SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the McClure Point Boat Launch Facility project, which would result in impacts to approximately 2.03 acres of waters of the United States. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments. This notice may also be viewed at the Corps web site at www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: Merced Irrigation District, Attn: Mr. Bryan Kelly, 744 West 20th Street, Merced, California 95340
LOCATION: The 13.68-acre site is located on Lake McClure, in Section 1, Township 4 South, Range 15 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 37.6089°, Longitude -120.2703°, Mariposa County, California, and can be seen on the CA-MERCED FALLS USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to discharge dredged and/or fill material into approximately 2.03 acres of Lake McClure to construct a boat launching facility, with a two-lane boat launching ramp, slope protection, a boarding float, a parking area, sidewalks, curbs, lighting, a modular restroom, and utilities. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to accommodate increased boating activity on the lake. The applicant believes there is a need to expand the boat launching accommodations at the lake because the existing ramp is often congested and will back-up for extended periods of time while boats are being launched and hauled. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 7.42 acres of Lake McClure within the project area. The areas on-site that are above of the ordinary high water mark of Lake McClure are characterized by gently sloping topography covered with upland, annual grasses and sparse stands of live oak trees. Though no concrete was poured, large portions of the project site were previously developed into roads, a parking area, and a smaller, existing boat ramp.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives, including five on-site alternatives that were rejected by the applicant. One of these alternatives was rejected due to the increased risk of damage to the boat ramp. Another alternative was rejected because the applicant believes it would have the potential to increase risks to health and safety. The remaining three alternatives were rejected because they would cause greater environmental impacts then the applicant’s preferred alternative. 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 that the net increase of 2.5 acre-feet of waters within Lake McClure would be sufficient to mitigate for the project’s impacts to waters.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: A water quality certification, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, was issued for this project by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board on July 23, 2014.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report entitled Merced River Hydroelectric Project Relicensing (FERC No. 2179) Summary Report), potentially eligible cultural resources may be affected by the proposed project. The Merced Irrigation District, has been designated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as its non-federal representative for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and they will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project will not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
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-2014-00211 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before October 22, 2014.
Jason Deters, 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 Jason Deters, 916-557-7152, Jason.Deters@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 20 drawings