Comment Period: June 30, 2021 – July 15, 2021
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge dredged or fill material and work in approximately 1842.28 acres of waters of the United States to construct the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Phase 2 AJD project. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Contra Costa Water District
c/o Jennifer Johnson
P.O. Box H2O
Concord, CA 94520
LOCATION: The approximately 1842.28-acre project site is located within the Los Vaqueros Reservoir watershed, Latitude 37.849275°, Longitude -121.691823°, Brentwood, Contra Costa County, California, and can be seen on the Byron Hot Springs USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to temporarily impact 1842.28 acres of primarily lacustrine waters through temporary dewatering, the dredge of 200,000 cubic yards (CY) of material from the shell borrow area to use in the construction of the dam, and the dredge of 1,350,000 CY of material to use for additional construction needs (i.e. temporary roads, staging areas) in order to increase the height of the existing dam by 55 feet and increase the surface water area from approximately 1,900 acres to approximately 2,500 acres. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to increase the storage capacity of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 1868.98 acres of open waters, 0.113 acre of perennial channels, 1.706 acres of intermittent channels, 1.272 acres of freshwater seasonal wetlands, 0.471 acre of nontidal freshwater permanent emergent wetlands, and 0.243 valley and foothill riparian wetlands within the project area.
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. The applicant has proposed to increase the amount of lacustrine wetlands along the new reservoir perimeter.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Department of Reclamation is the lead agency for this portion of the project.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Department of Reclamation is the lead agency for this portion of the project.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Department of Reclamation is the lead agency for this portion of the project.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Department of Reclamation is the lead agency for this portion of the project.
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-2021-00088 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before July 15, 2021.
Erin Campbell, 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 Erin Campbell, 916-557-5263, Erin.M.Campbell@usace.army.mil.