Comments Period: February 1, 2019 – March 18, 2019
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the construction of a large-scale, mixed-use, mixed-density master-planned community, with associated infrastructure, which would result in the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into approximately 18.70 acres of wetlands and other waters of the United States, near University Creek (tributary of Pleasant Grove Creek). This notice is to inform interested parties of the publishing of the Draft EIS and to solicit comments.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Corps has prepared a Draft EIS that analyzes the potential effects of implementing the proposed action in western Placer County. The Draft EIS documents the existing condition of environmental resources in and around areas considered for development, and potential impacts on those resources as a result of implementing the proposed action, including the alternatives. Under its regulatory program, the Corps will complete a permit decision on the application for a Department of the Army Permit to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States.
The Corps is the lead Federal agency responsible for the preparation of this Draft EIS. This notice is to solicit comments on the proposed activities described in the Draft EIS. Pursuant to the NEPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) published a notice in the Federal Register on February 1, 2019 (79 FR 70865), informing the public of its availability.
DRAFT EIS AVAILABILITY: The Draft EIS is available for review in the following formats:
- Hard Copies are available upon request at the address above.
COMMENT PERIOD: The Draft EIS is available for public comment for 45 days. The comment period for the Draft EIS will end on March 18, 2019.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Brookfield Sunset, LLC, Attn: Mr. John Norman, 2271 Lava Ridge Court, Suite 220, Roseville, California 95661-3065
LOCATION: The approximately 674-acre project site is located approximately 2.3 miles north of Pleasant Grove Boulevard and 1.5 miles west of Fiddyment Road, at 5101 Sunset Boulevard west, Latitude 38.816°, Longitude -121.385°, in the northwestern portion of Roseville, Placer County, California, and can be seen on the Pleasant Grove USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a master planned community with the following uses: 337 acres of residential uses, including 2,826 single- and multi-family residential units at buildout; 51 acres of commercial and office uses; 17 acres of public/quasi-public uses, including a school; 22 acres of parks; 146 acres of open space; and, 52 acres of roadways. The proposed action includes roadway improvements along Sunset Boulevard West; storm water drainage improvements within the Al Johnson Wildlife Area; construction of a segment of Westbrook Boulevard; and space to accommodate the planned Placer Parkway and associated interchange. The applicant is proposing to also construct permittee-responsible compensatory wetland mitigation on three undeveloped parcels just west of the project site. Implementing the proposed action would result in mass grading and the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into approximately 18.70 acres of waters of the U.S., comprised of 10.48 acres of wetland swale, 3.01 acres of vernal pool, 2.91 acres of seasonal wetlands, 1.82 acres of perennial marsh, 0.36 acre of stock pond, 0.08 acre of intermittent drainage, and 0.04 acre of seasonal creek. Implementing the proposed activity could also indirectly effect approximately 19.86 acres of avoided/preserved waters of the U.S.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a large-scale, mixed-use, mixed-density, master-planned community in western Placer County. The attached drawings provide additional project details. A complete description of the proposed activities can be found in Section 2.4 of the Draft EIS.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 38.56 acres of wetlands and other waters of the United States present within the site, consisting of 9.82 acres of vernal pools, 19.77 acres of seasonal wetland swales, 4.83 acres of seasonal wetlands, 1.82 acres of marsh, 1.92 acre of intermittent stream, 0.36 acre of pond, 0.04 acre of seasonal creek, and less than 0.01 acre of ephemeral drainage and farmed wetland. The site is characterized by relatively flat to gently rolling terrain with elevations of approximately 70 to 100 feet above mean sea level. The aquatic habitats are interspersed within an annual grassland plant community, which is comprised primarily of non-native naturalized Mediterranean grasses. University Creek, an intermittent drainage and tributary of Pleasant Grove Creek, flows from east to west through the southern portion of the site. The site has historically been used for cattle grazing and agriculture.
The mitigation properties contain a total of 70.21 acres of aquatic resources, consisting of vernal pools, seasonal wetlands, seasonal wetland swales, drainage swales, marshes, and intermittent and perennial drainages.
Alternatives. The Draft EIS evaluates the impacts of the following alternatives: No Action; Proposed Action; Alternative 1 – Southern Avoidance; Alternative 2 – Northern Avoidance; and, Alternative 3 – Distributed Avoidance. Complete descriptions of the alternatives can be found in Section 2.5 of the Draft EIS. Attachment 2 provides a table of impacts to waters of the United States by land use for the proposed action and 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 preserve approximately 38.89 acres of existing aquatic resources, both on and off site, and restore up to 18.6 acres of aquatic resources within three off-site mitigation properties. A complete description of the applicant’s mitigation proposal can be found in Appendix 3.4 of the Draft EIS.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is required for this project. The applicant has not indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Potentially eligible cultural resources may be affected by the proposed project. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Proposed activities may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species, specifically vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), by directly filling 16.40 acres of vernal pool invertebrate habitat and indirectly affecting approximately 8.15 acres of vernal pool invertebrate habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 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-2004-00116, must be submitted to the office listed below on or before March 18, 2019.
Leah Fisher, Senior Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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 Corps' project manager Leah Fisher, (916) 557-6639, Leah.M.Fisher@usace.army.mil.
Attachment 1: Figures
Attachment 2: Table