FEMA Public Notice -Pine River Ranches Bridge Project

Public Notice - Pine River Ranches Bridge Replacement          

Notification is hereby given to the public that the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District, in conjunction with the Pine River Ranches Landowners Association, has requested funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a proposed bridge mitigation project north of Bayfield, Colorado. The project is located along the Pine River on Ludwig Drive (37.302279, -107.606442). This notification is provided pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Executive Orders 11988 – Floodplain Management, and Executive Order 11990 – Wetland Protection, and Federal agency implementation procedures described in 44 C.F.R. Part 9 and FEMA Directive 108-1. Funding from FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program will be utilized. The purpose of FEMA’s mitigation program is to implement cost-effective mitigation projects that will reduce the overall risk to populations and property. 

In order to prevent potential failure of the current bridge during flooding events, the proposed project includes replacement of the existing one-lane bridge with a new 30-foot wide two-lane bridge designed in accordance with current AASHTO codes and standards. In addition to road realignment, the ingress/egress points are expected to be wider to accommodate the new bridge design. The proposed project will require the removal of all existing infrastructure, including in-channel removals of footings and piers. The new bridge would be constructed without a center pier to avoid debris collection and restriction of the effective throat opening below the bridge. The initial bridge designs place the replacement bridge immediately downstream of the existing bridge to use as much of the existing right-of-way as possible and minimize the impacts. Construction activities would be in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances. This action requires the project sponsor to acquire a Floodplain Development Permit and to comply with their local floodplain ordinance and the National Flood Insurance Program regulations. Coordination with the La Plata County Floodplain Administer is ongoing.

The President of the United States has issued Executive Orders that require Federal Agencies to focus attention on the environment and on human health and safety when considering the funding of an action.  Executive Orders 11988 – Floodplain Management and 11990 – Wetland Protection require federal agencies to avoid to the extent possible the long and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains/wetlands and to avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain/wetland development wherever there is a practicable alternative. With this public notice, FEMA is informing the public that the proposed action will occur in areas that are mapped within the 100-year floodplain, as well as wetland/riparian zone associated with the Pine River. Based on the purpose of the project, all practicable alternatives would contain project features located in the floodplain, as well as wetlands. The proposed action will not adversely affect the floodplain function and no downstream impacts have been identified. It is anticipated that long-term impacts to the floodplain and wetlands will be beneficial, with a potential minor, short-term impacts during the construction process. In order to minimize impacts to wetlands, appropriate erosion and sediment control measures will be installed to control the discharge of pollutants from the construction site. Any impacts to jurisdictional wetlands will be addressed in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. FEMA has also evaluated the potential effects of the proposed project on endangered species, and historic properties, and determined there will be no significant impacts to these resources.

A public comment period for the proposed project described in this notice will remain open for 15 days. If no substantive comments are received, the proposed project may proceed no sooner than 15 days after the comment period closes. Interested persons may obtain more detailed information about the proposed project by contacting Bruce Evans at 970-884-9508. Information may also be requested from Daniel Jones, FEMA Environmental Specialist by email at daniel.jones5@fema.dhs.gov or by mail at the Denver Federal Center, P. O. Box 25267, Denver, Colorado, 80225.