Public Notice of Availability for Draft of Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for Redistribution and Removal of Hazards from Stream Corridors

In the spirit of Unified Federal Review (UFR) as outlined in the congressionally mandated Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announces the availability of a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for proposed projects for the removal and redistribution of sediments and hazards from streambeds in the state of Colorado. This analysis would be programmatic in nature and not address site-specific impacts, which would be evaluated prior to project approval. FEMA is inviting comment from the public and interested federal, tribal, state and local agencies on proposed actions and potential impacts to existing resources.

The PEA is intended to address numerous individual sites where large quantities of sediment, rock, trees, and boulders along the natural stream channels have diminished the stream channels capacity to convey floodwaters and debris. This diminished capacity could result in additional flooding both downstream and outside the current channel if the deposition is not redistributed or removed to accommodate the stream flows during spring thaw or in another significant rainfall event. It is certain that the existing hazards will cause stream bank erosion which will threaten the integrity of the canyon infrastructure, property and environment. Rapid stream bank erosion will result in the destruction of nearby roads. In addition, the transport of hazards downstream has a substantial likelihood of causing new destruction to communities and their infrastructures which were recently repaired and which are currently undergoing repairs.

Some specific items of work may include, but will not be limited to:
  • Operating equipment within the waterway as needed for retrieval of sediment, rock, trees, and boulders to reestablish appropriate hydraulic capacity and the removal of rubble from destroyed structures from the streambed to the extent that the work is necessary to address immediate hazards.
  • Channel modifications necessary to facilitate heavy equipment access, reestablish embankments, and accommodate hazard removal.
  • Minimal engineering plans which define the appropriate geometry and elevations to reestablish desired hydraulic capacity.
Projects considered under this PEA will involve actions that may be completed and/or funded by multiple federal, tribal, state and local sources. All federally-funded projects will be completed in compliance with applicable federal, tribal, state and local laws, regulations, Executive Orders, etc.

This notice of availability for comment is pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (PL 91-190) and associated environmental statutes, as implemented in FEMA’s regulations 44 CFR Part 10. This draft PEA addresses the purpose and need of the proposed projects, project alternatives considered, affected environment, environmental consequences, and impact mitigation measures. Notice is also published in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, as implemented in 36 CFR Part 800; and Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management and Executive Order 11990, Wetlands Protection, as implemented in 44 CFR Part 9; since these actions may have the potential to affect historic, cultural and archaeological resources, floodplains and wetlands.

As these actions are deemed emergency in nature an abbreviated public comment period related to the proposed actions described above will remain open for 5 days following publication of this notice. The draft EA will be available for public review on the Colorado site

Interested persons may obtain more detailed information about the proposed PEA from Steven Hardegen, FEMA Region VIII, Regional Environmental Officer, Denver, CO

Comments will be accepted by the affected public; local, state, and federal agencies; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate environmental impacts of the proposed projects. Comments should be made in writing to the FEMA point of contact listed above and post-marked within 5 days of publication of this notice.

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