Comments Period: May 24, 2018 - June 25, 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Sacramento River Seepage Mitigation Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 1.94-acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to Sacramento River. 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: Sacramento River West Side Levee District,
Attn: Ms. Meegan Nagy,
P.O. Box 50,
LOCATION: The approximately 120.43-acre project site is located along the Sacramento River, from Missouri Bend to near Railroad Bend, Latitude 38.864774°, Longitude -121.75735°, Yolo County, California, and can be seen on the Eldorado Bend USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to place fill material into 1.94 acre of waters of the U.S., consisting of 1.893-acre of marsh and seasonal wetlands, and 0.05-acre of other waters, to construct approximately 3.25 miles of permanently drained seepage berm over several construction seasons along the landside toe of the Sacramento River west levee. The applicant has identified the overall project purpose is to minimize seepage issues along the levee toe during high water events. The applicant believes there is a need to maintain levee integrity, as continued seepage can lead to additional erosion and potential levee failure. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 3.3-acre of marsh and seasonal wetlands and 0.6-acre of other waters within the project area. The site is characterized by agricultural land consisting of agricultural fields used to grow row or field crops. There are 0.23-acre of lined irrigation ditch. Seasonal wetlands are present at seepage locations and along portions of the 0.36-acre unlined irrigation ditch. The previously flood irrigated fields now utilize drip tape irrigation installed around the edges of the fields.
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. The applicant has proposed to implement appropriate best management practices (BMPs), in order to minimize adverse effects to water quality. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize all impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. The applicant has proposed to compensate for the loss of marsh and seasonal wetlands through the purchase of credits at a 1:1 ratio from a USACE approved mitigation bank, which is proposed to be conducted in phases. The applicant has identified the permanently impacted irrigation ditches would be reconstructed on-site at the outward toe of the new berm and has not proposed compensatory mitigation for these effects.
SECTION 401 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act is required for this project. The applicant has not indicated they have applied for certification.
SECTION 408 OF RIVERS AND HARBORS ACT: The proposed project will require permission from the Corps pursuant to 33 U.S.C 408 for activities affecting structures or works built by the United States. The applicant must submit an application describing how the project will alter and/or temporarily or permanently occupy or use a Corps federally authorized Civil Works project (‘‘USACE project’’).
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: 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. The Corps 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 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-2018-00139 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 25, 2018.
Ramon Aberasturi, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Sacramento Delta Regulatory Section
1325 J Street
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 Ramon Aberasturi, (916) 557-6865, Ramon.Aberasturi@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: Sacramento River West Side Levee District Missouri Bend, Yolo County, California Seepage Repair Project drawings