SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Greenbriar project, which would result in impacts to approximately 14.58 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to Lone Tree Canal. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Greenbriar Project Owner, LP; Attn: Mr. John Stanek; 160 Newport Center Drive, Suite 240; Newport Beach, California 92660
AGENT: McCollum Associates, Attn: Mr. Michael McCollum, 10196 Clover Ranch Drive, Sacramento, California 95829
LOCATION: This 577 acre on-site and off-site project is located north of Interstate-5, west of U.S. Highway 99, east of Lone Tree Road and south of West Elkhorn Boulevard, in Section 4, Township 9 North, Range 4 East, Latitude 38.67826º North, Range 121.54908º West, in the City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, California.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a mixed-use development on the approximately 577 acre Greenbriar site. As part of the proposed project, on-site impacts to waters of the U.S. would result in the placement of fill material into 10.86 acres of waters of the U.S. (7.85 acres of seasonal wetlands, 1.36 acres of seasonal marsh and 1.65 acres of ditches/canals). In addition, on-site activities would result in permanent impacts to 0.11 acre and temporary impacts to 3.07 acres of Lone Tree Canal for the purpose of restoration, which would result in the construction of 1.25 acres of emergent wetland adjacent to Lone Tree Canal. Off-site improvements, consisting of road and utility line installation, would result in permanent impacts to 0.045 acre of waters of the U.S., (0.019 acre of seasonal wetland and 0.026 acre of ditches/canals), and temporary impacts to 0.11 acre of waters of the U.S. (0.08 acre of seasonal wetlands and 0.03 acre of ditches/canals). In addition to the on-site impacts and off-site infrastructure described above, the applicant has also proposed project impacts to waters of the U.S. as a result of the expansion of Elkhorn Boulevard. The Elkhorn Boulevard improvement is a project shared by the Greenbriar applicant and the adjacent Metro Air Park (MAP). Although construction of the northern portion of the Elkhorn Boulevard improvements is the responsibility of the MAP, due to the uncertainty of the construction timing by the MAP, the applicant has included these impacts, consisting of permanent impacts to 0.64 acre of waters of the U.S. (0.114 acre of seasonal marsh and 0.53 acre of ditches) as part of the Greenbriar application. The applicant is proposing to preserve approximately 3.1 acres of existing waters of the U.S. within a 13.41 acre preserve, encompassing the existing Lone Tree Canal, the created 1.25 acres of emergent wetlands and an approximately 200- to 225-foot wide upland buffer. Overall, the proposed project would result in permanent direct and indirect impacts to 15.15 acres of waters of the U.S. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The Greenbriar project site contains approximately 18.80 acres of waters of the U.S., consisting of approximately 13.22 acres of wetlands and 5.58 acres of ditches/canals. The proposed project site has previously been cultivated with dry farmed wheat, and a portion of the site was in rice cultivation until 2002. The site it primarily characterized by annual grassland vegetation, consisting of annual blue grass (Poa annua), Mediterranean barley (Hordeum marinum), ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and bur clover (Medicago polymorpha). The seasonal wetlands located on the site also contain vernal pool buttercup (Ranunculus bonariensis var. trispelus), and nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus).
Alternatives. The applicant has not 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 create an approximately 13.41 acre preserve consisting of Lone Tree Canal, portion of two ditches, and portions of two seasonal wetlands. As part of the preserve, the applicant is proposing to create 1.25 acres of emergent marsh. The applicant is proposing to mitigate for permanent direct and indirect impacts to 15.15 acres of waters of the U.S. at a 1.1:1 ratio, by providing 13.41 acres of created/enhanced/restored wetland reserve and preserving 3.1 acres of the Lone Tree Canal.
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 not indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: To date, a cultural resources report has not been submitted by the applicant. 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 giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas). 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 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 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-2005-00572 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before March 30, 2013.
Lisa Gibson, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
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 Lisa Gibson, 916-557-5288, Lisa.M.Gibson2@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 5 drawings