Comments Period: July 23, 2019 – August 23, 2019
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Loafer Creek Point project, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 14.72 acres and temporary impacts to approximately 12.76 acres of waters of the United States, at the Lake Oroville Loafer Creek Recreation Area. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: California Department of Water Resources
Attn: Mr. Dave Starks
460 Glen Drive
Oroville, California 95966-9235
LOCATION: The approximately 43.31-acre project site is located at Loafer Creek Point in the Lake Oroville Loafer Creek Recreation Area, Latitude 39.538728°, Longitude -121.444185°, Butte County, California, and can be seen on the Oroville Dam USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a new parking lot and boat ramp at Loafer Creek Point for both a stage 1, upper elevation, and stage 2, lower elevation, boat launch facility. The Stage 1 parking lot would be above the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), measured at 900 ft mean sea level (msl), and a 60-ft wide ramp would extend to the down to 802 ft msl. The Stage 2 parking lot would be constructed at approximately 820 ft msl and a 114-ft wide ramp would extend down to 695 ft msl, then narrow to 53 ft and continue to 642 ft msl. An access road would connect the Stage 1 and Stage 2 parking lots. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to provide recreational boat access within Lake Oroville to approximately 640 ft msl. The applicant believes there is a need to replace the boat launch capacity lost at the lake due to the 2017 spillway failure and current repair activities. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 27.48 acres of open water within the project area. The site is characterized by the Lake Oroville reservoir, the second largest reservoir in California. Lake Oroville is part of the California State Water Project and releases cause the water levels to fluctuate throughout the year between approximately 900 ft msl and 640 ft msl.
Alternatives. The applicant has 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.
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 restore all temporary impacts by restoring contours to pre-project conditions. Revegetation may occur in limited areas identified by the applicant, as required in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. Due to the water fluctuation, no revegetation is proposed at the lower levels within the reservoir. The applicant described the site as supporting little to no habitat for native wildlife species and low-quality habitat for non-native fish species. No compensatory mitigation was proposed by the applicant due to the condition of the existing habitat that would be impacted.
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. A certification was received for the Stage 1 project on August 13, 2008 (5A04CR00290). The application for the Stage 2 project is still pending.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including the applicant's report dated June 18, 2019), cultural resources potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places may be affected by the proposed project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the lead federal agency for this project and will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project would not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat 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-2018-00398, must be submitted to the office listed below on or before August 23, 2019.
Zachary Simmons, 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 Zachary Simmons, (916) 557-6746, Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 3 drawings