SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the EchoWater Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 1.59 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, near Laguna Creek. 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: Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District
Attn: Mr. Vick Kyotani
8521 Laguna Station Road
Elk Grove, California 95758
Phone: (916) 875-9001
LOCATION: The approximately 580-acre site is located at 8521 Laguna Station Road, near Laguna Creek, in Section 20, Township 7 North, Range 5 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 38.44864°, Longitude -121.46369°, Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Florin, California USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD), is proposing to upgrade existing Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) facilities to meet the wastewater treatment needs of the greater Sacramento area and comply with updated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements for discharge of treated effluent. In addition to implementing upgrades for existing primary and secondary treatment facilities, tertiary treatment facilities would be constructed. Facility improvements would result in an improvement of treated effluent water quality; however, the new facilities would not increase treatment capacity. Implementation of the proposed project would result occur within an approximately 427-acre construction footprint, and would result in the permanent fill (loss) of approximately 1.59 acres of potential waters of the U.S. (WOUS). Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities at an existing wastewater treatment plant. The applicant believes there is a need to upgrade the SRWTP’s facilities in order to comply with water quality discharge regulatory requirements of the facility’s NPDES permit. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The approximately 580-acre project area lies within a larger 3,500-acre property owned by the SRCSD. The project area is characterized by existing SRWTP wastewater treatment facilities and undeveloped parcels supporting ruderal grassland, ditches and wetlands. Elevation of the project area ranges from approximately 13 to 25 feet above mean sea level, with relatively flat topography. There are approximately 2.68 acres of potential WOUS within the project area, pending the Corps’ verification of the applicant’s request for a “Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination” (PJD) in accordance with Regulatory Guidance Letter (RGL) 08-02. Potential WOUS consist of 0.5 acre of seasonal wetlands, and 2.18 acres of ditches.
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 impacts to 1.09 acres (or about 40%) of the 2.68 acres of potential WOUS on the project site. The applicant has proposed to compensate for permanent impacts to 1.59 acres of potential WOUS by purchasing 1.5 acres of vernal pool creation/restoration credits, and 3.0 acres of vernal pool preservation credits, at Corps and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-approved mitigation banks, respectively. The applicant assumes that approximately 1.5 acres of the potential WOUS on the project site provide suitable habitat for federally-listed vernal pool species. Approximately 0.09 acre of permanent impact to an ephemeral ditch is proposed to be compensated for by purchase of “out of kind” vernal pool preservation credits from a Corps-approved mitigation bank.
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 indicated that an application for Section 401 certification is currently under preparation.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, and the applicant's report entitled Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District Waste Water Treatment Facility: Cultural Resources Inventory (Environmental Science Associates, April 2013), 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 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-2012-00544 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 27, 2014.
Mary Pakenham-Walsh, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922 E
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 Mary Pakenham-Walsh, 916-557-7718, Mary.R.Pakenham-Walsh@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 4 drawings