SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Recology Green Rail Project, which would result in impacts to approximately1.92 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, near Best Slough south of Beale Air Force Base, Yuba County, California. 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 into waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Mr. Paul Yamamoto, Recology Environmental Solutions, Inc., 235 North First Street, Dixon, California 95620
LOCATION: The approximately 75.18-acre site is located south of Beale Air Force Base near Best Slough, in portions of Sections 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, and 30, Township 14 North, Range 5 East, MDB&M, Latitude 39.0661494370054°, Longitude -121.430038844262°, Yuba County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Wheatland USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to repair and upgrade an existing rail spur located on property owned by Beale Air Force Base and to construct a new rail spur to their Recology Ostrom Road Landfill site along Ostrom Road. Additionally, the applicant is proposing to construct a new rail-to-truck staging and unloading facility to allow the waste to be process in their main facility. The proposed project includes the repair of 2.8 miles of existing rail spur track belonging to Beale Air Force Base plus the replacement of 100 feet of former rail line. The applicant proposes to construct a staging and unloading facility at the end of a 1.8-mile long new rail spur, and an at-grade railroad crossing at Jasper Lane. The applicant is also proposing to upgrade the existing wye on the Union Pacific Rail Road line near State Route 65 at the Beale rail road line spur intersection with the replacement of 500 feet of track.
Furthermore this project calls for the upgrades to two off-site areas. This includes improvements by Union Pacific Rail Road of facilities at the Oakland Rail Yard for transferring containers from trucks to rail-cars and modification to existing loading bays and new girded building housing a container lidding station. No impacts to waters of the United States are expected to occur at these off-site locations since the sites are already heavily developed. The related drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 5.61 acres of waters of the United States including seasonal wetlands and groundwater seep wetlands are located within the project area. The site is within an historic vernal pool landscape which has been altered by farming and other development. Of the 1.92 acres of waters of the United States that are proposed to be impacted by the project 0.91 acres are seasonally inundated and therefore, could support listed Branchiopod species. The elevation of the project area ranges from 75 feet to 110 feet. Best Slough is a tributary to Dry Creek which flows into the Bear River. Best Slough itself is not proposed to be impacted by the construction of this project. A portion of Best Slough is proposed to be restored as part of the mitigation proposal for this project.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives. Additional information concerning project alternatives is available from the applicant or their agent. The proposed project offers the most direct route that uses existing rail tracks and does not impact Best Slough. 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 project impacts to wetlands through the establishment of a permanently protected 56.79 acre preserve on their property just south of the project impact site. In addition, mitigation measures would include restoration of riparian habitat for a portion of Best Slough, plus enhancement and preservation of vernal pool habitat. This plan will ensure that the mitigation area will provide greater functions and values than the proposed impact waters of the United States on the project site. The conceptual mitigation restoration plan includes restoration of riparian habitat of Best Slough and vernal pool enhancement by installing appropriate fencing, proper grazing management, weed control, and revegetation. This parcel shall be protected by a conservation easement and corresponding endowment. The project will allow for the protection and restoration of approximately 5.78 acres of vernal pools and an approximately 1.68 acres of riparian habitat in perpetuity.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board is required for this project. The applicant shall be applying for this certification. Additionally, the applicant must obtain a non-exclusive easement for use of the Beale AFB rail spur from the United States Air Force. As well as an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit for their facility from the Yuba County Planning Department. The applicant must also gain approval of an at-grade rail crossing at Jasper Lane from the California Public Utilities Commission.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. 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 or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate. Species most likely of concern for this area are listed vernal pool species and the giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas).
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 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-2012-00310 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before 4 October 2013.
Kathy Norton, 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, the applicant’s consultant, Monk & Associates at 925-947-4867,0 or the Corps' project manager Kathy Norton, 916-557-5260, Kathy.Norton@usace.army.mil. Thank you.
Attachments: 18 drawings