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Finding of No Significant Impact

Adoption of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Assessment

Calvert/Marshall County Port: Section 26a approval for construction of a barge loading dock, barge repair facility, and riprap, Tennessee River mile 12.1L, Marshall County, Kentucky

Background
Alternatives and Impact Assessment
TVA Review
Conclusion and Findings
Conditions of Section 26a Approval

Background

Calvert/Marshall County Port has applied for approval to construct a public port along the Tennessee River near Calvert City. The facility would load clay, agricultural products, construction materials, and steel. The facility also would include barge cleanout and barge repair capability. In order to protect the riverbank in adjacent areas where barges would be fleeted, approximately 1500 linear feet of shoreline would be lined with stone riprap. Barges would be loaded from two belt conveyors near a paved county road. Construction of the barge loading facility and riprap along the Tennessee River would require approvals under Section 26a of the TVA Act.

The proposed port facility and plans were announced to the public through Joint Public Notice 01-60 on July 31, 2001. Agencies issuing the Joint Public Notice were the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), TVA, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Comments were received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC), and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority. KDFWR requested a freshwater mussel survey of the port area. FWS also stated that a freshwater mussel survey should be conducted of the project area, and requested that the permit be conditioned to prevent the handling of whole logs or wood chips. A mussel survey was conducted. It was concluded that because of the depth of the water where relatively dense mussel stocks were found, and because of the distance from areas of construction and operation activities, there should not be discernible impacts on the mussels. TVA would condition the permit to prevent the handling of whole logs or wood chips.

KHC requested an archaeological survey of the project area. Upon review of the survey, KHC concurred by letter of November 27, 2001 that no historic properties were present within the project’s area of potential effect. The letter concluded that the Agency Official’s responsibility to consult with the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Officer is fulfilled. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority supported the development of the port project. By letter of December 18, 2001, Water Quality Certification was received from the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet.

After considering these comments and the potential environmental effects of the port construction, the USACE issued an EA and FONSI on February 5, 2002.

Because the proposed port was on an undeveloped site and concerns were expressed about effects on mussel resources, TVA decided that preparation of an EA would allow a better understanding of the impacts of the proposal. Under the terms of a 1985 Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Army, TVA served as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the USACE EA. TVA has determined that the impacts of its Section 26a approvals for the Calvert/Marshall County Port are adequately assessed in the USACE February 2002 EA, which TVA adopts as its own, based upon independent review of the project.

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Alternatives and Impact Assessment

The EA prepared by the USACE evaluates the environmental consequences of three alternatives:
(1) No Action. The applicant would not construct the port. Agricultural commodities and steel would likely be loaded at other ports in the area.
(2) Applicant’s Final Proposed Action. The port would be constructed as proposed and riprap would be placed along the riverbank adjacent to the port.
(3) Issue Permit with Modifications and Conditions. Additional conditions to require mussel monitoring and prevent river sedimentation would be included in the permit.

Under all alternatives, there would be no effects on wetlands, endangered or threatened species, and historic properties, and insignificant effects on wildlife, aquatic resources, navigation, noise, air quality, land use concerns, and water quality. The project is located in an existing industrial corridor and would create additional jobs, have indirect employment benefits, and provide stimulus to the local economy.

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TVA Review

TVA commented on a draft of the USACE EA, independently reviewed the impacts assessed in the USACE EA, and confirmed its findings. For compliance with Executive Order 11988 on Floodplain Management, TVA determined that the port and riprap should result in minor impacts to flood control. Because these are water-dependent activities, there is no practicable alternative to construction of these facilities in the floodplain. TVA also has determined that no federal or state endangered or threatened species, or historic properties would be affected by the Calvert/Marshall County Port project. The November 27, 2001 letter from the State Historic Preservation Officer certified that the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act had been met. In accordance with the request of FWS, TVA has added condition 2 to prohibit the loading of logs or wood chips without prior approval of TVA.

Subsequent to the issuance of the USACE permit for this project, TVA investigated two additional issues, barge traffic and mussel resources, in light of findings developed in the Section 26a review for the Bailey Port and First Marine projects nearby. With regard to barge traffic, the proposed terminal at Bailey Port would load approximately 120 barges per week. This level of barge traffic, if it all went through Kentucky Lock, would approach the lock's capacity. However, these coal-carrying barges are already part of the traffic on this stretch of the river and are already traveling through Kentucky Lock. Coal-carrying barges are 54 percent of current up-bound lockages at Kentucky Lock. The coal to be loaded at Bailey Port for the TVA market would merely substitute for some of this existing up-bound river traffic and not produce additional congestion.

The increase in barges generated at Bailey Port is expected to be in barges traveling downriver to serve customers along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. First Marine has also requested a barge terminal along this stretch of the river with an expected capacity of 60 barges per week; however, more than half of these barges would travel downriver, also not adding to the congestion at Kentucky Lock. Calvert/Marshall County Port is expected to load 20 barges per week, 80 percent of which would proceed downriver and not add to the congestion at Kentucky Lock. If lock capacity is approached and waiting times at Kentucky Lock increase, costs of river shipping would also increase and other modes of transportation would become more economical. Commodities would bypass the lock in order to avoid delays. Any barge delays would be minimal when the new Kentucky Lock is completed in 2014.

Discussions with FWS and KDFWR about the Bailey Port project indicated that native mussel resources in the Tennessee River downstream from Kentucky Dam would be better protected if a more intensive monitoring program were to be required. Based on that conclusion, the EA for the Bailey Port project included a commitment that a statistically valid mussel monitoring survey be performed every other year for at least three cycles. Given the similarity of these two projects and the closeness of their location, KDFWR suggested that the more protective monitoring requirement should also be applied to this project. That change in the monitoring requirement is included as condition 4 attached to this FONSI. In addition, TVA determined that the permit should be conditioned to minimize the disturbance of healthy mussel beds by propeller wash (condition 5).

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Conclusion and Findings

TVA has critically and independently reviewed the USACE EA and determined that the scope, alternatives considered, and content of the EA are adequate and that the impacts on the environment have been adequately addressed. TVA has decided to adopt the USACE EA. It is attached and incorporated by reference.
Based on the EA, we conclude that the Section 26a approval for a public port, barge repair facility, and riprap along the Tennessee River associated with the Calvert/Marshall County Port would not be a major Federal action significantly affecting the environment. This FONSI is contingent upon successful implementation of the conditions attached on the following page. Accordingly, an environmental impact statement is not required.

Original signed by:
Jon M. Loney, Manager
NEPA Administration
Environmental Policy and Planning
Tennessee Valley Authority

Date: June 21, 2002

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Conditions of Section 26a Approval

Tennessee River Mile 12.1L, Calvert/Marshall County Port

Section 26a approvals for crossings of Bent Creek and Boring Mill Branch associated with widening of State Route (SR) 191 (Brevard Road) and the SR 191 entrance ramp to the Blue Ridge Parkway Buncombe County, North Carolina

1. Except as modified by Condition 4 (below), the applicant will comply with all special permit conditions in the EA (Section 5.4) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (February 5, 2002) and with all permit conditions (General and Specific) required by the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, Division of Water (December 18, 2001 Section 401 Water Quality Certification).

2. The applicant will not load logs or wood chips without prior approval of TVA.

3. No dredging will be conducted to facilitate the operation of the proposed loading and barge renovation activities without prior approval of TVA.

4. Calvert/Marshall County Port will implement a survey to determine the status of native mussel resources in the area adjacent to this facility and at an upstream control site. This survey will use statistically valid sampling techniques and will be performed every other year for at least three cycles. The monitoring plan will be implemented after its approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Results from each survey will be submitted to the above agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers within three months after the completion of the field work. If the survey results indicate no project-related adverse effects to native mussel resources, no further sampling will be required beyond the third cycle. If the survey results indicate statistically significant adverse project-related effects to native mussel stocks, the applicant and its agent will meet with the above federal and state resource management agencies and will conduct or fund appropriate activities required by the agencies to mitigate the adverse effects.

5. All local movement of barges associated with this facility will be conducted using a winch cable system and/or a small work tug boat having 1,000 horsepower or less with an “open wheel” design, both intended to minimize the disturbance of mussel resources from propeller wash.

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