Comments Period: December 12, 2017 – December 27, 2017
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to complete construction of the Bouldin Island Rehabilitation Project. The project would result in impacts to approximately 6.21 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, adjacent to the South Mokelumne River. This project was previously permitted by the Corps in 2010 and the permit was modified in 2012. However, the project was not completed prior to the permit expiring and the applicant is currently requesting authorization to continue the project. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. This notice may also be viewed at the Corps web site at www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: California Department of Transportation
Attn: Mr. Arvinder Bajwa
1976 East Charter Way
Stockton, California 95205
LOCATION: The approximately 88-acre project site is located along State Route 12 (SR 12) on Bouldin Island between the Mokelumne River Bridge and the Potato Slough Bridge, Latitude 38.113116°, Longitude -121.541872°, San Joaquin County, California, and can be seen on the Terminous USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to complete construction of the prior-authorized project. As previously authorized and currently proposed, the project would rehabilitate and reconstruct State Route (SR) 12 from the Sacramento county line at the Mokelumne River Bridge to the Potato Slough Bridge (post mile (PM) 0.1 - R4.4). The proposed work would include constructing a new structural section to the south of the existing SR 12, an undercrossing, and permanent access roads at PM 2.64.
During stage 1 of the construction, a K-rail would be placed at the edge of the travel way along the eastbound lane and surcharge material would be placed to a height of 10-ft above the proposed travel way. The surcharge would be allowed to settle for a period of approximately nine months, after which the surcharge would be removed and the structural section constructed. The structural section would include standard 12-ft travel lanes and 8-ft shoulders, as well as 5-ft inside shoulders and a concrete median barrier. The barrier would travel the length of the highway section on Bouldin Island and would include three manually operated gates for emergency/maintenance vehicle access. Stage 2 would entail the construction of the tie-ins between the new highway section and the Mokelumne River and Potato Slough Bridges and the removal of the K-rail. Stage 3 would entail the removal of the existing highway section and construction of the new section.
Existing culverts at four locations would be extended to account for the new roadway section. The existing culverts would be removed once the new section is completed and the old section is removed. Also during the time that the surcharge is placed and allowed to settle, temporary plastic culverts would be installed to allow water to flow through the surcharge.
Most of the widening would require new right-of-way (ROW) to be purchased on the south side of the roadway. Widening would occur to the south of the existing roadway to eliminate encroaching upon the existing levee of the South Mokelumne River. Out of the existing 6.58 acres of waters of the U.S. on-site, approximately 6.21 acres (2.95 acres of irrigation ditches and 3.26 acres of wetlands) located on the north and south sides of SR 12 would be permanently filled as a result of the project. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to improve this section of SR 12. The applicant believes there is a need to rehabilitate the roadway as it is subject to differential settlement and associated cracking. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Under the previous authorization, the applicant has constructed the majority of the proposed work. Of the 6.21 acres of wetlands and ditches authorized to be filled under the 2010 permit and 2012 modification, the applicant has filled all 3.26 acres of wetlands and 2.32 acres of ditches. The project remains as previously authorized. However, the permit expired prior to the applicant completing the authorized work and the applicant is requesting authorization to fill the remaining 0.63 acres of ditches.
Environmental Setting. The proposed project is located in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, bordered by the South Fork of the Mokelumne River to the north, Mokelumne River to the west, San Joaquin River and Potato Slough to the south, and Little Potato Slough to the east. The elevation of Bouldin Island ranges from 10-15 feet above sea level.
Current land uses along State Route 12 consist of agriculture, a few scattered single-family residences, and several commercial operations.
Irrigation ditches within the project area have a constant flow of water to serve as irrigation for local farmers; however, water from the surrounding landscape is constantly pumped back into the Mokelumne River to prevent flooding, since most of the land in the project area is below sea level. Pumping and an extensive levee system maintain the groundwater level at least 3 feet below ground surface for agricultural purposes. In the project area, the depth to groundwater typically varies from approximately 3 to 7 feet.
The Corps has verified that approximately 6.58 acres of potentially jurisdictional waters of the United States are located within the project study area, of which approximately 3.41 acres are wetlands and 3.17 acres are ditches. All of the waterways within the project area are adjacent or tributary to other waters of the United States, namely the Mokelumne River.
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 2012 modification required the applicant to purchase 3.26 acres of floodplain mosaic wetland credits and 0.37 acres of shaded riverine aquatic credits from the Cosumnes Floodplain Mitigation Bank to mitigate for the loss of 3.26 acres of wetlands and 0.37 acres of the ditches. The applicant purchased the required credits and has provided evidence of the purchases to the Corps. The permit also required the applicant to re-create 2.58 acres of ditches on-site to mitigate for the loss of 2.58 acres of ditches. The re-creation of the ditches has not occurred, but is still part of the applicant’s proposal.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act was obtained by the applicant in 2012. The applicant has not indicated they have re-applied for certification in support of this permit application.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information potentially eligible cultural resources will not be affected by the proposed project. The applicant is the lead federal agency for this project and has obtained concurrence on their eligibility and effect determination from the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect the federally-listed giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas). The applicant is the lead federal agency for this project and has obtained a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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-2010-00241 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before December 27, 2017.
William Ness, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 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 William Ness, (916) 557-5268, William.W.Ness@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 16 drawings