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Public Notice: Broadband

Early Notice and Public Review of a Proposed Activity in a 100-Year Floodplain and Wetlands

Texas General Land Office

Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT)

DETCOG LMI Broadband Telecommunications Infrastructure Project

 

To:  All interested Agencies, Groups and Individuals

 

This is to give notice that Texas General Land Office (GLO), on behalf of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments(DETCOG) has determined that the following proposed action under the 2016 Floods and Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition is located in the 100-year floodplain and within approximately 6.54 acres of wetlands, and GLO will be identifying and evaluating practicable alternatives to locating the action in the floodplain and wetlands and the potential impacts on the floodplain and wetlands from the proposed action, as required by Executive Order 11988 and 11990, in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR 55.20 Subpart C Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands.  

 

The project will involve the installation of approximately 84 miles (135 km) of new fiber-optic cable line within public road rights-of-way. All activities will be limited to disturbed, cleared and maintained roadway shoulders associated with established and maintained public rights-of-way (ROW). There will be a construction buffer from the edge of the roadway to the ROW easement that averages 30 feet in width. The cable will be installed using a small backhoe in a 6-inch (15-centimeter [cm]) wide by 36-inch (91-cm) deep continuous trench, except at tower connections or at roadway crossings where horizontal boring will be conducted to cross underneath it. The bore dimensions will be the same width and depths as those used for the trench, except at their originating and exiting handhole/borepits, which will typically involve 4-foot square (1.5 meters [m]2) by 6-foot (2-m) deep holes for equipment. Any equipmentstaging areas will be confined to the cleared ROW with no ground disturbance required, and the ground surface at all trenches and bores will be returned to their original levels upon completion. Staging areas will not occur in or around wetlands. Prior to construction, engineering must identify where bore pits will occur and where open trenching will occur and update the EA accordingly. The project will benefit 6,710 people, 52.76% (3,450) of whom are low to moderate-income. The project is not considered a critical action. The purpose of the project is to ensure that these critical rural areas are made more resilient and can (1) reliably function during and after future disasters; (2) reduce the risk of loss of life, injury, and property damage; and (3) accelerate recovery following a disaster.

 

The project will occur within existing facilities and rights-of-way, and there will not be a significant increase in impervious surfaces throughout the project. The floodplain provides drainage for surrounding areas as well as the opportunity for natural wetlands and habitats to thrive. Maintaining the floodplain is an invaluable service to the community. Natural benefits of the floodplain and wetland will not be significantly impacted. FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map, Community Panels22011C0325F effective on 1/5/2018, 22115C0200E and 22115C0375E effective on 5/23/2016, 48241C0275D,48241C0475D, and 48241C0375D effective on 12/17/2012, and 48351C0100D, 48351C0175D, 48351C0200D, 48351C0250D,48351C0275D, 48351C0325D, 48351C0350D, 48351C0425D, 48351C0450D, 48351C0310D, and 48351C0330D effective on 11/16/2018, show 25.72 acres of the project are within the 100-year floodplain. The project crossesapproximately 3,305.895 ft of NHD streams, approximately 0.133 acres of NHD waterbodies, and approximately 6.54 acres of NWI wetlands (approximately 0.05 acres of Freshwater Emergent wetlands (PEM), 5.19 acres of Freshwater Forested/Shrub wetlands (PFO), 0.24 acres of Freshwater Pond (PUB), and 1.06 acres of Riverine). The project is not a critical action. The proposed project is located throughout Newton County along various county roads: 39,753 ft of County Road (CR) 63 extends west from Farrsville to Wiergate, from Wiergate south on FM 1012 for 25,369 ft to Jamestown where it splits off south to CR 1020 for 3,802 ft into CR 1022 for 19,441ft into Jasper TX. In Jasper, CR 1022 joins with Hwy 190 which extends 94,288 ft southeast to Newton, where it continues in twodifferent directions. The first veers south on State Highway 87for 87,095 total ft, then east into various streets in downtown Newton: northeast 2,012 ft on High St, 613 ft south on East St, 457 ft west on Main St, 1,074 ft south between Houston St and East St, 575 ft south between Weiss St and Easy St, and 94,288ft southeast on Hwy 190 into Bon Wier, where it verges south 6,178 ft on CR 1416. Hwy 190 intersects CR 2626, which extends 35,515 ft long and verges 17,936 ft west into CR 363 to the southwest. The second direction the project continues is northeast from East St in downtown Newton: 9,418 ft along E Court St, where it rejoins State Highway 87, which continues northeast and splits off 1,023 ft east on CR 2092 and 27,911total ft east on CR 1414. State Highway 87 rejoins CR 63 in Burkeville, continuing northeast and verging northwest for 9,404 ft on CR 2107, then northeast for 52,149 ft on FM 692.

 

There are three primary purposes for this notice.  First, people who may be affected by activities in floodplains and wetlandsand those who have an interest in the protection of the natural environment should be given an opportunity to express theirconcerns and provide information about these areas. Commenters are encouraged to offer alternative sites outside of the floodplain and wetlands, alternative methods to serve the same project purpose, and methods to minimize and mitigate impacts.  Second, an adequate public notice program can be an important public educational tool. The dissemination of information and request for public comment about floodplainsand wetlands can facilitate and enhance Federal efforts to reduce the risks and impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of these special areas. Third, as a matter of fairness, when the Federal government determines it will participate in actions taking place in floodplains and wetlands, it must inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk.

 

Written comments must be received by GLO at the following address on or before 1/4/2024, Attention: Mr. David Camarena at GLO via P.O Box 12873, Austin, Texas 78711-2873. Comments may also be submitted via email at env.reviews@recovery.texas.gov.

 

Date: 12/20/2023

 

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