Comments Period: May 17, 2019 – June 17, 2019
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is proposing to revise and reissue Regional General Permit (RGP) 3 for Boat Docks and Associated Decks and Access. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This RGP would authorize activities subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States.
LOCATION: This RGP would authorize the construction of boat docks and associated decks and access within navigable waters of the United States in the Sacramento District boundaries of California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. This RGP would not be authorized for the construction of a new dock or the enlargement of an existing dock on Bethel Island, in Contra Costa County, California.
RGP DESCRIPTION: The proposed RGP would authorize the installation, repair, modification, replacement, or removal, of pile supported or floating boat docks and their associated decks and access (e.g. gangway, ramp, stairs, etc.) within navigable waters of the U.S. subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.
Background. In accordance with Corps' regulations at 33 CFR 322.2(f), RGPs are DA authorizations that are issued on a regional basis for a category or categories of activities when:
a. Those activities are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts; or
b. The general permit would result in avoiding unnecessary duplication of the regulatory control exercised by another Federal, state, or local agency provided it has been determined that the environmental consequences of the action are individually and cumulatively minimal.
The Corps previously authorized RGP 23, for single berth, covered or uncovered, boat docks in the Legal Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam (river mile 301). On December 1, 2008, RGP 23 expired, and was not reissued by the Corps. On September 9, 2014, the Corps issued RGP 3 for Small, Private, Recreational Boat Docks and Associated Access, which authorized the installation and maintenance of small, private, recreational, fixed or floating, boat docks, and associated access within navigable waters of the U.S., subject to certain terms and conditions. The existing RGP 3 is applicable only to navigable waters of the U.S. in California, excluding Lake Tahoe, Piper Slough, Dutch Slough, Taylor Slough, Sand Mound Slough, and Rock Slough. The existing RGP 3 will expire on September 9, 2019, therefore, the Corps is proposing to reissue RGP 3, with modifications.
The proposed RGP 3 would implement some of the requirements of the existing RGP 3, although numerous changes have been made to allow for improved utility and use of the proposed RGP for activities that result in no more than minimal individual or cumulative adverse effects. Since September 9, 2014, the Corps has authorized installation or maintenance of 61 boat docks within navigable waters of the U.S. in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. Of those 61 boat docks, seven were authorized under the existing RGP 7. It is expected that the proposed RGP 3 would expedite the permitting process for these activities that are similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental effects.
Pre-Construction Notification and Authorizations under RGP 3: Prior to utilizing RGP 3, perspective permittees must submit a completed and signed pre-construction notification (PCN) form to the Corps. No work may occur in navigable waters of the U.S. until the perspective permittee receives a written verification from the Corps that the work may proceed subject to the terms and conditions of RGP 3.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Boat docks and associated decks and access may require additional authorization from federal, state, and local agencies, including, but not limited to, authorization from agencies responsible for the designation of a National Wild and Scenic River System or "study river," U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as local counties and cities.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The issuance of RGP 3 will have no potential to affect cultural resources. However, the construction of boat docks and/or access under the authority of RGP 3 may affect cultural resources. Following the receipt of a completed PCN checklist, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 3 would affect cultural resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The issuance of RGP 3 will have no effect to Federally-listed endangered or threatened species endangered species. However, the construction of boat docks and/or access under the authority of RGP 3 may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species. Following receipt of a completed PCN checklist, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 3 would affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species, and will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The issuance of RGP 3 will have no effect to essential fish habitat. However, the construction of boat docks and/or access under the authority of RGP 3 may affect essential fish habitat. Following receipt of a completed PCN checklist, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 3 would affect essential fish habitat and will initiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as appropriate.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue RGP 3 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 RGP 3, 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 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-1997-00732 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 17, 2019.
Lisa Gibson, 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 Lisa Gibson, (916) 557-5288, Lisa.M.Gibson2@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: Draft Proposed RGP 3 and attachments