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LRH-2022-55

Huntington District
Published June 20, 2023
Expiration date: 7/20/2023

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  The intent of this Public Notice is to provide an opportunity for the public to express their views on proposed adverse effects to historic properties associated with the proposed Nucor Steel West Virginia, LLC Apple Grove Site Project.

 

APPLICANT:            Nucor Steel West Virginia, LLC (Nucor)

                                  29618 Huntington Road

                                  Apple Grove, WV 25502

LOCATION:  The proposed project, referred to as the Nucor Apple Grove Site, would be located within an approximate 691-acre (ac) site located along 7,500 linear feet (lf) of the left descending bank (LDB) of the Ohio River, between river mile points 281 and 282, near Apple Grove, in Mason County, West Virginia (latitude 38.647729°, longitude -82.175875°). Reference Sheet 1 of 3.

RELATED PUBLIC NOTICES:  An original project design was described in Public Notice LRH-2022-55-OHR, which was issued by this office on May 11, 2022. A copy of this previous Public Notice can be accessed at: https://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/Article/3027829/lrh-2022-55-ohr/ 

Since issuance of the May 11, 2022 notice, the applicant modified the project design. A Public Notice describing the revised proposal was issued on October 5, 2022 and is available at https://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public- Notices/Article/3179298/lrh-2022-55-ohr-rev/.  

Per 36 CFR Part 800.4(b)(2), the applicant completed phased archaeological investigations within the overall site, dividing area into two parts, referred to as Phase A and Phase B.  Phase A includes 437.3 ac and Phase B includes 238.3 ac.  The results of the Phase A archaeological investigations and the Corps’ evaluation of the findings for the Phase A investigative boundary are described in the Public Notice issued on April 21, 2023, available at https://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/Article/3370281/lrh-2022-55-ohr/.  Additionally, in January 2023, the applicant submitted a revised design this office.  A description of the revised project can be found in Enclosure 1 of the April 2023 Public Notice.

UPDATED PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  Nucor has requested Department of the Army (DA) authorization for proposed discharges of dredged and/or fill material into direct and indirect tributaries of the Ohio River, associated wetlands, and for the work along the Ohio River.  The proposed discharges of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States and the work in and along the Ohio River are subject to regulation under both Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (Section 404) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (Section 10), respectively.  The proposed industrial development project is under consideration for DA authorization under a standard Individual Permit.

Since issuance of the April 21, 2023 Public Notice, in June 2023 the applicant submitted a revised project design to this office.  The revised design does not change the proposed work in waters of the United States, nor has the overall project description changed (reference Enclosure 1 of the April 2023 Public Notice). The June 2023 revisions include minimization and reduction to work in uplands, specific to the avoidance of historic properties. Reference Sheet 2 of 3.

LEAD FEDERAL AGENCY:  The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is the lead federal agency for this undertaking, as the only federal action in association with this proposal is the requirement to obtain authorization under Section 404 and Section 10. 

SECTION 106 OF THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT: The Corps is required by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to ensure no Federal undertaking, including a Corps’ permit action, which may affect historic resources, is commenced before the impacts of such action are considered and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) are provided an opportunity to comment as required by the NHPA, 36 CFR Part 800, and 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C.

CULTURAL RESOURCE INVESTIGATIONS:  Of the 691-ac overall site, a total of 651 ac has been subject to Phase I and Phase II archaeological investigations. The remaining 40 ac would be avoided and/or is too wet to facilitate archaeological investigations. As noted above, the applicant completed archaeological investigations within the overall site in two phases, referred to as Phase A and Phase B.  Phase A includes 437.3 ac and Phase B includes 213.7 ac. The Phase B reporting also includes an additional 24.6 ac of survey area to be avoided by the proposed project.  Please reference Sheet 3 of 3 for Phase A and Phase B review boundaries for the overall undertaking.

  • Phase A: The Phase I and Phase II archaeological investigations within Phase A were sent to the SHPO, ACHP, federally recognized Native American Tribes, and other interested/consulting parties for review and comment in late April 2023. The Corps received concurrence from the SHPO on April 18, 2023 for the Phase A determinations, a letter from the ACHP declining to participate on April 28, 2023, and editorial comments from the Council for West Virginia Archaeology (CWVA) on May 5, 2023. Between April 24-27, 2023, the Corps initiated consultation for Phase A with sixty (60) federally recognized Native American Tribes. As of June 16, 2023, the Corps has received written responses from twelve (12) federally recognized Native American Tribes.
  • Phase B: The applicant has completed Phase I and Phase II archaeological investigations within Phase B (238.3 ac) of the overall site.  The results of these investigations and the Corps’ evaluation of the findings for Phase B are described in this Public Notice.

The following reports were prepared and submitted by Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) on behalf of the applicant for Phase B: 

  • Phase I Archaeological Survey Phase B Construction Plan Proposed Nucor Steel West Virginia Apple Grove Site Apple Grove, Mason County, West Virginia (April 2023);
  • Nucor Steel West Virginia Addendum to Phase B Phase I Archaeological Survey Report In Response to 15 May 2023 Request for Additional Information (RAI No. 1) (June 2023);
  • Nucor Steel West Virginia Addendum to Phase B Phase I Archaeological Survey Report In Response to 19 May 2023 Request for Additional Information (RAI No. 2) (June 2023);
  • Phase B Phase II Archaeological Testing at 46MS154, 46MS156, 46MS158, 46MS171, 46MS172, 46MS405, 46MS407, 46MS410, 46MS417, 46MS418, Nucor Steel West Virginia, LLC Apple Grove Site, Mason County, WV (November 2022);
  • Addendum to Phase B Phase II Archaeological Testing at 46MS154, 46MS156, 46MS158, 46MS171, 46MS172, 46MS405, 46MS407, 46MS410, 46MS417, 46MS418, Nucor Steel West Virginia, LLC Apple Grove Site, Mason County, WV (February 2023);
  • Phase B Phase II Management Summary 46MS417 Nucor Steel West Virginia LLC Apple Grove Site, Mason County, West Virginia (May 2023); and
  • Phase B Phase II Management Summary 46MS154, 46MS156, 46MS158, 46MS171, 46MS172, 46MS405, 46MS407, 46MS410, and 46MS418 Nucor Steel West Virginia LLC Apple Grove Site, Mason County, West Virginia (June 2023);
  • Supplemental information for Sites 46MS156, 46MS171, 46MS172, and 46MS429 submitted by CEC under email dated June 16, 2023 (June 2023).

The consultant completed a survey and evaluated cemetery resources within a 0.5-mile radius for direct or indirect effects to aboveground resources within the area of potential effects (APE) for the overall project. As indicated in the April 2023 Public Notice, one (1) cemetery (46Ms421) is located within the permit area. In efforts to avoid impacts to 46Ms421, the applicant has proposed to surround 46Ms421 by a 100-foot buffer and avoid direct impacts. The April 2023 Public Notice contains additional details on the other architectural and cemetery resources identified in Phase A.

Archaeological Investigations: According to the results of the Phase B Phase I investigations, a total of 32 archaeological sites were identified. Due to mapping discrepancies, archaeological sites 46Ms358 and 46Ms170 were briefly referenced in the Phase B Phase I reporting, however, these two (2) sites were presented in detail in the Phase A reports and included in the Corps April 2023 evaluation. Please reference the April 2023 Public Notice for additional information on sites 46Ms358 and 46Ms170. Of the remaining 30 archaeological sites identified during the Phase B Phase I investigations, three (3) are isolated finds, 12 are prehistoric, 12 are historic, and three (3) are multi-component. Based on the results of the Phase B Phase I, the applicant recommended that ten (10) sites undergo Phase II evaluative testing (46Ms154, 46Ms156, 46Ms158, 46Ms171, 46Ms172, 46Ms405, 46Ms407, 46Ms410, 46Ms417, and 46Ms418).

Based on the information provided, the Corps has determined that the three (3) isolated finds (46Ms399, 46Ms444 and 46Ms452) and13 sites (46Ms153, 46Ms155, 46Ms157, 46Ms158, 46Ms172, 46Ms173, 46Ms400, 46Ms407, 46Ms414, 46Ms454, 46Ms171, 46Ms403 and 46Ms429) are not eligible for listing on the NRHP.

A total of nine (9) archaeological sites (46Ms356, 46Ms357, 46Ms363, 46Ms401, 46Ms402, 46Ms408, 46Ms410, 46Ms417, and 46Ms444) will be surrounded by various buffers, orange construction fencing, and will be avoided by all ground disturbing and staging activities. Any sites not buffered by 50-feet or more will be monitored by Secretary of the Interior (SOI) qualified archaeologist with stop work authority.

The Corps has determined the following sites identified in Phase B are eligible for listing on the NRHP:

  • site 46Ms154 under Criteria A, B, & D;
  • site 46Ms156 under Criteria A, B & D;
  • site 46Ms404 under Criterion A;
  • site 46Ms405 under Criteria A & B; and
  • site 46Ms418 under Criterion A.

As indicated above, site 46Ms154 is eligible for the NRHP under criteria A, B, and D. The applicant has proposed to surround the historic component of the site with a 50-foot buffer and to have an SOI archaeological monitor present during all ground disturbing activities. Based on the mitigative measures proposed, the Corps has determined that there would be a no adverse effect to site 46Ms154.

The Corps has determined the proposed undertaking will have an adverse effect on the following NRHP-eligible resources identified in the Phase B investigative boundary: 46Ms156, 46Ms404, 46Ms405, and 46Ms418.

Phase A and Phase B Mitigation and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): Based on the Corps’ eligibility and effect determinations, the applicant is developing a final data recovery plan and a draft MOA for the eligible sites identified in both the Phase A and Phase B.

In review of the results of the Phase A and Phase B investigations, the Corps has determined that six (6) sites (46Ms164, 46Ms156, 46Ms166, 46Ms168, 46Ms178, and 46Ms434) would require mitigation in the form of Phase III data recovery.  Reference the discussion for Phase B site 46Ms156, above, and the April 2023 Public Notice, link above, for Phase A sites 46Ms164, 46Ms166, 46Ms168, 46Ms178, and 46Ms434. The MOA will require that the applicant submit a data recovery plan for review and approval.

As indicated above, Corps has determined that sites 46Ms404 and 46Ms418 are eligible for listing on the NRHP under Criterion A and that site 46Ms405 is eligible for listing on the NRHP under Criteria A & B. Based on the nature and scope of the undertaking, the MOA will require the applicant to conduct cultural context and background research focused on the prehistoric and historic occupation of the Ohio River Valley within West Virginia. Sites demonstrating subsistence and settlement patterns of prehistoric occupation as well as those considered significant to the rural historic landscape will be examined.

PUBLIC INTEREST:  The Corps 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 proposed adverse effect to historic properties and the applicant’s proposed mitigative measures.  Should you wish to express your views on the undertaking’s effects on historic properties, provide comments on and/or objections to the proposed mitigation, or participate as a consulting party, please forward this information to our office prior to the close of the comment period for this Public Notice. 

CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD:  All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before July 20, 2023.  If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections.  Comments should be submitted electronically to Lauren Pritt by email at lauren.a.pritt@usace.army.mil.  If you do not have internet access, comments may be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the following address:

United States Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District

ATTN:  CELRH-RDS, Public Notice - LRH-2022-55-OHR

502 8th Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

Copies should only be provided through the USPS when electronic transmission is not possible.  Precautionary internal mail handling procedures may be instituted to protect our workforce, which may result in longer than normal times to process and receive hard copy submissions.  To be considered in our evaluation, comments submitted through the USPS should have a postmark dated on, or prior to, July 20, 2023.

Please note names, addresses, and comments submitted in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, may be available to the public under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.  Thank you for your interest in our nation’s water resources.  If you have any questions concerning this Public Notice, please contact Lauren Pritt of the South/Transportation Branch, at 304-399-5275, by mail at the above address, or by email at lauren.a.pritt@usace.army.mil.

If the drawings are not yet posted on this website, you may request copies of the drawings via email to Mrs. Lauren Pritt.