Comment Period: June 17, 2020 – July 17, 2020
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is proposing to issue Regional General Permit (RGP) 2 for activities in reservoirs that require authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed RGP 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.
LOCATION: This RGP would authorize reservoir maintenance activities in reservoirs in the Sacramento District boundaries of California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: This RGP authorizes temporary and permanent discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands, to maintain a reservoir’s intended purpose. Activities include:
1. Removal of accumulated vegetation, debris, and sediment, including in-reservoir disposal of the dredged material;
2. Maintenance, including relocation, of roads and utility lines;
3. Maintenance, including relocation, of temporary and permanent water supply structures or fills;
4. Maintenance, including relocation, of temporary and permanent recreational facilities and attendant features;
5. Maintenance, including relocation, of temporary and permanent structures and fills necessary to conduct inspections and provide work access;
6. Extension or relocation of any existing structures or fills in response to low water levels.
7. Construction of new structures or fills, provided the new structures or fill do not convert waters of the U.S. to non-waters of the U.S.
Background. In accordance with Corps' regulations at 33 CFR 322.2(f), RGPs are DA authorizations that are issued on a regional basis for a category or categories of activities when:
- Those activities are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts; or
- The general permit would result in avoiding unnecessary duplication of the regulatory control exercised by another Federal, state, or local agency provided it has been determined that the environmental consequences of the action are individually and cumulatively minimal.
Pre-Construction Notification and Authorizations under RGP 2. Prior to utilizing RGP 2, perspective permittees would be required to submit a completed pre-construction to the Corps. No discharges of dredged or fill material may occur in waters of the U.S. until the perspective permittee receives a written verification from the Corps that the work may proceed subject to the terms and conditions of RGP 2.
Alternatives. The Corps will evaluate alternatives to the proposed RGP, including alternative terms and conditions.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Activities in reservoirs may require additional authorization from federal, state, and local agencies, including, but not limited to, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, as well as state and local agencies. Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act will also be required from Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act may be required from the States of California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Tribes, as applicable.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The issuance of RGP 2 will have no potential to affect historic properties. However, the construction of activities under the RGP may affect historic properties. Following the receipt of a completed PCN, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 2 would affect historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The issuance of RGP 2 will have no effect to Federally-listed endangered or threatened species endangered species. However, the construction of activities under the RGP may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species. Following receipt of a completed PCN, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 2 would affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species, and will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The issuance of RGP 2 will have no effect to essential fish habitat. However, the construction of activities under the RGP may adversely affect essential fish habitat. Following receipt of a completed PCN, the Corps will determine if the specific activity proposed for authorization under RGP 2 would affect essential fish habitat and 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 information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue the RGP will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the covered activities 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 proposed RGP, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposed RGP 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 RGPs 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 RGP. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue or modify the proposed RGP. 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-2020-00349 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 13, 2020. Electronic submittal of comment via email are preferred.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Rooom 1350
Sacramento, California 95814
The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposed RGPs 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 RGP. 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' Deputy Division Chief, Michael Nepstad Lisa Gibson, (916) 557-7262, Michael.G.Nepstad@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: Proposed RGP 2, Reservoir Maintenance Activities