Comment Period: April 30, 2020 – May 30, 2020
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge of dredged or fill material in up to approximately 0.10 acre of waters of the United States to implement the Collecting Canals Sediment Removal project. 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: Ms. Mitra Emami, 3310 El Camino Avenue, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA, 95821
LOCATION: The approximately 585-acre project site is located immediately east of the Sutter Bypass, starting to the northeast of the town of Sutter, Latitude 39.16669°, Longitude -121.72817°, and continuing south approximately 22 miles to the confluence of the Sutter Bypass East Levee and the Feather River West Levee, Latitude 38.89893°, Longitude -121.61784°, Sutter County, California, and can be seen on the Sutter, Tisdale Weir, Sutter Buttes, Gilsizer Slough, Sutter Causeway, and Nicolaus, 7.5-minute USGS topographic quadrangle maps.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed project would remove sediment from 44 miles of canals, including around three pumping plants and various culverts. Dredged material would be placed adjacent to the canals and leveled. Six existing culverts would be replaced with larger capacity box culverts and two new box culverts would be installed at new crossings to facilitate maintenance activities.
The proposed project includes initial deferred maintenance, followed by regular maintenance of the canals once the initial sediment removal has been completed. Routine maintenance and sediment removal would be performed in approximately one to five miles of canals annually with a recurrence interval in a typical canal of two to five years over a period of 10 years. The DA permit would authorize various types of maintenance activities that would result in a discharge of dredged or fill material for five years with options to extend the permit based on conditions at that time.
The replacement of the six culverts and installation of two new culverts would result in the permanent fill of up to 0.10 acre of waters of the United States. Due to site constraints, the dredged material would be discharged in close proximity to the canals and some of the material would drain or fall back into the canals as additional discharge of dredged material into waters of the U.S. Discharges into canals resulting from sediment removal would be temporary and would not result in the loss of aquatic resources. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to maintain channel capacity and prevent flooding and infrastructure failure. The applicant believes there is a need to increase and maintain channel capacity to reduce flood risk and reduce repair intervals. The applicant has requested approval through a standard permit to allow future flexibility for changing conditions and recurring maintenance intervals for up to 10 years, as described above. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 7.96 acres of wetlands, and 139.25 acres of other waters within the project area. The project site is located in a rural setting between the Sutter Buttes and Nicolaus, California. The majority of the Project site is located within unincorporated Sutter County, with some portions located in Yuba County. Land use primarily consists of scattered residences along rural county roads and agriculture.
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. If the loss of waters exceeds 0.10 acres, the applicant would purchase mitigation credits to offset the loss of waters of the U.S.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Central Valley Flood Protection Board is required for this project. The applicant has indicated that they are in the process of applying for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's 2016 report titled Collecting Canal Maintenance Phase 1 Project, Sutter County, California, Cultural Resources Technical Report and the 2018 and 2019 addendum), no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. 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 proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened 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 would 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 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-2018-00828 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before May 30, 2020
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Attn: Mr. Zachary Simmons,
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