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Public Notices

Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

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SPK-2006-00552, Public Notice of Permit Application, OE3 Training Center and Open Space Preservation, Sacramento County, CA

Published June 26, 2020
Expiration date: 7/26/2020

Comment Period:  June 26, 2020 – July 26, 2020

SUBJECT:  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge of fill material in approximately 4.17 acres of waters of the United States to construct the OE3 Training Center and Open Space Preservation 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: OE3JATC, Attn:  Ms. Tammy Castillo, 14738 Cantova Way, Sloughhouse, CA, 95683.

LOCATION:  The approximately 604.5-acre project site is located within the 1500-acre property. See Project Description below and Figure 1.  It is located at Latitude 38.44627°, Longitude -121.13531°, in the Town of Sloughhouse, within the Cosumnes Community Planning Area in southeastern unincorporated Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the Carbondale USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  The applicant is proposing to construct and develop the 604.5-acre project site with three primary components: (1) an approximately 450-acre site consisting of a 25-acre state-of-the-art training center and 425-acre field instruction area for journeyman and apprentice operating engineers; (2) an approximately 150-acre wetland habitat preservation area site containing federal and state-protected species and habitat; and (3) an approximately 4.5-acre off-site road improvement area as required by Sacramento County to improve fire truck access. The off-site road improvement area is shown in Figure A.

Development and activities within the proposed field instruction areas is expected to directly impact approximately 3.11 acres of seasonal wetlands and 1.06 acres of vernal pools.  Indirect impacts are approximately 6.91 acres of waters of the U.S. consisting of 0.33 acre of seasonal swale, 2.07 acres of stockpond, 4.06 acres of seasonal wetland & 0.45 acre of vernal pool.  Please see Figure 7.  

Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct and operate a state-of-the-art training center that includes a new campus and field instruction facility for the training of future operating engineers within the existing training and acquired adjacent properties.

The applicant believes there is a need to increase the training facilities capacity to meet growing demand for skilled workforce.  The attached drawings provide additional project details.


Environmental Setting. There are approximately 68.90 acres of aquatic resources within the project site which consist of: 10.55 acres of vernal pool, 39.35 acres of seasonal wetland, 8.62 acres of seasonal wetland swale, 0.75-acre of intermittent stream and 9.63 acres of stockpond, and 0.04 acre of aquatic resources within the off-site road improvement area (consisting of 0.01 acre of vernal swale and 0.03 acre of seasonal wetland ditch).

The property is bounded by open ranch land on all sides as well as a small number of private residences to the west.  Historic dredge mining for gold occurred throughout the majority of the project site.  The resulting landscape is characterized by an unnatural, hummocky terrain composed of mine tailings, which often consist of cobbles and other coarse components.  The tailings features vary in height and extent, ranging from extensive linear mounds to amorphous groupings. The project site is interspersed with relatively flat grassland areas which were not mined and generally retain their natural topography, though some amount of lesser surface manipulation has occurred, including numerous, small, historical test pits.  At the boundary between mined and unmined areas, there is typically a vertical face, which is up to approximately 20 feet high in some locations.  At the center of the project site is the existing OE3 training grounds, an open, highly disturbed area where students are trained to use various pieces of mobile construction equipment by simulating real-world construction activities.

Numerous seasonal wetlands have developed in the depressions and low areas located within the mine tailings landscape. The size of the wetlands and the duration of inundation varies with the local watershed and topography.  Seasonal wetlands also form in the unmined portions of the project site in both naturally occurring depressions and swales as well as within anthropogenic depressions such as test pits.

Alternatives.  The applicant has not 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 re-established wetlands within the 150-acre eastern preserve area and/or purchase credits at a Corps approved mitigation bank.  See Figure 6.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS:  Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the CA Regional Water Quality Control Board is required for this project.  The applicant has indicated they have applied for certification.

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 proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat.  The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species 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-2006-00552 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 26, 2020.

Peck Ha, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District

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 Peck Ha, (916) 557-6617,

Attachments:  5 drawings