Subject: Public Notice of Permit Application
Action ID: SPK-2016-00037
Comments Period: December 15, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Smith Canal Gate Project, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 0.663 acre and temporary impacts to 0.757 acre of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in and adjacent to the San Joaquin River. 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.
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 Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA)
Attn: Mr. Roger Churchwell
22 East Weber Avenue
Stockton, California 95202
The project site is located on the San Joaquin River, Latitude 37.958141°, Longitude -121.349230°, in the City of Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, and can be seen on the Stockton West USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
SJAFCA is proposing to implement flood risk–reduction measures in the vicinity of Smith Canal, Atherton Cove, and the San Joaquin River, in and adjacent to the City of Stockton. The proposed project would consist of a fixed wall, filled with granular material, that would extend approximately 800 feet from the north end of Dad's Point, to the right bank of the San Joaquin River at the Stockton Golf and Country Club, and would feature a 50‐foot‐wide gate structure. During high flow and tide events, the gate structure would isolate Smith Canal from the San Joaquin River and allow existing levees to function as a secondary flood risk‐reduction measure. The gate would be closed only as needed for flood control, remaining open to allow for tidal movement, navigation, and recreation in Smith Canal.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to reacquire Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accreditation that was revoked in 2009, and remove the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) designation from the Central Stockton area. The applicant believes there is a need to be consistent with State law, and provide a minimum 200-year level of flood-risk reduction performance by 2025. The applicant states that isolation of the Smith Canal from the San Joaquin River would remove the potentially affected area from the 100-year floodplain, which would contribute toward a 200-year level of performance in combination with other projects compliant with State laws. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 38.73 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, within the project area. The site is characterized by landscaped or developed areas, primarily consisting of residential areas on Atherton Island, and along Atherton Cove and Smith Canal, Stockton Golf and Country Club, Dad’s Point and Louis Park. A total of five land cover types were identified in the project area. Three of the land cover types are considered natural communities: nonnative riparian woodland, tidal emergent wetland, and tidal perennial drainage. The other two land cover types, developed and landscaped, are associated with human activities.
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 mitigation bank credits at a Corps approved mitigation bank.
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.
: The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
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 and the National Marine Fisheries 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.
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.
Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2016-00037 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before Jan. 15, 2018.
Chandra Browne, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 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 Chandra Browne, (916) 557-6652, Chandra.L.Browne@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 3 drawings