SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a prospectus to establish the Colusa Basin Mitigation Bank, to create 119 acres of giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas) habitat and 42 acres of seasonal wetlands. The proposed Bank would result in impacts to approximately 5.738 acres of irrigated wetlands, which are waters of the United States. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 CFR Part 332.8. In addition, the Corps is currently evaluating a Department of the Army permit application for the construction of the proposed habitat under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT/BANK SPONSOR: Westervelt Ecological Services
Attn: Mr. Greg Sutter
600 North Market Blvd., Suite 3
Sacramento, California 95834
LOCATION: The 215-acre site is located adjacent to Colusa Trough in Section 31, Township 15 North, Range 1 West, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 39.10471°, Longitude -122.01996°, Colusa County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Arbuckle USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant proposes to construct and establish a giant garter snake and seasonal wetland mitigation bank in Colusa County. The attached prospectus provides additional information regarding the proposal.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 5.738 acres of irrigated wetlands within the proposed bank site. The site is characterized by existing rice production on leveled paddies with three-foot high berms separating the fields. The fields are accessed by unimproved roads on the perimeter of the property. Drainage ditches and water supply canals bound the property. A 33.5-acre portion of the site is proposed as a permittee-responsible mitigation site for the Maxwell Public Utility District Treated Wastewater Re-Use Project and is not a component of the bank proposal.
The Corps is currently evaluating a Department of the Army permit application for the construction of the proposed giant garter snake and seasonal wetland habitat.
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 construction of the proposed mitigation bank. The applicant has applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Corps initiated consultation on September 17, 2012, with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species. The Corps initiated consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on September 17, 2012, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant 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 mitigation bank development. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny 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 pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2012-00871 must be submitted to the office and Corps project manager listed below on or before November 19, 2012.
Ms. Krystel Bell, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Suite 1350
Sacramento, California 95814
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 Bank Sponsor or the Corps' project manager identified above.
Attachments: Colusa Basin Mitigation Bank Prospectus, dated October 9, 2012