Comments Period: November 15, 2019 – December 16, 2019
SUBJECT: The public final Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback project is available for public review and comment. This notice is to inform interested parties of the availability of the document and to solicit comments on the project.
The Notice of Availability and the Final EIS are available on our website at http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/Environmental-Impact-Statements/. Hard copies are also available at the Yolo County Library at 1212 Merkley Avenue in West Sacramento, and at the Woodland Public Library at 250 First Street in Woodland.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, is the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
AUTHORITY: The proposed action would require permission/authorization from the Corps to alter the Federal Project (levees) under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (Section 408) (33 U.S.C. 408) and to discharge fill material into waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).
California Department of Water Resources (DWR)
Attn: Ms. Erin Brehmer
3464 El Camino Avenue, Suite 150
Sacramento, California 95821-9000
LOCATION: The approximately 2,600-acre project site is located within the Lower Elkhorn Basin and is bounded by the Sacramento River on the east, the Tule Canal and Yolo Bypass on the west, the Sacramento Bypass on the south, and Interstate 5 on the north (see the attached figure). The site is within Yolo County, California and can be seen on the Grays Bend, Taylor Monument, and Sacramento West USGS 7.5-minute Topographic Quadrangles.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback Project would include levee setbacks to widen portions of the Yolo and Sacramento Bypasses to increase conveyance capacity and reduce flood risk. The project would be part of a series of proposed flood risk management improvements contemplated under DWR's Central Valley Flood Protection Plan and its related Sacramento Basin-Wide Feasibility Report. The project would include the following elements: (1) Widening the Yolo Bypass by constructing a setback levee approximately 1,500 feet east of the Tule Canal in the Lower Elkhorn Basin; (2) widening the Sacramento Bypass by constructing a setback levee approximately 1,500 feet north of the existing levee; (3) potential degrading of all or portions of existing levees; and (4) implementing ecosystem improvements within the project area to mitigate project impacts. Widening of the Sacramento Bypass, per number (2) of the proposed action, is authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
The Final EIS analyzes the environmental effects of construction, operations, and maintenance of the project. Potentially significant issues analyzed in depth include aesthetics; air quality; biological resources (fisheries and aquatic organisms, vegetation and wildlife, and wetlands and waters); climate change, cultural resources, geology, soils, and paleontological resources; hazards and hazardous materials; land use and planning, and agricultural and forestry resources; noise and vibration; recreation; socioeconomics; traffic and transportation; utilities and service systems; and water quality. The applicant’s preferred alternative would result in approximately 26.8 acres of permanent impacts and approximately 21.5 acres of temporary impacts to waters of the U.S. All potential impacts would be limited to canals and ditches which support current agricultural practices within the project footprint.
Environmental Setting. The site is located within an agricultural basin bounded by the Sacramento River and the Yolo and Sacramento flood bypasses, characterized by active agriculture, including row crops and orchards. The site is also bisected by various irrigation canals, drainage ditches, and multiple commercial and residential buildings.
Alternatives. A number of project alternatives, including the no action alternative and the applicant's preferred alternative are described in Chapter 3 and evaluated throughout the Final EIS in accordance with NEPA (33 CFR part 230 and 33 CFR part 325, Appendix B). See the attached figures for a depiction of the proposed alternatives.
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 (CVWQCB) is required for this project. A complete application was submitted to the CVWQCB on August 2, 2019.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Corps has initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer and with Native American Tribes under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. A Memorandum of Agreement and Historic Properties Treatment Plan are currently being developed.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps initiated consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on October 24, 2017, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS issued a Biological Opinion on May 2, 2019, and the NMFS issued a Letter of Concurrence on March 1, 2019.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Corps initiated consultation with the NMFS on October 24, 2017, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The NMFS concluded in its March 1, 2019, Letter of Concurrence that the action would not adversely affect EFH and consultation is not required.
The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments on the project and the draft document should reference Public Notice SPK-2016-00457, and must be submitted to the office listed below on or before December 16, 2019.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Attn: Ms. Tanis Toland
1325 J Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Please note that all comments received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.
Attachments: 3 drawings
FEIS PN Figures-201600457