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Public Notices

Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

Public Notices published by the Sacramento District under the Regulatory Program are posted on this page. Once a public notice is available on-line, an email notification is sent to individuals on the appropriate mailing list.

Comments are due by the expiration date of the public notice.  Only comments submitted by email or in hard copy format through a delivery service, such as the U.S. Postal Service, can be accepted.   Comments must be submitted to the address listed in the public notice.

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SPK-2014-00021, Merced County, CA

Posted: 6/9/2016

Expiration date: 6/23/2016


Comments Period: June 8, 2016– June 23, 2016 

SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to remove sediment from the Mariposa Slough/Eastside Bypass for the Eastside Bypass Low-Flow Conveyance Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 10.0 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in the Eastside Bypass. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. 

AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States. 

APPLICANT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Ms. Alicia Forsythe, San Joaquin River Restoration Program, 2800 Cottage Way (MP-152), Sacramento, California 95825

LOCATION: The approximately 59.5-acre project site is located in the Eastside Bypass/Mariposa Slough, from El Nido Road to approximately 2,500 feet downstream into the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. The project site is located in Sections 19, 20, and 21, Township 9 South, Range 13 East, MDB&M, Latitude 37.1311264281745°, Longitude -120.589423850157°, Merced County, California, and can be seen on the CA-SANDY MUSH USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to remove 42,000 cubic yards of sediment, mostly sand, from 10.0 acres of the Eastside Bypass to create a low flow channel and allow water to pass through the area for the San Joaquin River Restoration Project. The project will include the removal of the non-functioning culvert of El Nido Road and the rest of the roadway through the bypass. The excavated material removed from the site will be used at off-site locations for commercial purposes. The applicant is also asking for annual maintenance of sediment removal of the site of up to 42,000 cubic yards of sediment. The applicant believes there is a need for this project to properly maintain the low flow channel of this site. This project will ensure that the San Joaquin River Restoration Project will function for passing flows which will aid in the restoration of the fisheries of the river system. The applicant, the Bureau of Reclamation, is the federal lead for this project and is ensuring compliance with all applicable federal laws. The attached drawings provide additional project details. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Environmental Setting. The project site is within the San Joaquin Valley within an area that is heavily farmed with only a few portions left as natural ground in the surrounding area. The project itself is within the Eastside Bypass which is a manmade conveyance system for the San Joaquin River including Mariposa Slough. The project site has some herbaceous wetland vegetation within the canal, but is void of woody vegetation. There are approximately 46.0 acres of seasonal wetlands within the project area.

Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives. Additional information concerning project alternatives may be available from the applicant. Other alternatives may develop during the review process for this permit application. All reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment, will be considered.

Mitigation. The Corps requires that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize all impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. The applicant has proposed to construct their project as part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Project (SJRRP). The overall purpose of the SJRRP is the restoration of the San Joaquin River, which is a self-mitigating project as it restores the river system which will aid in the restoration of fish habitat. No further mitigation is offered specifically for this project. All sediment removed for this project will be placed in an upland location then used for commercial purposes. 

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board is required for this project. The applicant has indicated they have applied for certification.

HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. The project involves removal of only resent sediments, and no disturbance to the original grade of area is foreseen. The applicant has made a no effect determination for the National Historic Preservation Act. The Corps will make an independent evaluation of the project situation, and initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, if appropriate.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The applicant has consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat. The applicant has consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as appropriate.

The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.

EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the described activity will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The activity's impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2014-00021 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 23, 2016.

Ms. Kathy Norton, Sr. Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922
Email: Kathy.Norton@usace.army.mil 

The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact Ms. Alexandra Aviles, at 916-978-5056 for the applicant, or the Corps' project manager Ms. Kathy Norton, 916-557-5260, or Kathy.Norton@usace.army.mil.

Attachments: 5 drawings