, redistribution, and fill materials may be
necessary for the proposed project and thus impacting
waters of the U.S. Discharge into surface water may
provide a temporary alteration of surface water
quality including but not limited to temperature,
dissolved oxygen or turbidity.
Applicants will perform a hydrologic and hydraulic
analysis to determine magnitude and frequency of
flows. During construction agencies would mitigate
impacts by requiring the applicant to apply BMPs to
reduce sediment and fill material from entering the
water. The applicant may be required to prepare a
storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP). The
applicant may also be required to obtain a Section
404 permit from the USACE) and a Section 401
Water Quality Certification permit from CDPHE
Water Quality Control Division or the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). Discharges of water
encountered during excavation or work in wet areas
may require a Construction Dewatering Discharge
Permit. The applicant is responsible for complying
with any conditions outlined within these permits.
Compliance with local floodplain ordinances will also
be required.
Activities could result in some materials or fill being
placed in a wetland. Wetland boundaries would be
determined in accordance with the latest regulatory
guidance from the USACE and the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In these situations
agency projects would implement the Eight-step
Process to evaluate effects.
This alternative would have little if any impact on
increasing impervious surfaces, reduce groundwater
recharge, and adversely affect water quality through
the transmission of sediment, debris, oils, and
hazardous substances into surface waters. During
construction, agencies would mitigate these impacts
Page 52
The applicant is responsible for verifying and compliance with all
permit requirements, including permit conditions, pre-construction
notification requirements and regional conditions as provided by the US
Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The applicant
must
coordinate
with USACE
as well as the
CWCB to
obtain and
comply with
all appropriate
permits.
The applicant is responsible for implementing, monitoring, and
maintaining all Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and PreConstruction Notification (PCN) conditions of applicable Nation Wide
Permits (NWP). This is to include any requirements per the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment 401 Water Quality
Certification for Clean Water Act permits. Applicants must coordinate
with local floodplain administrator to obtain and comply with the
appropriate floodplain management permits.
For any work completed within the designated section of the Cache La
Poudre River that is listed wild and scenic agencies would confer with
the regulatory agency overseeing that section.
March 2015
Section 6 | Summary of Impacts
Resource
Area
Cultural
Resources
Hazardous
Materials
Alternative 1:
No Action
No new impacts to historic resources would
occur, though resources may be left
exposed.
No hazardous materials would be disturbed
or create any potential hazard to human
health.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Alternative 2:
Replacement
by requiring the applicant to apply BMPs to reduce
impacts on wetlands and waterways.
The results of the analyses and consultation discussed
above would be documented in a memorandum to
this PEA or in a SEA.
Destruction or alteration of any site, structure or
object of historic, prehistoric or paleontological
importance may occur during hazard removal.
Physical change could affect unique cultural values.
There could be effects on existing religious or sacred
uses of a site or area and archeological resources may
be present. For non-tribal lands any agencies that
have entered into Programmatic Agreements with the
Colorado State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
will determine if a project meets any outlined
programmatic allowances. If so, The Agencies would
consider the project to be in compliance with Section
106 of NHPA and no further review would occur. If
a project does not fall within an allowance, or a
Programmatic Agreement does not exist, The
Agencies will make a determination of effect and
consult with the SHPO. Additional archaeological
surveys of ground disturbing activities or
architectural surveys of projects impacting built
environments may be required depending on
consultation with Tribal Historic Preservation Office
(THPO) and SHPO.
If hazardous constituents are encountered during the
proposed construction operations, appropriate
measures for the proper assessment, remediation and
management of the contamination would be initiated
in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local
regulations. The contractor would take appropriate
measures to prevent, minimize, and control the spill
of hazardous materials.
Page 53
Permits
None
Conditions
Applicant shall, to the extent possible, follow best construction practices
to minimize impacts to any cultural resources. Should any historic or
archaeological materials be discovered during construction, all activities
on the site would be halted immediately and the applicant should
contact the SHPO for further guidance.
If a project does not fall within an allowance, or a Programmatic
Agreement does not exist with the SHPO then The Agencies will make
a determination of effect under Section 106 of the NHPA and consult
with the SHPO
CDPHE
permits
Hazardous Materials must be appropriately separated and disposed of in
an approved disposal site or landfill.
Asphalt must be recycled as a blended base material or appropriately
separated and disposed of in an approved disposal site or landfill in
accordance with the CDPHE authorized waste management regulations.
For any “Asbestos Containing Material”, lead-based paint and/or other
hazardous materials found during remediation or repair activities, the
Applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and local abatement and
disposal requirements. Applicants are responsible for ensuring
contracted removal of hazardous debris also follows these guidelines.
March 2015
Section 8 | List of Preparers
SECTION SEVEN | PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
7.1
PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENT
The following Public Notice of Intent was published in the Denver Post – Sunday Edition January
18th and January 25th 2015.
PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENT TO PREPARE A PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL
ASSESSMENT (PEA)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing notice of its intent to prepare a
Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) to evaluate watershed resiliency projects in the
State of Colorado. We provide this notice to advise other Federal and State agencies, Native
American tribes, non-governmental organizations, and the public of our intention as well as to
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider during the PEA planning
process. These actions are part of our effort to comply with the general provisions of the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); NEPA regulations; other Federal laws and regulations,
Executive Orders; and policies for compliance with those laws and regulations including 44 Code of
Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 9 and 10.
Our PEA will focus on comprehensive watershed resiliency activities in Colorado through river
restoration, property acquisition and infrastructure improvements. FEMA and other Federal
Agencies may provide funds in an effort to restore watershed functions and mitigate for future
disaster events. The purpose of our PEA is to provide an assessment of the expected environmental
impacts associated with implementing these projects. More specifically, it will address the purpose
and need of the proposed projects; consider project alternatives, affected environment,
environmental consequences, and the impacts of mitigation measures. The PEA would not address
site-specific impacts, which would be evaluated prior to project approval.
The projects would be performed within existing rights of way to the extent practicable. However,
because disaster events have disrupted original footprints there will be situations that warrant
upgrading a site to meet existing codes and standards or to address conditions that have changed
since the original construction. All Federally-funded projects will be completed in compliance with
applicable Federal, tribal, state and local laws, regulations, Executive Orders, etc. Some specific
items of work may include, but not be limited to:
•
•
•
River Restoration: Channel shaping or re-profiling, bank stabilization, floodplain construction,
overflow channel construction, riparian re-vegetation, in-stream habitat improvement.
Property Acquisition: Acquisition of properties in areas of high risk due to geomorphic
conditions such as erosional zones or in support of watershed functional restoration.
Infrastructure Improvements: Bridge enlargement, storm water improvements, culvert
replacement in support of watershed functional restoration.
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 54
March 2015
Section 9 | References
The comment period for the proposed PEA will remain open for two weeks following publication
of this notice. After gathering public comments, FEMA will develop a draft PEA that will be
available for public review and comment according to 44 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part
10.
You can obtain more detailed information about the proposed PEA from Steven Hardegen, FEMA
Region VIII, Regional Environmental Officer, Denver, CO [email protected]
Comments should be made in writing to the FEMA point of contact listed above and post-marked
within fourteen (14) days of publication of this notice.
7.2
PUBLIC NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY for COMMENT
The following Public Notice of Availability for Comment was published in the Denver Post –
Sunday Edition March 29th and April 12th 2015.
March 29th 2015 | PUBLIC NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF A PROGRAMMATIC
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (PEA) FOR WATERSHED RESILIENCY PROJECTS
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing notice of availability for
comment on a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) to evaluate watershed resiliency
projects in the State of Colorado. We provide this notice to invite other Federal and State agencies,
Native American tribes, non-governmental organizations, and the public to provide commentary or
suggestions on the scope of issues considered in our PEA. These actions are part of our effort to
comply with the general provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); NEPA
regulations; other Federal laws, regulations, and Executive Orders; and our policies for compliance
with those laws and regulations including 44 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 9 and 10.
Our PEA focuses on comprehensive watershed resiliency activities in Colorado including river
restoration and watershed mitigation through multi-objective design and bioengineering. FEMA
and other Federal Agencies may provide funds in an effort to restore watershed functions and
mitigate for future disaster events. The purpose of our PEA is to provide an assessment of the
expected environmental impacts associated with implementing these projects. More specifically, it
will address the purpose and need of the proposed projects; consider project alternatives, affected
environment, environmental consequences, and the impacts of mitigation measures. The PEA
would not address site-specific impacts, which would be evaluated prior to project approval.
The projects would be performed within existing rights of way to the extent practicable. However,
because disaster events have disrupted original footprints there will be situations that warrant
upgrading a site to meet existing codes and standards or to address conditions that have changed
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 55
March 2015
Section 9 | References
since the original construction. All Federally-funded projects will be completed in compliance with
applicable Federal, tribal, state and local laws, regulations, Executive Orders, etc. Some specific
items of work may include channel shaping or re-profiling, bank stabilization, floodplain
construction, overflow channel construction, riparian re-vegetation, in-stream habitat improvement
and fish passage.
The comment period for the proposed PEA will remain open for thirty (30) days following the
original publication of this notice on March 29th and can be found at
http://dhsem.state.co.us/budget-finance/public-notices.
You can obtain more information from Steven Hardegen, FEMA Region VIII, Regional
Environmental Officer, Denver, CO [email protected] or Jeffrey Fullmer, FEMA
Environmental Specialist, [email protected]
Comments should be made in writing to the FEMA point of contact listed above and post-marked
within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice.
7.3
PUBLIC COMMENTS RECEIVED
Public Notice of Intent – No Comments Received
Public Notice of Availability for Comment – Comment Period Open Now
SECTION Eight | LIST OF PREPARERS
This PEA was prepared by:
FEMA Region VIII, Denver, CO
• Jeffrey Fullmer – FEMA Environmental Protection Specialist
• Steven Hardegen – FEMA Regional Environmental Officer
The Colorado Disaster Unified Review Team
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 56
March 2015
Section 9 | References
SECTION Nine | REFERENCES
Watershed Resiliency Projects
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 57
March 2015
i
Library of Congress. H.R.219 – Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 113th Congress (2013-2014).
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/219. Accessed 12/09/2014
ii
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013.
https://www.fema.gov/sandy-recovery-improvement-act-2013. Accessed 12/09/2013
iii
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Unified Federal Environmental and Historic
Preservation Review for Presidentially Declared Disasters. https://www.fema.gov/unified-federalenvironmental-and-historic-preservation-review-presidentially-declared-disasters. Accessed 12/09/2014
iv
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Grants.
March 2015
https://www.fema.gov/grants Accessed
v
U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Special Federal-aid Funding - Emergency Relief (ER)
Program. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm
vi
U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Federal Lands Highway (FLH) – Emergency Relief for
Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). http://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/erfo/
vii
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Emergency
Watershed
Protection
(EWP)
Program,
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/landscape/ewpp/. Accessed March, 2015.
viii
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR). https://www.hudexchange.info/cdbg-dr/ Accessed March, 2015.
ix
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
https://www.fema.gov/environmental-planning-and-historic-preservation-program/national-environmentalpolicy-act. Accessed 12/09/2014
x
Ezilon Maps. Political Map of Colorado. http://www.ezilon.com/maps/united-states/colorado-counties-androad-maps.html Accessed 12/09/2014
xi
The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). Map of Native American Reservations on the Colorado
Plateau. https://www.fgdc.gov/grants/2005CAP/projects/05HQAG0140_map/view. Accessed 12/09/2014
xii
Colorado Division of Water Resources | Division Offices by Major
http://water.state.co.us/DivisionsOffices/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed 12/09/2014.
River
Basins.
xiii
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service. Web Soil Survey, 2010.
http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov. Accessed January, 2014.
xiv
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 2010. National Land Cover
http://landcover.usgs.gov/states_regions_2.php?rec=5. Accessed 12/09/2014.
Statistics
Database.
xv
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). 2010. Draft NEPA Guidance on Consideration of the Economic
Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. 2010. State Fact Sheets: Colorado.
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/state-fact-sheets/statedata.aspx?StateFIPS=08&StateName=Colorado. Accessed March, 2014
Hazards Removal from Stream Corridor
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Page 58
March 2015
xvi
Colorado
Department
of
Transportation
(DOT)
Transportation
http://www.coloradodot.info/library/FactBook/FactBook2011. Accessed March, 2013.
xvii
Facts.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Http://www.OSHA.gov. Accessed 12/18/2014
xviii
National Conference of State Legislature. Federally Recognized Tribes. http://www.ncsl.org/issuesresearch/tribal/list-of-federal-and-state-recognized-tribes.aspx. Accesses March, 2015.
xix
U.S. Census Bureau Highlights. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/. Accessed
March 2015
xx
U.S. Census Bureau (USCB). 2011Colorado QuickFacts from the U.S. Census Bureau –2010 Census.
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/08057.html. Accessed March, 2015.
xxi
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2011a. “Currently Designated Nonattainment Areas for All
Criteria Pollutants (Green Book).” Available at http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/greenbk/ancl.html. Accessed
March, 2013.
Hazards Removal from Stream Corridor
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
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