Comments Period: March 20, 2017 – April 20, 2017
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a Department of the Army permit application to construct the Black Butte Re-regulating Dam Erosion Repair project, which would result in impacts to approximately 0.598 acre of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to Stony Creek. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: City of Santa Clara, Attn: Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, 1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, California 95050
LOCATION: The approximately 27.3-acre project site is located on Stony Creek, Latitude 39.8140299623047°, Longitude -122.332680353159°, Tehama County, California, and can be seen on the CA-BLACK BUTTE DAM USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct an erosion repair project along 570 liner feet of bank for the Black Butte Hydroelectric Project. The erosion repair will include the excavation of a key trench and placement of rock riprap along the banks of the basin. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to perform maintenance on an existing hydroelectric generating facility. The applicant believes there is a need to take appropriate measures to stabilize the bank erosion, prevent damage to adjacent facilities, and comply with the requirements of the project’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission License. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 10.915 acres of riparian wetlands and perennial stream habitat within the project area. The site is dominated by Black Butte Dam, Stony Creek and the approximately 9.6-acre Black Butte Hydroelectric project re-regulating basin that was constructed at the outlet structure to the dam. Black Butte Dam is a Corps of Engineers dual purpose flood control and water storage reservoir constructed on Stony Creek in Tehama County. The area surrounding the site is rolling grasslands interspersed with developed and irrigated agriculture lands primarily consisting of fruit and nut trees.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives. These alternatives all proposed the stabilization of the eroding banks onsite but utilize differing methods of stabilization. Alternative 1, the proposed alternative, utilized rock riprap along the eroding bank that will result in impacts to 0.598 acre of waters of U.S. Alternative 2 would utilize an articulated concrete block mat along the eroding bank resulting in the impact to 0.667 acre of waters of the U.S. Alternative 3 proposed the use of rock filled gabion baskets to stabilize the bank which would result in the impact to 0.707 acre of waters of the U.S. All of the alternatives would result in impacts to waters of the U.S. The applicant has stated that the proposed project would have the least impacts to waters while accomplishing the project purpose. 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 mitigation credits from the Sacramento District’s in-lieu fee account with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Central Valley 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 including the applicant's report titled, Cultural Resources Inventory and Evaluation Report for the Black Butte Bank Erosion Repair Project, two mid-20th century potential historic properties were located within the area of potential effects. However, these resources will not be adversely affected by the proposed activities. 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. Designated critical habitat for the federally listed Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and Central Valley steelhead, O. tshawytscha occur less than a mile downstream of the project area. The Corps will initiate consultation with 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 Corps will initiate consultation 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-2016-00679 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before April 20, 2017.
Matthew Kelley, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
310 Hemsted Drive, Suite 310
Redding, California 96002
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 Matthew Kelley, (530) 223-9534, Matthew.P.Kelley@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 5 drawings