FLOODPLAINS AND WETLANDS NOTICE: FINAL NOTICE, EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED ACTIVITY
ST. CHARLES PARISH
FLOODPLAINS AND WETLANDS NOTICE
Final Notice and Public Explanation of Proposed Activity located in 100 Year Floodplain and Wetlands
Engineer’s Canal Pump Station Capacity Increase Project in Norco, LA
funded in part by the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
To: All interested Agencies, Groups and Individuals
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (GOHSEP) approved an application for Federal grant funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for the Engineer’s Canal Pump Station Capacity Increase project. Funding for this grant was made available after the Presidential Disaster Declaration following the Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding event of August 2016 (Disaster #: DR-4277). Funding for the proposed project is conditional upon compliance with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws, regulations, floodplain standards, permit requirements, and conditions.
Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal actions must be reviewed and evaluated for feasible alternatives and for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Under Executive Order (EO) 11988 and EO 11990, FEMA is required to consider alternatives to and to provide public notice of any proposed actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands. This notice serves as final public notice per 44 CFR Part 9.12(e).
The Engineer’s Canal Pump Station Capacity Increase project is being completed to mitigate flooding by improving stormwater drainage within the station’s watershed area, which encompasses a portion of Norco located in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
The proposed project scope includes:
1. Increasing the capacity of the Engineer’s Canal Pump Station located at 688 W. Pine Street in Norco by adding a new 26” submersible, 200-horse power electric motor pump in an open bay of the existing pump station platform; and,
2. installing a new 26” discharge pipe approximately 286’ in length over the Bonnet Carré Spillway East Guide Levee; and,
3. extending the concrete blocks along the side of the levee approximately 3’ to anchor the new discharge pipe; and,
4. installing a concrete box and slab extension for the vehicle ramp at the crown of the levee; and
5. replacing the existing generator with a new larger generator that will service both the new and existing pumps.
In accordance with 44 CFR 9.12(e), this notice serves to inform interested parties with a statement of the Parish’s Final Decision and an explanation of all relevant factors considered when making the determination.
1. In order to mitigate flood losses in the Engineer’s Canal Pump Station watershed area, the proposed action must be located in an area affecting or affected by a floodplain or a wetland. As an essential facility, the station helps to reduce flooding losses to properties located inside of the watershed area and protects the health and well-being of the people of St. Charles from negative effects of flooding. The Parish determined the benefits of making the improvements superseded the alternatives (listed in number 3 below).
2. According to St. Charles Parish’s Revised Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps, the Engineer’s Canal Pump Station is located in an area with multiple flood zone designations. The location of the pumps and generator is designated as Zone AE of the 100-year floodplain. The discharge pipes extend from the station, across the Bonnet Carré Spillway East Guide Levee, which is designated as Zone X, and then continues into the Spillway into a Zone AE designated area.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory online mapper indicates that the canal leading to the pump station, where the pumps are and will be located, is designated as Riverine Wetlands. The other features of the project are not located within a designated wetland. However, Freshwater Emergent Wetlands exist where water will be discharged into the Spillway.
The design criteria for the proposed project were provided through the permitting process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The USACE has issued a letter of no objection and Permit No. MNV-2009-02220-EV for the proposed project. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management advised that pursuant to the State and Local Coastal Resources Management Act of 1978, as amended (La. R.S. 49:214.34.A), a portion of the proposed activity is exempt and a Coastal Use Permit will not be required. Pursuant to the Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 43, 723.B.8.b the remainder of the referenced activity (portion of project below 5’ MSL) has been determined to have no direct and significant impact (NDSI) on coastal waters and a Coastal Use Permit is not required.
3. St. Charles Parish considered the following alternatives and mitigation measures to be taken to minimize adverse impacts and to restore and preserve natural and beneficial values:
a. Taking no action – This is not an acceptable alternative due to the continued threat of flooding within the Engineer’s Canal Pump Station’s watershed area.
b. Constructing a new pump station in a different location that would still service the watershed area during periods of heavy rainfall – This alternative would require the Parish to identify available land suitable to construct a pump station that also has existing drainage conveyance and access for an outfall. The Parish would then have to obtain permits and approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commence design. This alternative is not cost reasonable and would possibly require disturbing additional land.
4. The proposed action will conform to applicable state and local floodplain protection standards.
5. The proposed action is not likely to result in any direct impacts that will adversely affect the natural values and functions of floodplains, nor is it likely to increase the risk of flood loss. Mitigation is to be achieved through the construction of a small-scale hazard mitigation measure in an existing developed area with substantially completed drainage infrastructure. The proposed project will increase the drainage capacity of the existing Engineer’s Canal Pump Station. The immediate project area has previously been disturbed, so no impact will be made to undisturbed ground. Therefore, the project should have little or no direct or indirect impact on floodplain and wetland development and will preserve the natural and beneficial floodplain values.
6. The St. Charles Parish Public Works Department is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the construction of the proposed action. The St. Charles Parish Grants office is responsible for administering the grant award. Requests for information regarding the proposed project can be addressed to Ms. Carla Chiasson, Grants Officer, St. Charles Parish, Post Office Box 302, Hahnville, LA 70057, (985) 783-5000, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. A full description of the proposed project including a map of the project area may be reviewed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday in the St. Charles Parish Grants Office located on the third floor of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse at 15045 River Road, Hahnville, LA. For viewing information, please contact Ms. Carla Chiasson at (985) 783-5000, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Written comments regarding this Floodplain and Wetlands Notice will be accepted for 15 calendar days following this posting.
St. Charles Parish may also be reached through the Louisiana Relay Communications System at the following numbers:
TTY Users: 1-800-846-5277
ASCII Users: 1-888-550-5277
This service is free of charge.
Date: February 14, 2019