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West Neebish Island Rock Cut, Town of Barbeau, Chippewa County, Michigan Section 106 of National Historic Preservation Act Public Notice

Posted: 4/16/2015

Expiration date: 5/18/2015


TO ALL INTERESTED AGENCIES, PUBLIC GROUPS, AND CITIZENS

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District (USACE) is proposing to make alterations to the West Neebish Island Rock Cut (Rock Cut), Chippewa County, Michigan, which has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by the USACE and the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (MI SHPO).  This notice is provided as required by 36 CFR 800.2 d (2)-Protection of Historic Properties and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  A document describing the proposed project can be obtained for review online at the link below or a paper copy can be provided upon request:

http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental Services/EnvironmentalPublicNotices.aspx

The Rock Cut walls are failing due to the freeze/thaw cycle of the St. Mary’s River and due to erosion. The failing walls present a threat to commercial navigation through the Rock Cut.  The USACE has rebuilt the Rock Cut walls twice and attempted multiple maintenance repairs without success. In 1999, to ensure the safety of future navigation through the Rock Cut, the USACE considered the following alternatives: 1) A sloped rip rap wall from +7 Low Water Datum (LWD) to -4 LWD or bed rock, 2) Grouting of the existing ashlar wall, 3) Replacement of the missing stone with 10 to 18-ton quarry stone, 4) Rock fall netting, and 5) No Action.  Alternative 1 was selected for implementation; however due to funding constraints the alternative was not implemented until 2014.

Implementation of Alternative 1 on the mainland side of the Rock Cut commenced without completing the Section 106 process with MI SHPO in 2014. During construction activities, the USACE determined that the implementation of Alternative 1 was having and would continue to have an “adverse effect” on the Rock Cut per Section 106 of the NHPA. The USACE ceased work and initiated consultation with both MI SHPO and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in November 2014. The result of that consultation was that the USACE and the MI SHPO have agreed to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding mitigation of the “adverse effect” on the Rock Cut, with ACHP providing oversight and recommendations during the development of the MOA.  Part of the development of the MOA is to seek public input on what has already occurred and what will occur as a result of the completion of implementation of Alternative 1 on the balance of the Rock Cut walls.

Comments on the proposed project must be made before the close of the public review period, which is 30 days from the date of this notice; otherwise it will be assumed you have no comment.  Please direct your comments to Mr. Curtis Sedlacek at Department of the Army, Detroit District, Corps of Engineers, Planning Office, Environmental Analysis Branch, 477 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226-2550.  All comments received will be considered by the USACE. The USACE, through consultation with the MI SHPO and ACHP, will make a final determination on what mitigation will allow for the historic preservation of the Rock Cut while allowing for the USACE’s continued implementation of the selected maintenance repair alternative.