Comments Period: January 22, 2015 – February 20, 2015
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Knights Landing Ridge Cut (KLRC) Levee Improvement Project, which would result in impacts to approximately 5.55 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in drainage ditches adjacent to Knights Landing Ridge Cut. 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: Knights Landing Drainage District, Attn: Lewis Bair, P.O. Box 50, Grimes, California 95950
LOCATION: The 222-acre site is located on Knights Landing Ridge Cut, in Sections 24, 25 and 36, Township 11 North, Range 2 East and Section 32, Township 11 North, Range 3 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, centered at approximately, Latitude 38.7695°, Longitude -121.7010°, Yolo County, California, and can be seen on the CA-KNIGHTS LANDING USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to improve approximately 3.5 miles of existing levee on KLRC. The proposed project would result in permanent effects to approximately 0.04 acre of seasonal wetland and 4.63 acres of non-wetland waters of the United States. Permanent effects to the seasonal wetland are the result of fill of a small area of seasonal wetland along the landside toe of the KLRC east levee. This area would be filled because it is within the footprint of the proposed berm to be constructed on the landside of the levee. Permanent effects to the non-wetland waters of the United States are a result of the filling of existing ditches, two being filled in and replaced with dry land, and two others being filled and modified to improve connection to the proposed replacement ditch. Approximately 0.86 acre of the existing ditches would be temporarily affected during connection of the existing ditches to the new relocated ditch. Approximately 0.02 acre of temporary effects would also occur to a seasonal wetland as a result of construction of the borrow site haul road from the western levee of the upper Yolo Bypass to the proposed borrow site. The temporary road would be restored and the grade re-contoured after borrow activities are completed.
Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to improve flood protection. The applicant believes there is a need to repair the existing levee to alleviate the potential for levee failure and subsequent flooding. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 0.23 acres of seasonal wetlands and 73.43 acres of other water bodies comprised of Knights Landing Ridge Cut and several drainage ditches within the 222-acre project area. The site is characterized by agricultural lands, primarily cultivated row crops.
Alternatives. All reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment, will be considered. 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.
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 replace permanently impacted drainage ditches with new larger drainage ditches shifted approximately 43 feet away from the existing ditch locations.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification, 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 obtained the required certification in October 2014.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: 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 or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or 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 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-2014-00130 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 20, 2015.
Marc Fugler, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
California South Branch
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 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' project manager Marc Fugler, 916-557-5255, Marc.A.Fugler@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 4 drawings