Wetland Permitting Public Notices

Public Notice of Application by CSX Transportation, Inc.

PUBLIC NOTICE OF APPLICATION
FOR COASTAL WETLANDS PERMIT
AND WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION

CSX Transportation, Inc. has filed an application requesting after-the-fact permission to conduct regulated activities under the provision of the Coastal Wetlands Protection Law Act, Title 49, Chapter 27, Mississippi Code of 1972.

The applicant was previously authorized to replace an existing bridge along their rail line spanning Bayou Pierre in Gautier, Jackson County, MS. To accomplish the bridge replacement the applicant was authorized for the construction of a temporary work/crane pad which would impact approximately 0.029-acre of tidal marsh wetlands. The sheet-pile wall and associated fill material would be removed following completion of the project and the marsh allowed to return to pre-project conditions. Once installation of the sheet-pile wall was initiated it was discovered that the subsurface conditions at the site were unsuitable to provide the load-bearing support required by the crane if using the permitted temporary work/crane pad. The applicant was required to modify the work/crane pad by extending the sheet-pile wall an additional 2 feet waterward including additional soldier piles and H-piles for support for an increase in impacts to 0.037-acre. In addition to the modification of the work/crane pad, access to the work/crane pad required the addition of clean rock approximately 2 feet from the toe of the existing embankment resulting in an additional 0.012-acre of impacts. Total tidal marsh wetland impacts for the entire project were 0.049-acre. The applicant is requesting that the 0.049-acre impact be permanent due to concerns that removal of the work/crane pad has the potential to cause stabilization problems to the existing roadbed which could create an unexpected maintenance problem leading to more fill placed into the wetland.

Compensatory mitigation for the permanent impact to 0.049-acre of tidal wetlands will be provided by using excess wetland credit generated by the applicant at the former Gautier Oil Site (DMR-050504) which required that 2.14 acres of tidal wetlands be created/restored at the site. Per the final approved monitoring report dated February 22, 2016, 2.38 acres of created/restored tidal wetlands were documented on-site which is an additional 0.24-acre than what was required. The required mitigation for the proposed permanent impacts associated with the bridge replacement project would be 0.147-acre (3:1 ratio), thus the 0.24-acre excess created as part of the permit requirements for DMR-050504 exceed this requirement.

The applicant is requesting variances from Chapter 8, Section 2, Part III.O.1 of the Mississippi Coastal Program (MCP) which states, “Permanent filling of coastal wetlands because of potential adverse and cumulative environmental impacts is discouraged”; Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, Chapter 8, Section 114.01 which states, “Permanent filling of coastal wetlands below the mean high tide line because of potential adverse and cumulative environmental impacts is not authorized”; Chapter 8, Section 2, Part III.O.2 of the MCP which states, “Areas containing submerged vegetation or regularly flooded emergent vegetation shall not be filled”; and Miss. Admin. Code Title 22, Part 23, Chapter 8, Section 114.03 which states, “Sensitive coastal wetlands must not be filled.” This public notice and project diagrams may be accessed on MDMR’s website at: http://www.dmr.ms.gov/index.php/coastal-resources-management/wetland-permitting.

In compliance with Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, 1341), as amended by PL 95-217, the applicant will request certification from the Office of Pollution Control that the above mentioned activity will be in compliance with applicable provisions of Section 301 (33 U.S.C. 1311), Section 302 (33 U.S.C. 1312), Section 303 (U.S.C. 1313), Section 306 (U.S.C. 1316), and Section 307 (U.S.C. 1317) of the Act and appropriate requirements of the State Law.

A public hearing will be held on April 9, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gautier Public Library Conference Room located at 2100 Library Ln, Gautier, MS 39553. The public hearing will not be a question and answer session but will be a medium for concerned parties to make comments about the proposed project for the public record. Prior to the hearing the applicant’s representatives will be available for questions regarding the proposed project. More information on the application can be obtained at the DMR office at 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, MS, 39530, or by calling 228-523-4109. Any person wishing to make comments or objections to the proposed regulated activity must submit those comments in writing to the Department of Marine Resources at 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530 before 1:00 p.m. on the day April 29, 2019.

[Application and Diagrams]