Public Notices

Public Notice 21-26; LRN-2013-01068

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Nashville District
Published Aug. 2, 2021
Expiration date: 9/1/2021

SUBJECT:  Proposed discharge of fill material into waters of the United States to facilitate the construction of Phase II of the Cherry Lane Road improvements project from the intersection of Alford Road and Sulfur Springs Road connecting to Phase III of Cherry Lane Road located within Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, TN.                                                                                     

TO ALL CONCERNED:  The application described below has been submitted for a Department of the Army (DA) Permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the discharge of fill material into waters of the United States (U.S.).  Before a permit can be issued, certification must be provided by the State of Tennessee, pursuant to Section 401(a)(1) of the CWA, that applicable water quality standards will not be violated.  The applicant has applied for the required certification.

APPLICANT:  City of Murfreesboro
                        111 West Vine Street -Second Floor
                        Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37133

LOCATION:  The 1.9 mile roadway project begins near the intersection of Alford Road and Sulphur Springs Road at N35.920275°, W-86.421802°, where it will traverse in a generally northeast direction to connect with the previously constructed Phase I Cherry Lane Road Improvement project just west of Cavalier Drive at approximate coordinates N35.925908°, W-86.390881°.  The project area is located on the Walter Hill, Tennessee USGS Topographic Quadrangle within the Stones River watershed (HUC-8: 05130203). 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  The City of Murfreesboro is proposing to construct Phase II of the Cherry Lane Road Improvement project. The Cherry Lane Road Improvement project (the project) is being developed and implemented in three separate phases (Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III) and will ultimately provide a direct route from HWY 41 (Broad Street) to HWY 231 (Memorial Boulevard), with an interchange connection at Interstate 840 (I-840).  Phase II of the project consists of constructing a new five-lane roadway that will serve to provide an additional route to and from HWY 41 and I-840. The new roadway will feature an alignment and design, which will support a greater volume of traffic under safer conditions. The alignment of Phase II will ultimately connect with Phase I and Phase III of the project.   The implementation of Phase II will also provide alternative transportation methods as the current proposed design features designated pedestrian sidewalks, along with a 10-foot multi-use path.

In order to facilitate the project, the discharge of fill material is proposed within three (3) perennial or intermittent streams, and one (1) wetland.  A total of 804 linear feet of streams (0.185 acre) and 11.81 acres of wetlands would be impacted by the proposed discharge of fill material related to the roadway construction.  Additionally, the proposal includes the discharge of temporary fill material associated with the installation and maintenance of erosion prevention and sediment control (EPSC) measures.  A complete set of project drawings for this public notice is located at: https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices/

PURPOSE AND NEED:  According to the permit application, the purpose of the proposed project is to construct Phase II of the project to improve the traffic flow, lessen commuter time, and improve the safety in this area of Murfreesboro.  Phase II of the Cherry Lane Road Improvement project is part of the City’s 2040 Major Transportation Plan, which identified and evaluated transportation networks that are vital to the community and are in need of revitalization and restructuring in order to accommodate the growing population and number of commuters that Murfreesboro is experiencing. Local traffic congestion on existing roadways in proximity to the proposed project area have become an increasing issue as Murfreesboro and Rutherford County populations have increased within the last decade. As a result of the increasing population, local commuter traffic has increased. Traffic within the area has also been affected by commuters who travel to Murfreesboro to attend events that are held at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro.  The improved Cherry Lane roadway will provide a vital alternate route between I-24 (Interstate 24) and HWY 231 (Memorial Boulevard), with connections to Highway 41 and Interstate 840 occurring along the roadway.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION OF IMPACTS TO WATERS OF THE U.S.: According to the applicant, efforts were made during the planning and design phases of this project to avoid impacts to waters of the U.S. to the extent practicable, and to minimize impacts that were not avoidable.  The applicant examined multiple alternatives to the proposed project, including improving the existing Cherry Lane roadway, five alternative routes having a common alignment from Leanna Road westward to Sulphur Springs Road / Alford Road Intersection, alternative designs to the roadway, and the No-Build Alternative.  According to the applicant, the selected alternative satisfies the project purpose and need, and was selected as it was found to be the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.

In order to minimize impacts to jurisdictional aquatic resources, while still adhering to strict design criteria for a major arterial roadway, a redesign of the roadway to feature reduced fill slopes along the alignment were implemented where possible in order to reduce both stream and wetland impacts. Reduction of wetland impacts through the redesign of the alignment and reduction of fill slope requirements allowed for the reduction of wetland impacts from 12.35-acres to a final total of 11.81-acres of impacts. 

Measures to prevent on-site and off-site water pollution will be in place before construction within the project area begins. Limits of disturbance (LOD) will be demarcated on-site in order to prevent impacts to other aquatic resources within the subject property. Due to the proposed project being designed to allow to for the continuity of flow and having measures in place to prevent on-site and off-site water pollution, it is anticipated that degradation will be minimal and that water quality criteria will be maintained within the project area, downstream from the project area, and within the subwatershed.

Erosion prevention and sediment control (EPSC) measures (i.e. silt fencing, wattles, etc.) will be installed before any construction begins on the project area. EPSC measures will be inspected to ensure proper performance and will be maintained until vegetative covering has been established. Typical BMPs will be used to protect any remaining aquatic features that will not be disturbed as a result of the proposed project.

Absolute avoidance of jurisdictional aquatic resources that occur within the Phase II roadway corridor is impracticable while maintaining the intended origin and terminus that aligns with the Phase I alignment, which has been constructed and has a fixed origin and terminus, and Phase III alignment, which is pending construction and has specific federal requirements that determine the location of the interchange that occurs at I-840. The Phase II alignment must also conform to the strict roadway construction guidelines and standards set forth by local, state, and federal agencies.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION:  Impacts to aquatic resources resulting from the construction of the proposed project will be off-set through compensatory mitigation via a combination of Permittee-Responsible Mitigation (PRM) and purchased credits from an approved wetland mitigation bank(s) and stream mitigation bank. It is anticipated that a total of 23.62 wetland credits and 461.1 stream credits will be required to provide compensatory mitigation for the proposed project. To compensate for unavoidable permanent impacts to 804 linear feet of streams, the applicant proposes to offset 461.1 stream functional feet from a stream mitigation bank serving the Stones River watershed (HUC-8: 05130203).   The applicant proposes to purchase 3.48 wetland credits from wetland compensatory mitigation banks servicing the Stones River watershed (HUC 05130203). In addition to purchasing compensatory wetland credits from a Bank, the applicant proposes a combination of on-site and off-site permittee responsible mitigation (PRM) sites, which are proposed based on their availability, location, potential presence of hydric soils, and viability for providing sufficient compensatory mitigation.

Currently, four sites have been proposed to serve a PRM sites and are as follows;

PRM Site 1 - Jordan Farms North:  The proposed Jordan Farms North Site PRM site consists of one area located on-site, adjacent to the proposed roadway alignment. The proposed PRM site will convert an existing scrub-shrub type wetland that is dominated by green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) saplings and transition the area into a grassland type wetland that will feature greater species diversification. The proposed PRM site will provide a more valuable ecological function to the area. The proposed PRM site will also be established as a Natural Area and will provide educational opportunities to local schools and community.

PRM Site 2- High Avenue:  The proposed High Avenue PRM site is an off-site area that consists of a City owned parcel of land located southwest from the East Clark Blvd. and Highland Ave. intersection in Murfreesboro, TN.  The site encompasses approximately 16.52-acres and it is proposed that a combination of preservation and enhancement will be selected for certain areas within the site, which will generate an estimated 4.11 wetland credits.

PRM Site 3- Franklin Road Property:  The proposed Franklin Road Property PRM site is an off-site area located within a property that contains approximately 27.63-acres of wetland areas and a stream channel. The design of the proposed PRM site will also allow for greater species diversity by planting a variety of vegetation across various stratums. Soil within the areas will also be aerated by utilizing low ground pressure equipment which will serve to increase percolation of surface water into the soil profile and decrease any compaction resulting from agricultural practices.

PRM Site 4- Town Creek: The proposed Town Creek PRM site is a stream restoration proposal on approximately 415 linear feet segment of Town Creek, where a large portion of the stream has been culverted since the 1950s to accommodate development.   The purpose of this PRM project seeks to design and “daylight” ~ 415 linear feet segment of the channel from its existing state as a culverted channel to an open channel that will feature enhancements in terms of geomorphology, hydrology, and biological functions.  The stream enhancement project proposes to generate approximately 285 functional stream credits.

PRM Site 5- Siegel Park:  The proposed Siegel Park PRM site is an onsite area located within the Richard Siegel Soccer Park adjacent to the proposed and existing Cherry Lane. The site wetland area totals 16.97 acres that are located within the park.

PRM Site 6 – Jordan Farms South Site:  This proposed PRM site is located approximately 0.5-miles south of the impact site. The proposed PRM plan for the site includes the preservation of the entire 17.12-acre area that includes two (2) distinct wetland areas, a glade barren area, and upland buffer area. Baseline information obtained from the site indicates that the site contains a prevalence of the state listed yellow sunnybell (Schoenolirion croceum) species which occurs throughout the majority of the wetland. The site also features a relatively large glade habitat which is a unique habitat that occurs in the southeastern U.S. that features endemic species that only occur within glades.  Table 1 below displays the anticipated credit generated from the PRM sites associated with the proposed project.

Table 1. Compensatory Mitigation Generated from PRM Sites

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW/CUMULATIVE EFFECTS:  The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the work, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the work, will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shore erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. In addition, the evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b)(1) of the CWA (40 CFR Part 230).

SOLICITATION OF COMMENTS:  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed road improvement and widening project.  Any comments received will be considered by the USACE to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to NEPA.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  An EA will be prepared by this office prior to a final decision concerning issuance or denial of the requested DA Permit.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: A search of the National Register returned no findings of historic properties currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places within the project area. A Phase I cultural/archaeological survey has not been conducted for the site. The Corps invites responses to this public notice from American Indian Tribes or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns regarding historic properties and cultural significance at or near the project area. USACE will evaluate the design plans along with any substantive comments from this public notice to determine the potential of impacts to historic and cultural resources for Section 106 compliance. If the Corps determines that consultation is required, the Corps will consult with the Tennessee Historic Commission (SHPO) and American Indian Tribes in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.

ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES REVIEW:  On February 11, 2021, the City of Murfreesboro obtained an official species list of threatened and endangered species that may occur in your proposed project location or may be affected by your proposed project from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.                                         

 

Species Nomenclature

Federal Status

Flowering Plants

 

Braun’s Rock-cress (Arabis perstellata)

Endangered

Guthrie’s (=pyne’s) Ground-plumb (Astragalus bibullatus)

Endangered

Leafy prairie-clover (Dalea foliosa)

Endangered

Freshwater Mussels

 

Cumberland pigtoe (Pleurobema gibberum)

Endangered

Tan Riffleshell (Epioblasma floretina walkeri) (=E. walker)

Endangered

Rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica)

Threatened

Mammals

 

Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)

Endangered

Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)

Endangered

Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Threatened

 

A copy of this notice is being furnished to USFWS for their review. After receipt of any comments, the USACE will evaluate the potential effects to listed species and their designated critical habitat, and initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, if required.

OTHER APPROVALS:  Before a permit may be issued, water quality certification must be provided by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) pursuant to Section 401(a)(1) of the CWA (33 U.S.C. 1341), that applicable water quality standards will not be violated.  Other federal, state, and/or local approvals may be required for the proposed work.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING:  Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Written statements received in this office within 30 days from the date of this notice will become a part of the administrative record and will be considered in the determination.  Any response to this notice should be directed to Mark G. McIntosh Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, at the above address, at 615-428-2297, or via email: mark.g.mcintosh@usace.army.mil. 

                                                              /s/

                                                              Joshua W. Frost
                                                              Chief, Technical Services Branch
                                                              Regulatory Division
                                                              U.S. Army Corps of Engineers