Comment Period: August 12, 2022 – September 12, 2022
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a proposal to establish the Zacharias Ranch Mitigation Bank, which would result in the re-establishment and rehabilitation of approximately 489 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the Snodgrass Slough watershed (HUC 1804001210). This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. This notice may also be viewed at the Corps web site at www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx. A copy of the Zacharias Ranch Mitigation Bank prospectus is available online at the following location: https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:278:6954982981965:::RP,278:P278_BANK_ID:5907
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 332.8.
SPONSOR: Westervelt Ecological Services
Attn: Allegra Bukojemsky
600 N. Market Boulevard, Suite 3
Sacramento, CA 95834
LOCATION: The approximately 571-acre Bank property is located on Snodgrass Slough, south of Lambert Road and north of Twin Cities Road, Latitude 38.29864°, Longitude -121.5331°, 3 miles north of Walnut Grove, Sacramento County, California.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The prospective Sponsor proposes to establish an approximately 571-acre mitigation bank. The project would result in the re-establishment, rehabilitation, and enhancement of approximately 489 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the Snodgrass Slough watershed. The mitigation bank proposes to offer 343 palustrine wetland re-establishment credits and 73 palustrine wetland rehabilitation credits. The Sponsor also proposes to provide credits overseen by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Service Area includes the extent of the Upper Mokelumne 8-digit HUC Sub-Basin containing the Bank and the adjoining Upper Consumnes 8-digit HUC, plus adjoining 8-digit HUC Sub-Basins limited to the Central Valley Ecoregion. The attached drawings provide additional details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 15 acres of open waters, 15 acres of freshwater emergent wetlands/marsh, 56 acres of riparian scrub/forested wetlands, 3 acres of agricultural ditch, and 30 acres of farmed wetlands currently within the project area. The site is bounded to the north, west, and south by Snodgrass Slough and a historic borrow ditch to the east. The site has a berm separating it from Snodgrass Slough. Currently the site consists of farmland for row crops, such as tomatoes, safflowers, and melons. While a majority of the site consists of active farmland, some low-lying areas around its periphery support Waters of the U.S. and State, including emergent marsh, riparian floodplain, and open water features. Other habitats include riparian zones along the banks of the farm berm and borrow ditch.
Current infrastructure includes a pump house and pipe on the northwest to pump water into the borrow ditch for irrigation and a pump house and pipe on the northeast to pump water out of the Site and into Snodgrass Slough. There is an active power line to these pumps, which also continues across Snodgrass Slough to a neighboring property. There is an abandoned power line down the center of the Site that formerly serviced a pump on the southwest edge of the Site that has since been removed. Additionally, there are three eight-foot diameter culverts with flap gates in the south crossing of the borrow ditch that serve as part of farm water management and are maintained by the farmers.
All of the infrastructure with the exception of the north power line would be removed as part of the restoration effort. The existing current conditions along with the Site’s location and historic condition make it ideal for self-sustaining tidal marsh and riparian re-establishment, rehabilitation, and enhancement.
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 includes representatives from the Corps, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed Bank 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 and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed Bank may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat. The Corps 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 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 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 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-2020-00886 Zacharias Ranch Mitigation Bank must be submitted via email to the office listed below on or before September 12, 2022.
Senior Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Telephone: (916) 557-5263
Attachments: Project Drawings
Service Area Maps