Comments Period: 2 July 2019 – 2 August 2019
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:
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 2.5-acre project site is located in the Ahwahnee Meadow within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park, north of Northside Drive, approximately 0.10 mile east of Village Drive, latitude 37.74554°, longitude -119.58117°, Mariposa County, California, and can be seen on the Half Dome, USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Sponsor proposes to establish a 2.5-acre ILF Project. The ILF Project site is located in the Merced/Tuolumne Rivers Service Area. The proposed project would generate approximately 1.85 Aquatic Resource Released Credits by re-establishing approximately 2.24 acres of montane wet meadow habitat. The Ahwahnee Meadow Restoration Project (Met-1) Initial Project Prospectus provides additional project details.
Although most of Ahwahnee Meadow remains in relatively good condition, portions of the meadow have been substantially impacted by prior anthropogenic activities such as ditching and filling to accommodate agriculture and adjacent development. In 2016 and 2017, Yosemite National Park staff began restoration of the central and eastern portions of Ahwahnee Meadow, following the Final Merced River Plan/EIS, which calls for multiple, phased restoration actions in the meadow. Restoration work completed to date includes: removal of fill associated with the old carriage road in the eastern portion of the meadow, removal of informal trails, filling of former drainage ditches in the central portion of the meadow, and replacement of an undersized culvert under Northside Drive with a larger box culvert.
Additionally, in summer 2018, Yosemite National Park staff implemented the Phase 1 Project with U.S. National Park Service funds. Heavy equipment was used to remove approximately 8,000 cubic yards of imported fill and re-contoured the Phase 1 restoration area to restore natural topography across 1.90 acres. In fall 2018, the Phase 1 Project Area was revegetated with native meadow species, and invasive plants were treated and/or removed. However, the U.S. National Park Service currently lacks funding to complete the removal of 6,000 cubic yards of remaining fill from the southwestern corner of the meadow; therefore, the proposed ILF project would fund the removal and restoration of the remaining 6,000 cubic yards of fill from the southwestern corner of the meadow.
Environmental Setting. The ILF Project site is located at approximately 3,975 feet in elevation, and has an average slope of less than 2% from north to south. The site topography has been altered by the placement of fill material in the southwest corner, which covers the site to a depth of approximately 1–3 feet. The site is located within the 100-year floodplain of the Merced River. Annual precipitation at the ILF Project site averages approximately 41.28 inches per year with the majority falling as snow during the winter months. Water generally sheet flows across Ahwahnee Meadow from the north to the south crosses through culverts under Northside Dr. and into the Merced River.
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, 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 August 2, 2019.
Zachary Simmons, Senior Regulatory Project Manager
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 Mr. Zachary Simmons at the phone or email listed above.