Comments Period: January 11, 2018 – February 12, 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Bidwell Canyon Stage 2 project, which would result in impacts to approximately 4 acres of waters of the United States. 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: California Department of Water Resources, Attn: Mr. Pat Whitlock, 460 Glen Drive, Oroville, California 95966
LOCATION: The approximately 9-acre project site is located on Lake Oroville, at 801 Bidwell Canyon Road, in Section 6, Township 19 North, Range 5 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 39.54045°, Longitude -121.45482°, Oroville, Butte County, California, and can be seen on the Oroville Dam USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to expand the parking lot and boat ramp at the existing recreation facility. Based on the available information, the applicant has stated that their purpose is to expand the Bidwell Canyon Stage 2 parking lot facility and adding lanes to the existing boat ramp to increase capacity for boat launching and accommodating higher use at the Bidwell Canyon Stage 2 recreation area.
The project would result in the discharge of approximately 16,900 cubic yards of native soil for grading, 3,100 cubic yards of concrete/pavement for parking lot improvements/expansion, 16,800 of riprap for a new facility, and 8,200 cubic yards of rock slope protection for stabilization into 4 acres of Lake Oroville.
The proposed project would provide an additional 50 vehicle/trailer spaces for a total of 100 vehicle/trailer spaces, and the existing lot would be paved with a concrete surface which would result in the discharge of approximately. The expanded parking area would provide space for walkways, a restroom, and dumpster facilities. Adjacent to the parking lot is an existing boat ramp providing service between 745 feet (ft) mean sea level (msl) and 700 ft msl. The existing ramp would be expanded by two lanes, one on each side of the existing ramp, including 8-foot wide docking lanes between the existing lanes and each new lane. Rip-rap material would be placed around the perimeter of the expanded parking lot and boat ramp to provide slope stability.
The applicant believes there is a need to expand the recreational facilities because as a result of the damage caused to the spillway in February 2017, many of the recreational facilities around Lake Oroville have been closed and are expected to remain closed for the next two years. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Project Background: During the winter storms of 2017, giant crater erupted in the 3,000-ft main spillway at Lake Oroville. The emergency spillway was utilized to release water from Lake Oroville. The force of water onto the emergency spillway caused the hillside to erode severely. Re-construction of the spillways has been underway since the incident. Due to the emergency repairs at the Lake Oroville spillway, many recreation facilities at Lake Oroville have been closed and are expected to remain closed for at least two years. The applicant proposes to improve boat launching, parking capacity, and emergency personnel access prior to the start of the primary 2018 recreation season on Memorial Day. To accomplish the goal of offsetting recreational losses at the spillway, the project cannot impair other recreational opportunities at Lake Oroville.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 9 acres of Lake Oroville within the project area. The site is characterized by little vegetation cover and has been highly disturbed. little vegetation cover (less than 10%) and what vegetation is present is composed almost entirely of non-native species. Vegetation is dominated by ruderal, non-native invasive species such as Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), stinkwort (Ditrichia suaveolens), willow-herb (Epilobium sp.), and Spanish clover (Acmispon americanus). The ordinary high water mark of Lake Oroville is at 900 ft msl and all work would occur below 900 ft.
Alternatives. The applicant has 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 a permittee responsible mitigation plan. The proposed compensatory mitigation is located on the Feather River approximately 5.5 miles downstream of the Oroville Dam. The mitigation plan includes the following components: restoration and creation of salmon rearing habitat; adding spawning gravel to the Feather River; control of invasive plant species in riparian habitat; and planting native riparian vegetation. The components will be developed within the 7.75-acre mitigation plan site. The components of the proposed compensatory mitigation are shown in the attached drawing.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the 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 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been designated as the lead Federal agency and will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project would not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. FERC will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or 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.
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-2017-01055 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 12, 2018.
Kaitlyn Pascus, 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 Kaitlyn Pascus, (916) 557-7247, Kaitlyn.A.Pascus@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 5 drawings