SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Sacramento District, is evaluating a permit application to construct the Golf Resort at Lake Oroville (aka Whisper Ridge) project, which would result in impacts to approximately 9.83 acres of waters of the United States (3.714 acres of wetlands and 6.116 acres of other waterbodies). 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: Grant Hornbeak, Loafer Creek, LLC, 21 Blackstone Court, Chico, California 95928
Phone: (509) 860-3938
AGENT: Jody Gallaway, Gallaway Enterprises, 117 Meyers Street, Suite 120, Chico, California 95928
Phone: (530) 332-9909
LOCATION: The 541-acre proposed project site is located approximately six miles east of the City of Oroville, northeast of the intersection of State Route 162 and Forbestown Road, in Section 9, Township 19 North, Range 5 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 39.5239054°, Longitude -121.422615°, Butte County, California, and can be seen on the CA-OROVILLE DAM USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to construct a destination golf course resort and hotel complex with wellness center within the Lake Oroville area. A brief description of each component of the proposed project is listed below:
Golf Course Resort (≈ 455 acres)
• 18-hole golf course
• 9-hole kids golf course w/game area
• 9 golf cottages (1,500 square feet/ea)
• 1 golf driving range (4,095 square feet)
• 1 golf range house (800 square feet)
• 1 golf clubhouse w/shops (7,765 square-foot building w/2,900 square feet of exterior patio/courtyard space)
• 1 golf maintenance building (7,715 square-foot building w/10,325 square feet of exterior service yards and equipment storage space)
Hotel Complex and Wellness Center (≈ 46 acres)
• 82 hotel rooms
• 36 lodge rooms
• 3 executive cottages
• 1 wellness center
Parking (≈ 166 spaces)
• 1 golf cottage lot (34 spaces)
• 1 golf course lot (50 spaces)
• 1 hotel/resort lot (52 spaces)
• 1 wellness center lot (30 spaces)
• Extension of sanitary sewer and waste water services
• Extension of drinking and irrigation water services
• Sewer lift station
• Potable water storage
• Non-potable irrigation line
• Drainage outfall in Hawk Ravine
• Temporary on-site waste water and septic sewer treatment system
• Widening, extending or improving public and private roadways and intersections
• Storm water treatment, collection, conveyance and disposal
• Dry utilities (gas, electric, cable, fiber optic, etc.)
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is commercial and recreational development. The applicant believes there is a need to develop a destination golf course resort within the Lake Oroville area. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are a total of approximately 7.24 acres (46,640 linear feet) of ephemeral and intermittent streams/drainages, 11.04 acres of open water ponds, and 7.77 acres of wetlands present within the proposed project area, for a total of approximately 26+ acres of potentially jurisdictional waters of the U.S. The site is characterized by ponderosa pine stands, blue oak woodland, montane hardwood forest, mixed chaparral, annual grasslands, and valley/foothill riparian forests. Fresh emergent wetland and riparian habitats have been created by a series of ponds and impoundments throughout the site. Three canyons, including two intermittent drainage courses, traverse the site. A prominent rock outcrop is located in the western portion of the site, with several small outcrops in the higher elevations. The topography is hilly, with a slope falling to the west toward Loafer Creek Recreational Area, and to the north into two canyons that feed into Lake Oroville. Wyandotte Lake resides to the south of the project site and is a small marshy lake used for irrigation purposes. There are a few rural residences, located on large parcels, in the project vicinity. Site elevation ranges from 1,200 to 1,800 feet above mean sea level.
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 avoid 16.24 acres of the 26+ acres of waters of the U.S. on-site. The applicant is proposing to mitigate for the loss of 9.83 acres of waters of the U.S. with a 1:1 mitigation ratio, by purchasing 3.01 acres of wetland credits at a Corps approved mitigation bank and by restoring or creating 6.82 acres of waters of the U.S. within the proposed project area (on-site).
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 (Redding Branch) is required for this project. The applicant has indicated they have applied for certification. In addition, the applicant will file a Notification of Streambed Alteration with the California Department of Fish and Game.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including the applicant's report entitled Determination of Eligibility & Effect for the Golf Course at Oroville Dam Project, Butte County, California), potentially eligible cultural resources may be affected by the proposed project. 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. 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 proposed 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 proposed 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 proposed 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-2012-01314 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before September 30, 2013 October 28 2013, November 29, 2013..
Leah M. Fisher, 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 Leah Fisher, by telephone at 916-557-6639, or email Leah.M.Fisher@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 3 drawings