Comment Period: August 19, 2022 – September 5, 2022
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the discharge dredged or fill material and/or work in approximately 1.48 acres of waters of the United States to construct the South Delta Temporary Barriers 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 Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: California Department of Water Resource, Attn: Mr. William McLaughlin,
1516 9th Street, Suite 2-281, Sacramento, CA, 95814-5504
LOCATION: The approximately 1.48-acre project site is located at three locations in the Middle River near Victoria Canal, Latitude 37.8857°, Longitude -121.4822°; in Old River near the city of Tracy, Latitude 37.8103°, Longitude 121.5428°; and in Grant Line Canal near the Tracy Boulevard Bridge, Latitude 37.8199°, Longitude 121.4483°, San Joaquin County, California.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing the annual spring installation of three temporary flow-control rock barriers at Middle River near Victoria Canal (MR), Old River near Tracy (ORT), and Grant Line Canal near Tracy Boulevard Bridge (GLC), collectively known as the Ag Barriers. The Ag Barriers are designed specifically for maintaining water levels and circulation within the South Delta to benefit SDWA local agricultural diverters. This is accomplished by trapping water that flows through the flap gates of each barrier on a flood tide.
All of the barriers would be composed of clean rock free from cracks, seams, and other defects. Culverts at the GLC barrier will be removed and replaced once during the permit term and left in place permanently. The barriers would be installed and removed using an excavator and a barge or truck-mounted crane. If needed for the barriers to operate properly, sediment deposited at the barriers during high flows would be removed from the barrier proximity under low flow conditions. The three temporary barriers previously authorized in 2018. The design of the 2023-2027 Ag Barriers project is essentially the same as in past years, with the exception of three potential changes that may occur during the permit period: (1) sediment removal on an as-needed bases; (2) implementation of the Temporary Barrier Project Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) which involves following a flexible schedule of construction and operation; and (3) removal and replacement of the permanent Grant Line Canal culverts.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to provide an adequate agricultural water supply in terms of quantity, quality, and channel water levels to meet the reasonable and beneficial needs of water users in South Delta Water Agency's service area. The applicant believes there is a need to meet the reasonable and beneficial water uses in the South Delta Water Agency boundary as a result of impacts due to the operations of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 1.48 acres of riverine waters within the project area. The site is characterized by perennial riverine waters as part of the San Joaquin River System in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Alternatives. The project has been ongoing since 2001 and 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 mitigate for 0.27 acre of permanent impacts through the purchase of approved mitigation bank and/or in-lieu fee credits.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is required for this project. The applicant has/has not indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information and ongoing project installation, no cultural resources have been identified within the project's area of potential effect. 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 and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project 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 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-2001-00121 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before September 5, 2022.
Zachary Simmons, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Our Sacramento Regulatory Division, 1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento, California 95814-2922
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 Zachary Simmons,
(916) 557-6746, Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil.
SPK-2001-00121 - PN Attachments