Comments Period: December 5, 2014 – December 20, 2014
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Lennar Residential Tracts 6025/6034 project, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 0.38 acre and temporary impacts to approximately 0.02 acre of waters of the United States (U.S.), along Dog 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: Lennar Fresno, Inc, Attn: Mr. Mike Miller, 8080 N Palm Avenue, Suite 110, Fresno, California 93711-5797
LOCATION: The 133-acre site is located on Dog Creek, bounded by E. Shaw Avenue, N. Highland Avenue, Gettysburg Avenue, and Leonard Avenue, in Section 13, Township 13 South, Range 21 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 36.80490°, Longitude -119.63197°, Clovis, Fresno County, California, and can be seen on the Clovis USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to relocate and widen approximately 0.38 acre (3,500 linear feet) of the Dog Creek channel in order to develop a medium-density residential development consisting of approximately 514 single-family homes on an approximately 133-acre site. The proposed project would be implemented in two construction phases.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct a large scale medium-density residential subdivision (> 450 units) within the northeast Fresno or Clovis area of Fresno County. The applicant believes there is a need to meet the regional housing needs. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There is approximately 0.46 acre (4,652 linear feet) of other waters of the U.S. within the project area. The site is characterized by agricultural lands, consisting of both active and fallow fields. Dog Creek crosses through the site from north to south, starting as a small swale through a disced field before entering a straightened trapezoidal channel with steep side slopes (1:1). An irrigation ditch is located along the southern boundary and connects to Dog Creek before exiting the site.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning onsite and offsite 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 relocate Dog Creek into an approximately 25-foot wide channel within an approximately 80-foot wide corridor, which includes riparian trees and a pedestrian trail. The corridor would generally follow the existing path of Dog Creek through the site. The channel would maintain flows and serve as part of the regional flood control system. The approximately 0.38 acre (3,500 linear feet) of Dog Creek would be replaced by the new channel measuring approximately 1.35 acres (2,240 linear feet).
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 applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report entitled A Cultural Resource Survey of the Tracts 6025/6034 Residential Development, City of Clovis Fresno County, California), no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. The California State Historic Preservation Officer concurred with the Corps’ determination on October 14, 2014.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined that the project would not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. No additional consultation is required for this project pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would 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-2014-00532 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before December 20, 2014.
Zachary Simmons, 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 Zachary Simmons, 916-557-6746, Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 6 drawings