Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Bayou Meto Basin General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke, Prairie and Pulaski Counties, Arkansas, 24394-24396 [2014-09831]

Download as PDF 24394 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices farmer to consumer direct markets AND has a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate as determined by the Secretary. Applicants that serve schools may also be eligible. Projects that have components that benefit underserved communities will receive priority. For the purpose of this provision, projects that are physically located in an urban area are eligible for priority funding if the project provides a clear benefit to an underserved community by increasing that underserved community’s access to affordable, healthy, locally, or regionally produced foods. For example, an aggregation and distribution center that is physically located in an urban area would be eligible for priority funding if a meaningful portion of the aggregated product is made available to consumers at grocery retail establishments located within the underserved community or to food banks, schools, or other institutions serving low-income populations, thus providing a benefit to the underserved community. An aggregation and distribution center in an urban area would not be eligible for priority funding under the provision if it distributes all of its food to high-end markets. When there is a tie in priority scoring, projects that serve underserved communities will be funded over those that do not serve underserved communities. Through Fiscal Year 2018, the Agency is required to reserve not less than 5 percent of the funds available to the B&I program until April 1 of each year for entities that establish and facilitate the processing, distributing, aggregating, storing, and marketing of locally or regionally produced agricultural food products. The Agency will also continue to fund local or regionally produced agricultural food products projects after the April 1 reserve expires. Requirements for submission can be found in 7 CFR, part 4279, subpart B. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brenda Griffin, USDA, Rural Development, Business Programs, Business and Industry Division, STOP 3224, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–3224, telephone (202) 720–6802, email brenda.griffin@ wdc.usda.gov. This action has been reviewed and determined not to be a rule or regulation as defined in Executive Order 12866, as amended by Executive Order 13258. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 Dated: April 18, 2014. Andrew Jermolowicz, Acting Administrator, Rural BusinessCooperative Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09870 Filed 4–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Bayou Meto Basin General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke, Prairie and Pulaski Counties, Arkansas Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Intent To Adopt Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement; Request for Comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving notice of its intent to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) existing general reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement (GRR/EIS) for the Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas project (project). RUS is considering providing funding to the applicant, the Bayou Meto Water Management District (BMWMD), to construct a portion of the project consisting of activities that have been identified, designed and reviewed under the USACE’s existing GRR/EIS. Based on RUS’ independent evaluation, adoption of the GRR/EIS would meet the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and RUS regulations and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To fulfill our NEPA requirements and support a funding decision, we are recirculating the GRR/EIS for written public comment via this notice, in accordance with CEQ and RUS adoption guidelines. DATES: Written comments on this Notice must be received on or before May 30, 2014. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Mark S. Plank, Director, Engineering and Environmental Staff, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2242–S, Washington, DC 20250. The GRR/EIS and related documents referenced in this Notice are available at http:// www.mvm.usace.army.mil/Missions/ Projects/BayouMetoBasinProject/ Reports.aspx. To the extent practicable, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 these documents can be made available for public review in alternative formats by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION to request documents in alternative formats. RUS provides this notice under regulations implementing NEPA and invite the public to review the GRR/EIS during the 30-day comment period (see DATES). Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. RUS will endeavor to withhold personal identifying information from public review upon request, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. As provided for pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3), RUS is using this notice to comply with the requirement under 36 CFR 800.2(d) that the agency seek and consider the views of the public regarding effects to historic properties prior to making a decision on the project. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2240–S, Washington, DC 20250, Telephone: (202) 720–5093, Facsimile: (202) 690– 0649, or email: richard.fristik@ wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RUS’ proposed funding action is for activities already identified, designed and reviewed under the GRR/EIS. Adoption and recirculation for public written comment of the GRR/EIS fulfills RUS’ requirements under the CEQ (40 CFR 1506.3(b)) and Agency (7 CFR 1794.72(b)) NEPA implementing regulations. Recent CEQ guidance encourages agencies to ‘‘. . . coordinate and take appropriate advantage of existing documents and studies, including through adoption and incorporation by reference’’ as a means of improving NEPA efficiency (see ‘‘Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act’’ at http:// ceq.hss.doe.gov/current_developments/ docs/Improving_NEPA_Efficiencies_ 06Mar2012.pdf). The overall Bayou Meto project area is located in east central Arkansas and is bounded approximately on the west and south by the Arkansas River and the city of England, and on the north and east by the cities of Lonoke, Carlisle, Stuttgart and Reydell. The entire study area encompasses 864,000 acres. The E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices proposed project for which RUS funding would be provided consists of the Indian Bayou Service Area, a narrow (north to south) 94,000-acre area on the western edge of the overall Bayou Meto area. The USACE prepared the following documents to meet their federal requirements: 1. ‘‘Grand Prairie Region and Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas Project, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas General Reevaluation Report, Volume 1—Main Report & Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),’’ November 2006, Revised March 2007, (GRR/EIS). 2. ‘‘Record of Decision, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas,’’ November 2007, (ROD). 3. ‘‘Final Environmental Assessment, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas, Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,’’ July 2010, (EA). 4. ‘‘Finding of No Significant Impact, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas, Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,’’ July 2010, (FONSI). The particular authority under which the overall project is authorized and funded requires a 65 percent federal/35 percent non-federal cost share. Both the BMWMD and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) are the non-federal partners. RUS funding would comprise a portion of the nonfederal cost share for the Indian Bayou Service Area. The ANRC is the state agency with legal authority and responsibility for protection and management of Arkansas’ water resources, including groundwater. The ANRC strongly supports the implementation of projects that develop surface water resources to supplement and protect diminishing groundwater reserves. The Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas project was developed to be consistent with the Arkansas State Water Plan. The ANRC, in partnership with the BMWMD, has indicated their intent to serve as local sponsor for the project and assume the responsibilities of local cooperation. Numerous other studies have been completed that document the water supply and groundwater depletion issues (the primary problem that the project addresses), starting as far back as the late 1940’s. Continued withdrawals at the current rate will deplete the alluvial and Sparta aquifers such that they will no longer be viable sources of irrigation water, and agriculture as it is now practiced will be impossible. The project was re-authorized, and the scope expanded, in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. The general reevaluation was conducted to fully evaluate and determine the best plan of VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 improvement for flood control, agricultural water supply, and waterfowl management. Alternatives were developed and analyzed using USACE planning criteria to develop a plan consisting of measures that best meet the area’s needs. Once the plan was identified, detailed engineering and design studies were completed to the level of detail required for preparation of a baseline cost estimate and schedule for implementation. The following were identified as planning objectives: 1. Protect and preserve the alluvial aquifer. 2. Maximize the use of water conservation. 3. Provide supplemental water supply to meet the irrigation water needs of the Bayou Meto Basin. 4. Restore and enhance waterfowl habitat. 5. Restore native vegetation. 6. Maintain long-range productivity of wetlands and forests. 7. Minimize cost and maximize outputs. Relief from flooding problems in the southern portion of the project area is also an important component of this study. Significant annual flooding occurs on farmland and within the Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area (WMA), resulting in lost income and stress on forest habitat (excess water cannot drain from the WMA). Waterfowl management is also an important objective. Much of the native habitat in the Bayou Meto Basin has been cleared for agriculture, limiting available habitat for waterfowl and isolating flora and fauna in relatively small patches. Therefore, the development of a waterfowl management (WM) plan that focused on providing substantial waterfowl benefits through habitat restoration was developed. The WM plan also benefits tributary stream fisheries and aquatic organisms, and would substantially increase the amount of bottomland hardwood forest and other wildlife habitat within the region. The GRR/EIS evaluates five alternatives for meeting the identified problems and opportunities: No Action (Alternative WS1); Conservation with Storage (Alternative WS2); 1650 cubic feet per second (cfs) Import System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative WS3); 1750 (cfs) Import System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative WS4); and, 1850 (cfs) Import System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative WS5). The selected plan, which maximized National Economic Development (NED) and environmental (restoration) benefits, consisted of Water Supply (WS) Alternative 4B, Flood Control (FC) Alternative 2A, and the Waterfowl Management (WM) Plan. In addition to waterfowl, habitat benefits would accrue to a variety of other game PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24395 and non-game species through creation or enhancement of bottomland hardwood, herbaceous wetland/prairie, moist soil, and riparian buffer habitats. In order to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) and its implementing regulations, ‘‘Protection of Historic Properties’’ (36 CFR part 800), the USACE, acting as the lead agency for Section 106 review, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Arkansas State Historic Preservation Officer executed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) on January 13, 2009. That PA, which is titled, ‘‘Programmatic Agreement Among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Arkansas State Historic Preservation Officer, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, Osage Nation of Oklahoma, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, AlabamaQuassarte Tribal Town, Other Signatory and Concurring Tribes, Bayou Meto Water Management District, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Regarding Implementation of the Bayou Meto Basin Arkansas Project Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act and Other Authorities,’’ establishes the level of effort needed for the identification and treatment of affected historic properties. Since execution of the PA in 2009, the USACE has conducted several archeological studies of the area of potential effects. RUS, which has designated the USACE as the lead agency pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(a)(2), will review the studies completed to date under the terms of the 2009 PA to determine how to proceed most appropriately to conclude Section 106 review. The proposed RUS decision to provide funding for the Indian Bayou Service Area portion of the Bayou Meto Basin project is a federal action subject to NEPA and related federal statutes. After an independent review, RUS finds that the GRR/EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) sufficiently addresses reasonable alternatives and the potential environmental effects of the activities proposed to be funded by RUS. The GRR/EIS meets the requirements of USDA and RUS NEPA procedures and guidance, and would be appropriate for adoption. E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 24396 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices RUS may receive additional requests for financial assistance for similar portions of the Bayou Meto Basin project. If additional requests are received it is the intent of the agency to issue additional Records of Decision without additional notices to adopt the USACE’s GRR/EIS. Based on the information summarized in this notice, RUS intends to adopt the USACE’s final GRR/EIS to enable Agency NEPA compliance for the proposed Federal funding decision. After the close of the comment period, RUS anticipates the preparation and issuance of our Record of Decision to occur in May/June 2014. As required, RUS will conclude review under 36 CFR part 800 prior to the issuance of the Record of Decision. Dated: April 8, 2014. Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk, Assistant Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09831 Filed 4–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Lonoke, Monroe and Prairie Counties, AR Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of intent to adopt reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture is giving notice of its intent to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) existing general reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement (GRR/EIS) for the Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, Arkansas (project). RUS is considering providing funding to the applicant, the White River Regional Irrigation Water Distribution District (WRID) to construct a portion of the project consisting of activities that have been identified, designed and reviewed under the Corps’ existing GRR/EIS. Based on independent RUS evaluation, adoption of the GRR/EIS would meet the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and RUS regulations and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 fulfill RUS’s NEPA requirements and support a funding decision, we are recirculating the GRR/EIS for written public comment via this notice, in accordance with CEQ and RUS adoption guidelines. DATES: Written comments on this Notice must be received on or before May 30, 2014. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Mark Plank, Director, Engineering and Environmental Staff, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2242–S, Washington, DC 20250. The GRR/EIS and related documents referenced in this notice are available at http:// www.mvm.usace.army.mil/Missions/ Projects/ GrandPrairieAreaDemonstrationProject/ Maps,ReportsStudies/ GeneralReevaluationReport.aspx. To the extent practicable, these documents can be made available for public review in alternative formats by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT to request documents in alternative formats. We provide this notice under regulations implementing NEPA and invite the public to review the GRR/EIS during the 30-day comment period (see DATES). Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. RUS will endeavor to withhold personal identifying information from public review upon request, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. As provided for pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3), RUS is using this notice to comply with the requirement under 36 CFR 800.2(d) that the agency seek and consider the views of the public regarding effects to historic properties prior to making a decision on the project. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2240–S, Washington, DC 20250, Telephone: (202) 720–5093, Facsimile: (202) 690– 0649, or email richard.fristik@ wdc.usda.gov. RUS’ proposed funding action is for activities already identified, designed and reviewed under the GRR/EIS. Adoption and recirculation for public written comment of the GRR/EIS fulfills RUS’ requirements under CEQ (40 CFR SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1506.3(b)) and Agency (7 CFR 1794.72(b)) NEPA implementing regulations. Recent CEQ guidance encourages agencies to ‘‘. . . coordinate and take appropriate advantage of existing documents and studies, including through adoption and incorporation by reference’’ as a means of improving NEPA efficiency (see ‘‘Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act’’ at http:// ceq.hss.doe.gov/current_developments/ docs/Improving_NEPA_Efficiencies_ 06Mar2012.pdf). The overall Grand Prairie project area is located about 40 miles east of Little Rock and is generally outlined by the White River to the east, Bayou Meto to the west, Interstate 40 to the north and Highway 165 to the south. The area encompasses the towns of DeValls Bluff, Hazen, Carlisle, Stuttgart, Ulm and DeWitt; the entire study area is about 15 miles east to west and 50 miles north to south, or approximately 362,600 acres. Historically, the Grand Prairie was the largest (nearly 500,000 acres) of several discontinuous prairies that occupied Arkansas and Louisiana. Due to cultivation only about .01 percent of this prairie remains today. The proposed project for which RUS funding would be provided consists of an electrical substation to provide power to the pump station at the White River, portions of the secondary water delivery system to serve approximately 20 farms over 10,000 acres, and establishment of prairie vegetation and waterfowl habitat. The USACE prepared the following documents to meet their federal requirements: • ‘‘Eastern Arkansas Region Comprehensive Study, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, General Reevaluation Report, Volume 1—Main Report & Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),’’ September 1999 (GRR/ EIS). • ‘‘Record of Decision, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project,’’ Arkansas, February 2000, (ROD). • ‘‘Final Environmental Assessment, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, Arkansas, Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,’’ July 2004, (EA1). • ‘‘Finding of No Significant Impact, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, Arkansas, Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,’’ July 2010, (FONSI1). • ‘‘Environmental Assessment, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, Canal Realignment and Pumping Station Borrow Area, Prairie County, Arkansas,’’ September 2010, (EA2). E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 83 (Wednesday, April 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24394-24396]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09831]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers' Bayou Meto Basin General Reevaluation Report 
and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke, 
Prairie and Pulaski Counties, Arkansas

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Intent To Adopt Reevaluation Report and Final 
Environmental Impact Statement; Request for Comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving notice of its intent 
to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) existing general 
reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement (GRR/EIS) 
for the Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas project (project). RUS is 
considering providing funding to the applicant, the Bayou Meto Water 
Management District (BMWMD), to construct a portion of the project 
consisting of activities that have been identified, designed and 
reviewed under the USACE's existing GRR/EIS. Based on RUS' independent 
evaluation, adoption of the GRR/EIS would meet the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) and RUS regulations and guidance for 
implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To fulfill 
our NEPA requirements and support a funding decision, we are 
recirculating the GRR/EIS for written public comment via this notice, 
in accordance with CEQ and RUS adoption guidelines.

DATES: Written comments on this Notice must be received on or before 
May 30, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Mark S. Plank, Director, 
Engineering and Environmental Staff, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 
Independence Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2242-S, Washington, DC 20250. 
The GRR/EIS and related documents referenced in this Notice are 
available at http://www.mvm.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/BayouMetoBasinProject/Reports.aspx. To the extent practicable, these 
documents can be made available for public review in alternative 
formats by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION to request documents in alternative formats. RUS provides 
this notice under regulations implementing NEPA and invite the public 
to review the GRR/EIS during the 30-day comment period (see DATES). 
Before including your address, phone number, email address or other 
personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that 
your entire comment--including personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. RUS will endeavor to withhold 
personal identifying information from public review upon request, but 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    As provided for pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3), RUS is using this 
notice to comply with the requirement under 36 CFR 800.2(d) that the 
agency seek and consider the views of the public regarding effects to 
historic properties prior to making a decision on the project.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental 
Protection Specialist, USDA Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence 
Ave. SW., Stop 1571, Room 2240-S, Washington, DC 20250, Telephone: 
(202) 720-5093, Facsimile: (202) 690-0649, or email: 
richard.fristik@wdc.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RUS' proposed funding action is for 
activities already identified, designed and reviewed under the GRR/EIS. 
Adoption and recirculation for public written comment of the GRR/EIS 
fulfills RUS' requirements under the CEQ (40 CFR 1506.3(b)) and Agency 
(7 CFR 1794.72(b)) NEPA implementing regulations. Recent CEQ guidance 
encourages agencies to ``. . . coordinate and take appropriate 
advantage of existing documents and studies, including through adoption 
and incorporation by reference'' as a means of improving NEPA 
efficiency (see ``Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and 
Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy 
Act'' at http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/current_developments/docs/Improving_NEPA_Efficiencies_06Mar2012.pdf).
    The overall Bayou Meto project area is located in east central 
Arkansas and is bounded approximately on the west and south by the 
Arkansas River and the city of England, and on the north and east by 
the cities of Lonoke, Carlisle, Stuttgart and Reydell. The entire study 
area encompasses 864,000 acres. The

[[Page 24395]]

proposed project for which RUS funding would be provided consists of 
the Indian Bayou Service Area, a narrow (north to south) 94,000-acre 
area on the western edge of the overall Bayou Meto area.
    The USACE prepared the following documents to meet their federal 
requirements:
    1. ``Grand Prairie Region and Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas Project, 
Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas General Reevaluation Report, Volume 1--Main 
Report & Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),'' November 2006, 
Revised March 2007, (GRR/EIS).
    2. ``Record of Decision, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas,'' November 
2007, (ROD).
    3. ``Final Environmental Assessment, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas, 
Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,'' July 2010, (EA).
    4. ``Finding of No Significant Impact, Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas, 
Post General Reevaluation Design Changes,'' July 2010, (FONSI).
    The particular authority under which the overall project is 
authorized and funded requires a 65 percent federal/35 percent non-
federal cost share. Both the BMWMD and the Arkansas Natural Resources 
Commission (ANRC) are the non-federal partners. RUS funding would 
comprise a portion of the non-federal cost share for the Indian Bayou 
Service Area. The ANRC is the state agency with legal authority and 
responsibility for protection and management of Arkansas' water 
resources, including groundwater. The ANRC strongly supports the 
implementation of projects that develop surface water resources to 
supplement and protect diminishing groundwater reserves. The Bayou Meto 
Basin, Arkansas project was developed to be consistent with the 
Arkansas State Water Plan. The ANRC, in partnership with the BMWMD, has 
indicated their intent to serve as local sponsor for the project and 
assume the responsibilities of local cooperation.
    Numerous other studies have been completed that document the water 
supply and groundwater depletion issues (the primary problem that the 
project addresses), starting as far back as the late 1940's. Continued 
withdrawals at the current rate will deplete the alluvial and Sparta 
aquifers such that they will no longer be viable sources of irrigation 
water, and agriculture as it is now practiced will be impossible. The 
project was re-authorized, and the scope expanded, in the Water 
Resources Development Act of 1996. The general reevaluation was 
conducted to fully evaluate and determine the best plan of improvement 
for flood control, agricultural water supply, and waterfowl management. 
Alternatives were developed and analyzed using USACE planning criteria 
to develop a plan consisting of measures that best meet the area's 
needs. Once the plan was identified, detailed engineering and design 
studies were completed to the level of detail required for preparation 
of a baseline cost estimate and schedule for implementation.
    The following were identified as planning objectives:

    1. Protect and preserve the alluvial aquifer.
    2. Maximize the use of water conservation.
    3. Provide supplemental water supply to meet the irrigation 
water needs of the
    Bayou Meto Basin.
    4. Restore and enhance waterfowl habitat.
    5. Restore native vegetation.
    6. Maintain long-range productivity of wetlands and forests.
    7. Minimize cost and maximize outputs.

    Relief from flooding problems in the southern portion of the 
project area is also an important component of this study. Significant 
annual flooding occurs on farmland and within the Bayou Meto Wildlife 
Management Area (WMA), resulting in lost income and stress on forest 
habitat (excess water cannot drain from the WMA). Waterfowl management 
is also an important objective. Much of the native habitat in the Bayou 
Meto Basin has been cleared for agriculture, limiting available habitat 
for waterfowl and isolating flora and fauna in relatively small 
patches.
    Therefore, the development of a waterfowl management (WM) plan that 
focused on providing substantial waterfowl benefits through habitat 
restoration was developed. The WM plan also benefits tributary stream 
fisheries and aquatic organisms, and would substantially increase the 
amount of bottomland hardwood forest and other wildlife habitat within 
the region.
    The GRR/EIS evaluates five alternatives for meeting the identified 
problems and opportunities: No Action (Alternative WS1); Conservation 
with Storage (Alternative WS2); 1650 cubic feet per second (cfs) Import 
System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative WS3); 1750 (cfs) 
Import System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative WS4); and, 
1850 (cfs) Import System Plus Conservation and Storage (Alternative 
WS5). The selected plan, which maximized National Economic Development 
(NED) and environmental (restoration) benefits, consisted of Water 
Supply (WS) Alternative 4B, Flood Control (FC) Alternative 2A, and the 
Waterfowl Management (WM) Plan. In addition to waterfowl, habitat 
benefits would accrue to a variety of other game and non-game species 
through creation or enhancement of bottomland hardwood, herbaceous 
wetland/prairie, moist soil, and riparian buffer habitats.
    In order to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) and its implementing regulations, 
``Protection of Historic Properties'' (36 CFR part 800), the USACE, 
acting as the lead agency for Section 106 review, the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 
and the Arkansas State Historic Preservation Officer executed a 
Programmatic Agreement (PA) on January 13, 2009. That PA, which is 
titled, ``Programmatic Agreement Among the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, Memphis District, the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service, the Arkansas State Historic Preservation Officer, Quapaw Tribe 
of Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Mississippi Band of Choctaw 
Indians, Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, Osage Nation of Oklahoma, United 
Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Thlopthlocco Tribal 
Town, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Other Signatory and Concurring 
Tribes, Bayou Meto Water Management District, the Arkansas Natural 
Resources Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 
Regarding Implementation of the Bayou Meto Basin Arkansas Project 
Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act and Other 
Authorities,'' establishes the level of effort needed for the 
identification and treatment of affected historic properties.
    Since execution of the PA in 2009, the USACE has conducted several 
archeological studies of the area of potential effects. RUS, which has 
designated the USACE as the lead agency pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(a)(2), 
will review the studies completed to date under the terms of the 2009 
PA to determine how to proceed most appropriately to conclude Section 
106 review.
    The proposed RUS decision to provide funding for the Indian Bayou 
Service Area portion of the Bayou Meto Basin project is a federal 
action subject to NEPA and related federal statutes. After an 
independent review, RUS finds that the GRR/EIS and Record of Decision 
(ROD) sufficiently addresses reasonable alternatives and the potential 
environmental effects of the activities proposed to be funded by RUS. 
The GRR/EIS meets the requirements of USDA and RUS NEPA procedures and 
guidance, and would be appropriate for adoption.

[[Page 24396]]

    RUS may receive additional requests for financial assistance for 
similar portions of the Bayou Meto Basin project. If additional 
requests are received it is the intent of the agency to issue 
additional Records of Decision without additional notices to adopt the 
USACE's GRR/EIS.
    Based on the information summarized in this notice, RUS intends to 
adopt the USACE's final GRR/EIS to enable Agency NEPA compliance for 
the proposed Federal funding decision. After the close of the comment 
period, RUS anticipates the preparation and issuance of our Record of 
Decision to occur in May/June 2014. As required, RUS will conclude 
review under 36 CFR part 800 prior to the issuance of the Record of 
Decision.

    Dated: April 8, 2014.
Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk,
Assistant Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-09831 Filed 4-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P