19 September 2018 – 18 October 2018
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is soliciting comments on a proposed In-Lieu Fee project for the Sacramento District California In-Lieu Fee Program (ILF Program). The sponsor is the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This ILF Program Area spans 37 counties and approximately 65,000 square miles. The NFWF ILF Program, established in October 2014 was approved by the Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (each an “Agency” and collectively the “Agencies”). A copy of the Prospectus is available online at the following location https://ribits.usace.army.mil/ribits_apex/f?p=107:378:12610952087311::NO::P378_PROGRAM_ID:2661.
The decision whether to approve funding for projects will be based on an evaluation of each proposed activity considering how and where it will compensate for aquatic resources lost through authorizations issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The benefit which may reasonably accrue from each proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments and/or its appropriateness, considering the ecological needs of the watershed in which it’s located.
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 CFR Part 332.8.
SPONSOR: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
Attn: Mr. Chris Gurney,
Wetlands Program Director, Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts (IDEA),
90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 1010,
San Francisco, CA 94105,
Office: (415) 593-7627
LOCATION: The approximately 130-acre project site is located in western Fresno County, approximately five miles east of the town of Mendota, Latitude 36.7627° N, Longitude - 120.2889° W, Fresno County, California, and can be seen on the Mendota Dam, USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Sponsor proposes to establish a 130-acre ILF Project. The ILF Project site is located in the King’s River Service Area with a portion located in the adjacent San Joaquin River Service Area. The proposed project would generate approximately 26.10 Aquatic Resource Released Credits by re-establishing approximately 26.10 acres of floodplain seasonal wetland habitat. The Mendota Wetland Restoration Project (KIN-1) Initial Project Prospectus provides additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The proposed ILF Project site is situated on the south bank of a meander bend of the San Joaquin River, immediately downstream of the Chowchilla Bifurcation Structure. The site is bound to the north and west sided by the active channel of the San Joaquin River. The ILF Project site ranges from 160 to 175 feet in elevation (NAVD88). The lowest areas are within the active channel of the San Joaquin River, while the highest elevations are along the river levee. Hydrology of the ILF Project site is derived from direct precipitation, overland flow from upland areas to the south, seasonally high groundwater, and rare overbank flooding events. The Chowchilla Bypass Structure, located just upstream of the site, diverts high flows into the Chowchilla Canal to protect downstream properties from flood damage. The presence of this structure has contributed to reduced flows downstream and to the disconnection of the San Joaquin River from its historical floodplain. Four biological communities are present on-site consisting of: ruderal alkali grassland (approximately 268.25 acres), seasonal wetlands (30.08 acres), open water (16.74 acres), and mixed riparian woodland scrub (4.64 acres). To-date, no special status species have been observed on-site. A Department of the Army permit may be required for the proposed restoration activities.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Interagency Review Team responsible for the review and approval of the proposal include representatives from the Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, the California State Water Resources Control Board, and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Any of the projects which involve the discharge of fill into waters of the U.S. or that require state or local permits or authorizations will be sought individually and are not described in this notice.
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 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 will 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 Sponsor and our preliminary review.
EVALUATION FACTORS: 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 assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2012-00286 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before October 18, 2018.
Krystel Bell, Mitigation Banking Specialist
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
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 Sponsor or the Corps' project manager Ms. Krystel Bell, (916) 557-7745, Krystel.L.Bell@usace.army.mil.