06.19.13 Memo: Bill Sande USACOE Re: Penokee Hills Wetlands Report

Operations - Regulatory (2010-05299-WMS)


DATE: June 19, 2013

SUBJECT:  Gogebic Taconite, LLC

1.  I conducted a site visit on June 19, 2013, to review the location and extent of numerous wetlands and waterways relative to proposed exploration drilling sites, bulk sampling locations, and associated access roads.  Also present was Tim Smith, Ann Nye (OP-R), Keith Patrick (WDNR) Tim Myers (GTAC) and Ann Michalski (Consultant).  Draft mapping materials were made available for our use during our field review but were retained by the company.  

2.  The majority of the wetland areas identified were limited to the footprint of old forest roads that were essentially flat spots cut into significant hill slopes. The source of hydrology is primarily surface water runoff from perpendicular drainages that collects long enough or often enough in the road bed to support hydrophytic vegetation and develop hydric soil indicators. Other wetland areas were clearly located within depressional areas in the landscape that collected surface water drainage with no apparent outflow.  Primary indicators (A2, A3) and secondary indicators (B10, D2, D5) of hydrology and hydric soil indicators (F6, F8) was observed in most of the wetland areas evaluated at the time of the site visit. Hydric soil indicators were not present in several areas that exhibited hyrophytic vegetation due to minor changes in geomorphic position that allowed water to run-off rather than collect, thereby resulting in a shorter hydroperiod. Since the forest roads have been in place for many years, they would be considered the “normal circumstance”.

3.  Numerous waterways and other geographic features were observed and briefly evaluated by following up-slope and down-slope from the forest road crossings. For jurisdictional determination purposes, some of the waterways would likely be considered RPWs, while some others would be considered non-RPWs. Other geographic features such as ditches, gullies and evidence of overland flow were also observed in numerous areas. Much additional information would need to be obtained to complete jurisdictional determinations.  

4. It is anticipated that wetland delineation work by the company and their consultant would be completed in the near future.  However, it is not clear at this time whether GTAC will request Corps concurrence with a wetland delineation report or whether any wetland areas area proposed to be impacted by filling, excavating, or grading activities.  

Bill Sande

Project Manager

Hayward Field Office