US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website

Public Notice: Fountain City Service Base Sustainment Modernization project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published April 21, 2021
Expiration date: 5/21/2021

1. Project Proponent.  St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, 180 Fifth Street East, Suite 700, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1678.

2. Project Authority.  Congress first authorized the Corps of Engineers to maintain navigation on the Mississippi River through removing sandbars, snags and other obstacles via the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) of 1824. A later revision to the RHA (1930), authorized the Corps to maintain a 9-foot navigable channel on the Mississippi River through the use of locks and dams. The Fountain City Service Base (FCSB) is part of the 9-foot Navigation Channel Project on the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) and therefore, authorized under the RHA. 

3. Project Location.  Th project area is within Pool 5A of the Upper Mississippi River, just outside of the 9-foot navigation channel, on the Wisconsin side of the river, just north of Fountain City, Wisconsin at River Mile 733.5. The Project Area and FCSB is located on a 3.6-acre tract of land between the Mississippi River and Wisconsin Highway 35. The entirety of the service base is developed land and does not contain any turfed areas. The FCSB is located on the south end of Fountain City Bay, which is made up of many backwater channels and lakes. The FCSB is entirely within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The immediate Project Area is within Buffalo County, Wisconsin.

4. Summary of the Proposed Project.  The FCSB harbor serves as the mooring point for the Corps’ fleet during months when the river closes due to ice. Work performed today at the site includes maintenance and repair on barges and floating plant equipment, as well as custom metal fabrications for a wide range of district projects. The site is the home base for the heavy equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers and excavators, used to maintain the District’s Locks and Dams and floating plant. Many of the capabilities at the base, including shore power, crane operations, mooring features, storm drainage and safety features are out of date and are in need of renovating.

The FCSB Sustainment Modernization Project would involve updating certain features at the facility so that general work around the boat yard is more easily accomplished. The updates under the Proposed Alternative would straighten the shoreline of the base, increasing mooring capabilities along the service base, increase the number of crane platforms, provide necessary shoreline power, improve the loading ramp, eliminate erosion on the southern end, raise the southern elevation to eliminate slope, and provide new mooring dolphins on the west side of the bay. For contracting purposes, the Proposed Alternative is anticipated to be implemented in two phases, the first being removal and replacement of the mooring dolphin on the west side of Fountain City Bay, and the second being the other updates to the FCSB. Due to the size of the work on the service base, this work is broken up into two construction options, meaning that construction would be broken up between the southern and northern sections. Work on the Southern side of the base (anything south of the existing crane cell) would be completed prior to work on the north side of the base.

5. Coordination.

a. General.  A Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact were prepared and coordinated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. By way of this public review process, the proposed action is being coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and other federal, state, and local agencies. 

b. State.  State permitting agencies have had the opportunity to review and comment on the project prior to the establishment and implementation of the project through an agency review. State agencies would be given another opportunity to review the project during the EA public review process.

6. Summary of Environmental Impacts. The Proposed Alternative (sustainment modernization) would result in a minor long-term benefit to commercial navigation. The Proposed Alternative would result in temporary minor adverse effects on noise, aesthetic values, recreational opportunities, air quality, surface water quality, and a minor adverse effect towards biological productivity and aquatic habitat. The project would have no adverse impacts on cultural resources or Federally threatened and endangered species.

7. Report.  The Draft Environmental Assessment that describes the project and the environmental impacts in detail is available to the public and can be viewed at: https://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/Public-Notices/.

8. Review and Comment.  Any comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment should be provided before the expiration date of this notice. Persons submitting comments are advised that all comments received will be available for public review, to include the possibility of posting on a public website. Questions on the project or the Environmental Assessment should be directed to Trevor Cyphers at (651) 290-5031. Please address all correspondence on this project, including formal comments on the Environmental Assessment, to District Commander, St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, ATTN:  Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 Fifth Street East, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 - 1678.