Comments Period: January 9, 2017 – February 1, 2017
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Westborough At Easton project, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 2.554 acres and temporary impacts to approximately 1.188 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Easton Development Company, LLC, Attn: Mr. Michael Lafortune, 1180 Iron Point Road, Suite 350, Folsom, California 95630
LOCATION: The approximately 1,164-acre project site is located south of Highway 50, north of White Rock Road and south and east of the Folsom South Canal, Latitude 38.6057°, Longitude -121.2447°, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the CA-BUFFALO CREEK USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a mixed-used residential and commercial development, open space, park and quasi-public uses and amenities.
The proposed project is meant to function in tandem with the development of the Rancho Cordova Parkway Project (RCP) which is being permitted separately by the City of Rancho Cordova. The RCP is a transportation project that includes U.S. Highway 50 (U.S. 50) between post miles 12.5 and 15.8 (near Hazel Avenue and Sunrise Avenue) and a new road segment running from U.S. 50 to White Rock Road to the south. The RCP runs directly through the length of the center portion of the Project. Although the RCP occurs within the boundaries of the Project and Waters of the U.S. (Waters) were delineated within the RCP including a 250-foot buffer around the RCP, Waters proposed for impact within the RCP alignment will be included in RCP permitting efforts (SPK-2005-00852) and excluded from this Project. However, Waters within the 250-foot buffer are included in this permit application as this Project will be directly impacting these features.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct mixed-use residential and commercial development within the City of Rancho Cordova. The applicant believes there is a continued need for mixed development (high, medium and low-density residential development, as well as public, quasi-public and commercial development) within the City of Rancho Cordova, California. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 3.742 acres of wetlands and riverine within the project area. The site is characterized by combination of undeveloped, gently rolling terrain, a network of roadways and monitoring wells, and highly disturbed areas that include dredge tailings. Large portions of the Project site were extensively modified as a result of gold mining operations (e.g. dredger mining). The site elevation ranges from approximately 120 to 160 feet above mean sea level. The Project site contains nine vegetation communities. The majority of the Project site is dominated by non-native annual grassland, followed by dredger tailings and coyote brush scrub. The six additional vegetation communities occurring on-site include ruderal, blue oak woodland, live oak woodland, Fremont cottonwood forest, Valley oak woodland, and sandbar willow thicket.
Alternatives. The applicant has not provided information concerning project alternatives. Additional information concerning project alternatives may be available from the applicant or their agent. 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 purchase off-site credits for permanent impacts.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the CA 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 Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
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-2005-00852 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 1, 2017.
Mr. Peck Ha, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, CA 95814
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 the applicant or the Corps' project manager Mr. Peck Ha, (916) 557-6617, Peck.Ha@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 3 drawings