Comments Period: July 31, 2018 – August 31, 2018
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Skye Canyon Project which would result in impacts to approximately 2.7 acres of waters of the United States. 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 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of fill material in waters of the United States.
Ninety Five Management, L.L.C.
Attn: Mr. Bobby Williamson
11411 Southern Highlands Parkway, Suite 300
Las Vegas, Nevada 89141
The approximately 370-acre project site is located in the northwest area of the Las Vegas valley, directly southwest of the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Kyle Canyon Road (Highway 157), Latitude 36.3149°, Longitude -115.3085°, in the city of Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, and can be seen on the Tule Springs Park USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
The applicant, Ninety Five Management, L.L.C., is proposing an expansion of the Skye Canyon Master Planned Community. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a single-family residential community. The applicant believes there is a need to impact waters of the United States in order to alleviate safety concerns with two ephemeral washes that have steep bank slopes that have been severely undercut. According to the applicant, the washes in their current state would present an unacceptable fall risk for residents and visitors and the undercutting has created a risk for future collapse of stream banks. Filling the two washes would result in the loss of 10,020 linear feet/2.7 acres of ephemeral stream. Once filled, the washes would be converted into landscaped walking trails within the community. Storm water that would normally flow through the two ephemeral washes would flow into upstream detention/sediment ponds that are currently under construction and be diverted around the residential area and into regional conveyance facilities. The former landowner was previously issued a Letter of Permission (issued in 2006 and modified in 2015) and compensated for impacts to 1.7 acres of ephemeral stream within the project area. This standard permit would be for stream impacts in addition to those already permitted and compensated for within the project area. The attached maps and drawings provide additional project details.
There are approximately 2.7 acres of ephemeral stream within the project area that the Applicant proposes to impact. The site is characterized as relatively flat, sparsely vegetated desert bordered by a freeway to the east and residential developments to the south. The project site is located in the Mojave Desert at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. Annual precipitation is approximately 8 inches. Two washes, identified as Wash 3 and Wash 5, are ephemeral streams of approximately 6,091 linear feet and 3,929 (Wash 5a and 5 b combined) linear feet in length, respectively, and are 10-20 feet wide. The washes flow west to east through the project area. There are no wetlands in the project area. Dominant native vegetation within the project area include four-wing saltbush (Atriplex confertifolia), white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) and cresosote bush (Larrea tridentate). The soils within the project area are primarily moderately to well-sorted gravel and silt and clay formed from stream and floodplain deposition. Previous disturbances in the area include grading and filling between the two washes downstream of the proposed impacts, and upstream sediment/detention basins which are currently under construction.
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.
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 compensate for losses to waters of the U.S. in the form of a financial contribution of $91,780 to the Nature Conservancy for the preservation, enhancement and rehabilitation of springs and wetlands at the Torrance Ranch Preserve, near Beatty, Nevada. The Applicant proposed the mitigation cost based on a ratio of 0.25 acre:1 acre, and applying the fee of $141,200 per acre (based on 2002 Clark County in-lieu-fee program).
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS:
Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, is required for this project. The applicant has not indicated they have applied for certification.
Based on the available information, including applicant's report titled 2004 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS): Flood Control Master Plan, and a subsequent survey (2005) identified no cultural resources within the project's area of potential effect. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
The project has the potential to adversely effect desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). There are no other Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat within the project area. 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 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-2005-50517 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before August 30, 2018.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Bountiful Regulatory Office
533 West 2600 South, Suite 150
Bountiful, Utah 84010
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 Jason Gipson, email@example.com
, or 801-295-8380, ext 8314.