SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a proposal to establish the Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank adjacent to the Sacramento River in the HUC 18020104 watershed. 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. A copy of the Applicant’s Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank prospectus is available online at the following location https://rsgisias.crrel.usace.army.mil/ribits/
AUTHORITY: This prospectus is being evaluated under 33 CFR Part 332.8.
APPLICANT: Westervelt Ecological Services, 600 North Market Boulevard, Suite 3, Sacramento, CA 95834
LOCATION: The 119.65-acre site is located on the Sacramento River, Section 7, Township 12 N, Range 2 E, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 38.9°, Longitude -121.8°, Yolo County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Kirkville USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to establish an approximately 116.24-acre mitigation bank. The proposed bank is focused primarily on restoring natural hydrology to the Sacramento River floodplain for salmonids and enhance Swainson’s Hawk habitat. The Bank Property was specifically chosen for development as a mitigation bank because of several key factors necessary for successful salmonid habitat and riparian ecosystem restoration including appropriate landscape position, hydrology, soils and surface elevation. The riparian ecosystem and backwater channels require access to flood flows, which can be reintroduced to the property by a strategic breach in the existing farm berm. Furthermore, this site historically possessed silty loam to fine sandy loam soils, which had seasonal water depths of three feet and traditionally supported riparian habitats. The proposed crediting system is shown on the attached table.
The following activities are proposed:
- Recontouring the existing agricultural field located at the southwest corner of the Bank Property to create backwater channels and hummocks to promote restoration of natural processes and to increase habitat support functions for salmonids during key migratory time periods.
- Conducting riparian shrub and tree plantings on the northern, less frequently flooded portions of the site, to promote rapid development of riparian avifauna habitat.
- Breaching the existing farm berm to allow reconnection of the floodplain to the Sacramento River.
- Promoting natural regeneration within the existing riparian habitat along the perimeter of the farm berm.
- Minimizing trespass of the site.
- Restoring a complex of off-channel rearing and riparian habitats for salmonids in place of the existing agricultural field.
The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 8.574 acres of riparian wetlands within the proposed bank site. The site is characterized by a gently sloping floodplain terrace supporting scattered riparian trees and shrubs such as Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), Valley oak (Quercus lobata), and box elder (Acer negundo) with an understory of perennial forbs and annual grasses.
A Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 Clean Water Act will be required for temporary impacts associated with breaching the existing berm. Permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (“Section 408”) will also be needed for the work.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Inter-agency Review Team responsible for the review and approval of the proposed mitigation bank include representatives from the Corps, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report entitled Determination of Eligibility and Effect for the Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank Project Area, Yolo County, California, no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect..
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect Federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. Central California Valley steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are known from the area. There is one elderberry bush in the existing riparian area that could support Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), but the bush is not located in active restoration area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat. 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 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 assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2014-00381 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 19, 2014.
Kathleen Dadey, Chief California South Branch
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, CA 95814
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 (Kathleen Dadey, 916-557-7253, Kathleen.A.Dadey@usace.army.mil).
Attachments: Five drawings and one table