SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the proposed Murphy Glen Estates Project, which would result in the permanent loss of 4.633 acres of waters of the U.S., including wetlands. 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: Winn Communities
Attn: Mr. Jason Belles
3001 I Street, Suite 300
Sacramento, California 95816
AGENT: ECORP Consulting, Inc.
Attn: Mr. Brian Mayerle
2525 Warren Drive
Rocklin, California 95677
LOCATION: The approximately 4.6-acre site is located east of Bradshaw Road, north of Oxform Lane, south of Florin Road, in Section 4, Township 7 North, Range 6 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 38.48709° North, Longitude 121.33026° West, in Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Elk Grove USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed project would result in the discharge of fill material into 4.633 acres of waters of the U.S., including 2.146 acres of vernal pools, 1.328 acres of seasonal wetlands, 1.072 acres of seasonal wetland swales, and 0.087 acre of ditches for the construction of a residential development. Proposed development would include 3.7 acres of low-density, single-family residential units, 8.1 acres of multi-family residential units, and 0.2 acre of streets and landscaped areas. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a residential development. The applicant believes there is a need for housing in the area. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The proposed project site contains approximately 4.633 acres of waters of the U.S., including 2.146 acres of vernal pools, 1.328 acres of seasonal wetlands, 1.072 acres of seasonal wetland swales, and 0.087 acre of ditches. Site topography is fairly flat and at an elevation of approximately 65 feet above mean sea level. Dominant soil types include San Joaquin silt loam, 0-3% slopes, San Joaquin silt loam, 3-8% slopes, and San Joaquin-Galt complex, 0-3% slopes. While none of the soil typeson-site are considered hydric, each contains inclusions of hydric soils.
The proposed project site is primarily comprised of non-native upland vegetation such as soft brome (Bromus hordeaceus), Italian ryegrass (Festuca perennis), wild oat (Avena fatua), rose clover (Trifolium hirtum), and barley (Hordeum murinum). Vernal pools on the site are dominated by wetland vegetation, including slender popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys stipitatus), bractless hedge-hyssop (Gratiola ebracteata), annual hairgrass (Deschampsia danthonioides), dwarf wooly heads (Psilocarphus brevissimus), Fremont’s goldfields (Lasthenia fremontii), and Great Valley button celery (Eryngium castrense). Seasonal wetlands and the seasonal wetland swale are dominated by mannagrass (Glyceria declinata), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), Italian ryegrass, Mediterranean barley, toad rush (Juncus bufonius), prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare), Mediterranean barley (Hordeum marinum), annual rabbit-foot grass (Polypogon monspeliensis), and curly dock (Rumex crispus). In addition, the seasonal wetland swale on the site contains willow (Salix spp.), and Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii).
Background. The proposed project site is located within the North Vineyard Station Specific Plan Area, which encompasses approximately 1,590 acres of the Vineyard Community Plan Area. On September 23, 2005, the Corps issued a public notice for impacts to 4.532 acres of waters of the U.S. on the proposed project site. On October 3, 2005, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) appended the proposed project to their February 28, 1996, Programmatic Formal Endangered Species Act Consultation on Issuance of 404 Permits for Projects with Relatively Small Effects on Listed Vernal Pool Crustaceans Within the Jurisdiction of the Sacramento Field Office. The 2005 application was withdrawn on February 11, 2008, due to a change in the owner of the property.
Since issuance of the 2005 public notice, the project size has increased by 0.3 acres, resulting in an additional 0.101 acres of waters of the U.S. (0.024-acre increase in vernal pools and 0.087 acres of a ditch, and 0.010-acre decrease in seasonal wetlands) on the proposed project site.
Alternatives. The applicant has not provided information concerning project alternatives with the current permit application. 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 fill all waters of the U.S. on the proposed project site, and has not proposed any measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. The applicant has proposed to compensate for impacts to endangered species, vernal pools, and seasonal wetlands off-site, at a Corps and USFWS approved mitigation facility through the purchase of preservation credits at a 2:1 ratio, and restoration/creation credits at a 1:1 ratio.
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 submitted by the applicant, no cultural resources were 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: On October 3, 2005, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) appended the proposed project to their February 28, 1996, Programmatic Formal Endangered Species Act Consultation on Issuance of 404 Permits for Projects with Relatively Small Effects on Listed Vernal Pool Crustaceans Within the Jurisdiction of the Sacramento Field Office. The Corps will initiate consultation with the USFWS, as necessary, for additional impacts to vernal pool crustaceans not included in the 2005 consultation.
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-2004-00814 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 26, 2014.
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.