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Final Public Notice

Harrison County Rural Electric Cooperative has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding through Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSMED) as a sub- recipient.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal actions must be reviewed and evaluated for feasible alternatives and for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Under Executive Order (EO) 11988 and EO 11990, FEMA is required to consider alternatives, and to provide a public notice of any proposed actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands. EO 12898 also requires FEMA to provide the opportunity for public participation in the planning process and to consider potential impacts to minority and low-income populations. This notice may also fulfill requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

Funding for the proposed project will be conditional upon compliance with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws, regulations, floodplain standards, permit requirements and conditions.

Sub-Applicant: Harrison County Rural Electric Cooperative

Project Title: IA-DR-4557-HMGP-54; Harrison County REC 2021 Electrical Retrofit

Location of Proposed Work:

Special Flood Hazard Area Zone:

The project sites are located within a mixture of unmapped, unshaded Zone X, areas of minimal flood hazard outside the SFHA, and Zone A, areas of 1% annual chance flooding. There is a potential for the facility to be impacted by future flooding events due to portions being located within the floodplain. The proposed work does take place in wetlands and non-wetlands per the United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory; however, it will have little potential to impactor affect wetland values with the minimization methods applied.

Proposed Work and Purpose:

Harrison County Rural Electric Cooperative plans to mitigate 24.8 miles of existing three-phase and 12 miles of single-phase overhead lines by utilizing stronger conductors, shorter pole spans, and higher-class poles to meet the NESC Class B strength requirements. The upgraded powerlines and poles will reduce risk of damage from wind and ice during winter storms. Additional minimization methods applied to this project require construction activities and equipment staging to avoid wetlands and to use best management practices to prevent erosion and sedimentation to the wetlands. As such, the useful life of this utility should increase, and no adverse impacts to the floodplain or wetlands should occur.

Project Alternatives:

Alternative #1 (No action): The 'no action' alternative would result in recurring damages to the powerlines due to severe winter storms. By building back stronger, the public is less likely to lose power in the future.

Alternative #2 (Installing underground cables): While it is an accepted method of protecting against winter storms, the lifespan of underground cables is normally shorter than that of overhead cable lines. Additionally, it is much more expensive to bury the lines.

Comment Period:

Comments are solicited from the public; local, state or federal agencies, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed project. The comments should be made in writing and addressed to the following email: Please send comments with the subject line DR-4557-HMGP-54 11988 COMMENT].

All comments are due by no later than 15 days of the posted date of this notice.

POSTED ON: March 24, 2023

End of Notice

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