Public Notice Information
Water: 401 Certification
US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha Division
42.747958 / -98.057161

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401 Water Quality Certification
May 10, 2024
June 10, 2024

Legal Notice Below


Public Notice is given in accordance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Par. 1251 et seq.), certification that Title 117 – Nebraska Surface Water Quality Standards (Nebraska Administrative Code) will not be violated, has been applied for to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) by the persons listed below for discharges requiring Federal permits or licenses.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Omaha District, requested a Section 401 certification from the NDEE. The USACE is the certifying authority for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and as the project proponent is the USACE, a Section 404 permit application is not needed. The proposed project does require state Water Quality Certification in accordance with Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401(a)(1), which states that:

(1) Any applicant for a Federal license or permit to conduct any activity including, but not limited to, the construction or operation of facilities, which may result in any discharge into the navigable waters, shall provide the licensing or permitting agency a certification from the State in which the discharge originates or will originate, or, if appropriate, from the interstate water pollution control agency having jurisdiction over the navigable waters at the point where the discharge originates or will originate, that any such discharge will comply with the applicable provisions of sections 301, 302, 303, 306, and 307 of this title.

The proposed project would place a 12-foot-long bedload collector in the Niobrara River, a tributary to Lewis and Clark Lake approximately 1-1.25 miles west of the village of Niobrara along highway 12, to collect and analyze the efficiency of bedload collection. A series of pumps and pipes will be used to deliver the collected material to separators to separate sediment from water. This pilot study will run for approximately one week. Up to 2 tons of sediment/hour could be collected and separated, for an approximate total of 100 tons (78 cubic yards) collected throughout the pilot. The material removed during the pilot is proposed to be hauled off site to an upland location to be used by local residents and roads departments.

The project will involve a minor amount of incidental discharge of sediment from the Niobrara River during the placement/removal of the bedload collector and during the running of the pilot study. The material collected during the study will be discharged in geotubes adjacent to the bank of the Missouri River. The return water will flow back into the Missouri River.

To be most effective, the bedload collector needs to be placed in a portion of the channel with considerable streamflow. Two potential project locations have been identified near the HWY 12 bridge that may meet the needs of the project. Due to unknown river conditions over the summer, the USACE will determine which site is most suitable in the weeks leading up to the installation. They will choose from a site along the west bank of the Niobrara, immediately upstream of the bridge, or a site along the east side of the Niobrara, immediately downstream of the bridge. Installation and removal of the bedload collector will be less than 1 acre on either site. The USACE will utilize structures already in place to move equipment and reduce impacts.

The project from set up to take down will be approximately 2 weeks and is planned to occur sometime between late July and September. Timing is dependent on weather conditions, availability of equipment, and obtaining all necessary permits and permissions.

The proposed certification and supporting materials are available for inspection at the office of NDEE, 245 Fallbrook Blvd, STE 100, Lincoln, Nebraska. Persons may comment upon or object to the application, by submitting written comments within 30 days after this publication date of this notice. Comments should be limited to the scope of state Water Quality Certification (WQC) under Section 401 of the CWA. During this period, persons may request a public hearing. A request for a hearing must state the nature of the issues to be raised and all arguments and actual grounds supporting such position. Such comments shall be considered prior to making a final decision regarding the request. Any comments or requests should be submitted to:

CWA Section 401 Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
245 Fallbrook Blvd, Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68521


Please notify NDEE in advance if alternate formats of documents are needed. Our switchboard phone number is 402-471-2186. TDD users please call 711 and ask the relay operator to call us at 402-471-2186.