Comments Period: April 2, 2021 – May 1, 2021
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a proposal to establish the Fenston Mitigation Bank, which would result in the establishment and preservation of approximately 1,206.16 acres of vernal pool habitat, with the preservation of 257.20 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in the Little Dry Creek Watershed that is associated with the San Joaquin River. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. A copy of the Fenston prospectus is available online at the following location https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:278:2445981840805::NO:RP,278:P278_BANK_ID:5431.
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 332.8.
SPONSOR: Mr. Mike Linton, Vulcan Lands, Inc., 16013 Foothill Blvd., Irwindale, California 91702, email@example.com
LOCATION: The approximately 1,206.16-acre project site is located just west of the intersection of State Route 145 and 41, approximately 10.4 miles east of the City of Madera in Sections 7 and 18, Township 11 South, Range 20 East, MDB&M, Latitude 36.97938°, Longitude -119.82945°, Madera County, California, and can be seen on the Little Table Mountain USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The prospective Sponsor proposes to establish an approximately 1,206.6-acre vernal pool landscape preservation mitigation bank. The bank proposes to preserve this landscape and manage it for wetlands and rare species habitat. The attached drawings provide additional details.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The proposed conservation easement holder and monitor of the bank is the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, P.O. Box 691, Mariposa, California 95338, Contact: Ms. Lauren Miller, Conservation Director, firstname.lastname@example.org. The project site is located on a gently sloping landscape at approximately 375.0’ above sea level. The project site is currently grazed. Soils of the site include Whitney fine sandy loam, Cometa gravelly sandy loam, Cometa sandy loams, Greenfield coarse sandy loam, and others. The project is located within the Little Dry Creek Watershed (180400010202).
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 257.20 acres of aquatic resources within the proposed bank site. The site is characterized by 46.66 acres of vernal pools, 206.09 acres of seasonal wetlands, and 4.45 acres of streams. This site also includes 948.96 acres of annual grasslands that provide habitat for California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), and Swainson’s hawk (Buteos swainsoni) foraging habitat. This site connects adjacent vernal pool landscapes and seasonal swale wetlands of the neighboring area.
A Department of the Army permit may be required for restoration activities.
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. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Potentially eligible cultural resources may be affected by the creation of this proposed mitigation bank. 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 mitigation bank may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The proposed bank is within critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), hairy Orcutt grass (Orcuttia pilosa), San Joaquin Valley Orcutt grass (Orcuttia inaequalis), and succulent owl’s-clover (Castilleja-campestris ssp succulenta). The proposed bank site is within 2.5 miles of designated federally listed critical habitat for the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense). 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 Fenston Mitigation Bank will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Corps does not believe there is a need to 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 prospective Sponsor and our preliminary review.
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 this proposed Fenston Mitigation Bank. 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 are used in the evaluation of the proposed Mitigation Bank per 33 CFR Part 332.8 and in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2008-01602 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before May 1, 2021. Our office has gone paperless, please submit your comments to this notice by email.
Ms. Kathy Norton
Sr. Project Manager
California South Section
US Army Corps of Engineers
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922
Telephone: (916) 557-5260
Attachments: 13 drawings