CDBG – Broadband EA First Floodplain-Wetland Notice

Early Notice and Public Review of a Proposed Activity in a 100-Year Floodplain and Adjacent Wetland Areas

To:  All interested Agencies, Groups and Individuals

This is to give notice that Redwood County, Minnesota has determined that the Broadband Development Project, under DEED’s Community Development Block Grant program and CARE-21-0001-0-FY21 is located in the 100-year floodplain and adjacent to identified wetland areas. The county will be identifying and evaluating practicable alternatives to locating the action in the floodplain and wetland resources from the proposed action, as required by Executive Order 11988 and in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR 55.20 Subpart C Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands.

The Proposed Activity would expand Redwood County broadband services through the City of Sanborn and much of Charlestown Township, particularly within presently underserved or unserved areas. The Proposed Activity seeks to address the need for improved broadband connectivity for residents by improving and expanding the existing infrastructure and installing last mile components on properties within the project area. Underground broadband fiber lines would be installed by either temporarily excavating (via vibratory plow) or through directional bore methods within previously disturbed right of way, adjacent land next to roadways, and residential yards. Directional boring is anticipated as the primary installation method. Typical depths are between 3-4 feet below ground surface. Plowing activities will occur primarily in previously disturbed rights of way and may be situated in some undisturbed areas; this may require restoration and/or repair of disturbed ground, utility connections, and other natural or manufactured features. The grant funding would provide these connections to residential properties. Any non-residential locations would be encouraged to connect to these broadband services through the internet service provider, and these locations—as well as any middle mile or distribution fiber used solely for these locations—would be fully funded by the internet service provider and would not utilize grant funding.

The project area includes FEMA FIRM Panels #27127C0660C and #27127C0680C. As shown in the attached “Surface Waters & Flood Zones” and “Wetlands” figures, while 100-year floodplains and wetland resources are located within the project area, the locations where broadband lines will be installed within existing roadway rights-of-way and residential yards are primarily outside of these resources. Exceptions to this are portions of the project area that cross Dutch Charley Creek, Coal Mine Creek, and minor tributaries of the Cottonwood River. However, since project activities are primarily constrained to previously disturbed contexts within rights-of-way, significant impacts to floodplains and wetland resources are not anticipated.

There are three primary purposes for this notice. First, people who may be affected by activities in floodplains and those who have an interest in the protection of the natural environment should be given an opportunity to express their concerns and provide information about these areas. Commenters are encouraged to offer alternative sites outside of the floodplain, 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 floodplains 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, it must inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk.

Written comments must be received by Redwood County at [email protected] or mailed to the following address on or before Saturday, May 13 2023:

Redwood County
Attention: Briana Mumme
Redwood County Economic Development Coordinator
403 South Mill Street
Redwood Falls, MN 56283

A full description of the project will be made available upon request.

Date of Notice (Redwood Falls Gazette & County Website): April 21, 2023

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