Comments Period: July 23, 2019 – August 22, 2019
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a proposal to establish the Butte Sink Mitigation Bank, which would result in the rehabilitation of approximately 201.38 acres of floodplain riparian habitat, and enhancement/preservation of 101.62 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, within the Butte Creek (HUC 18020158) watershed. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. A copy of the May 2019, Butte Sink Mitigation Bank final prospectus is available online at the following location: https://ribits.usace.army.mil/ribits_apex/f?p=107:278:5409965355110::NO:RP,278:P278_BANK_ID:5095.
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 332.8.
SPONSOR: Butte Sink Mitigation, LLC
50 Sunrise Boulevard
Colusa, California 95932
AGENT: WRA, Inc.
2169-G East Francisco Boulevard
San Rafael, California 94901
LOCATION: The approximately 316.05-acre site is located on Butte Creek, Latitude 39.22859°, Longitude -121.94665°, in Colusa County, California, and can be seen on the Meridian USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The bank sponsor (Sponsor) proposes to cease rice farming activities and restore previously existing riparian wetlands on the property. The existing berm between Butte Creek and the site, as well as existing berms within the rice fields (rice checks), would be notched or removed in their entirety in order to improve hydrologic flow within the proposed riparian restoration. An existing irrigation canal, Highline Canal, would be re-routed to reconnect hydrology of a portion of the site with Butte Creek, while continuing to provide water rights to adjacent farms. A portion of the existing access road would be removed. The site would be graded to provide micro-topographic features and encourage diversity in the proposed riparian wetland restoration. Four return channels to Butte Creek would be constructed in the southeast portion of the site. The Sponsor has not proposed to re-vegetate the site with man-made plantings; but rather, is proposing re-vegetation of the site through natural recruitment from existing riparian wetlands on-site. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. Currently, there are approximately 1.36 acres of freshwater emergent wetlands, 89.89 acres of freshwater forested/riparian shrub wetlands, 187.46 acres of farmed wetlands, 7.56 acres of perennial stream (Butte Creek), 2.86 acres of drainage channel, and 14.53 acres of irrigation canal on-site. The site also includes 4.28 acres of developed upland area, including an unpaved access road, and 8.10 acres of undeveloped upland area. The site is comprised of farmed wetland (rice fields) and forested riparian wetland along Butte Creek and surrounding existing rice fields. The site is located within the floodway for Colusa Weir and is typically flooded on an annual basis when water in Butte Creek overtops its banks or when water in Sacramento River overtops the Colusa Weir. The project site is currently utilized by spring-run chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) when flooded by Butte Creek.
A Department of the Army permit may be required for all or a portion of the proposed restoration activities in waters of the United States.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Interagency Review Team responsible for the review and approval of the proposed mitigation bank include representatives from the Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Sponsor’s proposed restoration activities may have a potential to affect 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 Sponsor’s proposed restoration activities may temporarily adversely affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Sponsor’s proposed restoration activities may temporarily adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as appropriate.
The above determinations are based on our preliminary review of the information provided by the Sponsor.
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 the proposed restoration activities in waters of the U.S. 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. Comments will be used in the evaluation of the proposed mitigation bank, pursuant to 33 CFR Part 332.8, and in the evaluation of the proposed restoration activities in waters of the United States, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2014-01030 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before August 22, 2019.
Laura Shively, Senior Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922
Telephone: (916) 557-5258
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. 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 Sponsor, their agent, or the Corps' project manager, Laura Shively at (916) 557-5258 or Laura.B.Shively@usace.army.mil.
Figure 1. Location Map
Figure 2. USGS Topographic Map
Figure 10. Aquatic Resources Delineation Map
Figures 15-20. Design drawings