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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.

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SPK-2016-00797, Northborough Project proposed by Gibson Ranch, LLC., Sacramento County, CA

Published May 10, 2017
Expiration date: 5/24/2017

Comments Period: May 09, 2017 – May 24, 2017

SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Sacramento District is evaluating a permit application to develop the Northborough Project proposed by Gibson Ranch, LLC. Project development would result in fill of approximately 7.86 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands. The purpose of this notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activities 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: Gibson Ranch, LLC., Contact: Brian Vail. 2410 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 110, Sacramento, CA 95825

AGENT: Foothill Associates, Contact: Kyrsten Shields, 590 Menlo Drive, Suite 5, Rocklin, California 95765

LOCATION: The approximate 298-acre project site is located in the Rio Linda/Elverta community within the unincorporated portion of Sacramento County, north of Elverta Road and directly south of the Placer/Sacramento County line, east of 16th Street, west of Gibson Ranch County Park within the Elverta Specific Plan, and can be located within portions of Sections 10, 11, 14, and 15 of Township 10 North, Range 5 East on the USGS Rio Linda, California 7.5-minute quadrangle (38° 43’ 35.260” North, 121° 25’ 1.857” West) (Figure 1).



The Northborough Project is located within the Elverta Specific Plan (ESP) (Figure 2), which was approved in 2007 by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. The Northborough Project proposes urban land uses consistent with surrounding planned development within the ESP and nearby planned development in Placer County, including the adjacent Placer Vineyards Specific Plan.

Proposed Action

The Northborough Project proposes the development of 1,171 medium density residential units along with three neighborhood parks, one recreational center, one elementary school, and two detention basins and associated infrastructure.
Proposed offsite improvements, include a well site adjacent to the northeast corner of the project site and a SMUD substation west of 16th Street near the southwest corner of the project site. Two offsite drainage outfalls are proposed, one located adjacent to the project site west of 16th Street and one located south of the project site adjacent to existing development. The two proposed outfalls will result in 0.01-acre of impacts to aquatic resources comprised of 0.003-acre of vernal pools and 0.007-acre of riverine seasonal wetlands (Figure 3).

The proposed Northborough Project represents a vital component of the master planned mixed-use community providing connections to the adjacent Placer Vineyards Specific Plan and Dry Creek Parkway through Gibson County Park.

Approximately 25,362 cubic yards of clean fill will be placed in 7.86 acres of waters of the U.S. in order to accommodate construction of the proposed development using various types of standard construction equipment, including scrapers, bulldozers, and excavators.

As proposed, project development will result in the fill of 7.86 acres of waters of the U.S. including 0.95-acre of depressional seasonal wetlands, 0.26-acre of vernal pools, 0.06-acre of riverine seasonal wetlands, 0.79-acre of ditch/canals, and 5.78 acres of stock ponds (Figure 3). Impacts to waters of the U.S are summarized by individual feature classifications, below in Table 1.

Table 1 — Jurisdictional Aquatic Resources






Depressional Seasonal Wetland



Vernal Pool



Riverine Seasonal Wetland






Stock Pond






1 Acreages calculated to 6 significant digits and rounded to 2 significant digits.

Purpose and Need

The purpose of the Northborough Project is to develop a mixed-use development. The applicant believe that the proposed project will meet the need as planned for within the ESP including residential and recreational opportunities for ESP residents. The Northborough Project is needed to provide key connections to the adjacent Placer Vineyards Specific Plan and Dry Creek Parkway through Gibson County Park.


    Environmental Setting:  There are approximately 7.86 acres of wetlands and drainages within the project area.

The topography on the site has been significantly modified in the past due to farming activities, particularly rice farming. The site has minimal topographic relief. Slopes throughout the property range from 0 to 2 percent. Elevations ranging from 70 to 80 feet above mean sea level (MSL). The project site drains from the northeast to the southwest with some minor localized variations. The site includes several aquatic resources including depressional seasonal wetlands, vernal pools, riverine seasonal wetlands, ditch/canals, and stock ponds.

Waters are conveyed to the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal, which joins the Sacramento River at Discovery Park. The project site is designated on the FEMA Floodplain map as being outside the 100-year floodplain.

The seasonal riverine feature is connected hydrologically during high water events to downstream seasonal features that eventually enter the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal (Steelhead Creek), which is a man-made tributary to the Sacramento River. The onsite riverine feature is generally separated hydrologically from the downstream features by an onsite stock pond that captures all runoff within the onsite riverine feature except during high water periods. Therefore, the features onsite normally contribute little to the relatively permanent water (Natomas East Main Drainage Canal) or the traditionally navigable water (Sacramento River) downstream of the site.

The project site consists primarily of non-native annual grassland habitat used for dry land pasture. The site’s pasture lands support cattle grazing and equestrian activities. Dominant plant species within the California annual grassland on the site include the following: annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), soft chess (Bromus hordeaceus), medusa head (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), and tarweed (Holocarpha virgata).

Trees are generally lacking throughout the site, although groups of trees have been planted in clusters around residences and as windbreaks along roadways. On-site varieties include black walnut, black locust, valley oak, blue oak, cottonwood, eucalyptus, fig, and a variety of ornamental pine and fruit trees.

    Alternatives: All reasonable alternatives to the project will be considered, particularly those alternatives that may be less damaging to the aquatic environment. To date, specific information related to potential alternatives to the project have not been made available. Potential alternatives will be developed during the course of public review and comment, when an Alternatives Analysis will be prepared pursuant to the Clean Water Act 404(b)(1) Guidelines. Information related to potential alternatives may be available from the project applicant or their agent.

    Mitigation: The Corps requires all applicants to consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. For all areas in which the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. If necessary, compensatory mitigation through the purchase of in-kind mitigation credits or the payment of in-lieu fees will be used to offset impacts at a Corps-approved mitigation bank.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the project applicant is required to obtain water quality certification or a waiver from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Other required authorizations and entitlements are listed by agency in Table 2 below.

Table 2 — Required Approvals



Type of Approval

Application Status

Sacramento County

General Plan Amendment, Community Plan Amendment, Rezone, Large and Small Lot Tentative Subdivision Map and Use Permit Approval Pursuant to CEQA


Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley)

401 Water Quality Certification

Application in-progress.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Streambed Alteration Agreement

Application in-progress.

HISTORIC PROPERTIES: A Determination of Eligibility and Effect for the Northborough Estates Project, Sacramento County, California and Addendum to Determination of Eligibility and Effect for the Northborough Estates Project, Sacramento County, California, both dated March 2014 prepared by Peak & Associates, Inc. analyzed cultural resources for the Northborough Project as well as some off-site areas and concluded no known resources listed or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places exist on the project site. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), as appropriate.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) protocol wet- and dry-season surveys were conducted by Helm Biological Consulting during 2013 and 2014 on the project site resulting in negative findings for the federally-listed as threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) and the federally-listed as endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi). However, the project site includes aquatic resources considered potential habitat for federally-listed branchiopods, including 0.95-acre of depressional seasonal wetlands, 0.27-acre of vernal pools, and 0.07-acre of riverine seasonal wetlands, and therefore the Proposed Action may affect federally-listed endangered or threatened species. 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 will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat as defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Conservation measures proposed by the project include storm water Best Management Practices to ensure water quality is not degraded.

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-2016-00797 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before May 24, 2017.

Ms. Jessica Neal, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Sacramento District, Regulatory Division
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, CA 95814-2922

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 Jessica Neal, 916-557-6883,

Figure 1. Project Site and Vicinity
Figure 2. Project Location within the Elverta Specific Plan
Figure 3. Proposed Project
Figure 4. Aquatic Resources Map