Comments Period: February 18, 2015 – March 18, 2015
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating three permit applications to construct the Regional University project, the Regional Community project, and the Regional University Backbone Infrastructure project, which would result in estimated total (for all three permit applications) permanent impacts to an estimated 15.7 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, adjacent to Curry 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.
|Placer University Project, LLC.
Attn: Mr. Mark Enes
1415 L Street, Suite 900
Sacramento, California 95814
|Placer University Community Property, LLC.
Attn: Mr. Mark Enes
1415 L Street, Suite 900
Sacramento, California 95814
|Placer County Planning Services Division
Attn: Mr. Michael Johnson
3091 County Center Drive
Auburn, California 95603
LOCATION: The approximately 1,157.7-acre site is located east of South Brewer Road, west of the City of Roseville, and south of Pleasant Grove Creek, in Sections 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 27, Township 11 North, Range 5 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 38.78424° North, Longitude 121.42710° West, in Placer County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Pleasant Grove USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Three permit applications have been submitted for development on the proposed project site, consisting of the Regional University, Regional Community, and Backbone Infrastructure.
Regional University: The proposed Regional University project would involve construction of a university campus on approximately 538 acres of the western portion of the proposed project site. The proposed university would include approximately 1,155 residential units for students and faculty, and 75 retirement housing units. Academic, administrative, athletic, stadium, and performing arts facilities are proposed to be constructed on the proposed project site. Proposed backbone infrastructure, including roadways, utilities and storm water infrastructure are proposed under the backbone infrastructure project and are not part of the proposed Regional University project. In addition, approximately 40 acres in the north-eastern corner of the site is proposed for a high school to serve approximately 1,200 students with 120 faculty and staff. However, the applicant has indicated that this 40-acre area may potentially be planned for another academic use, such as additional university use, a public school, private school, or other similar use consistent with the overall university concept. The proposed Regional University project would result in the permanent discharge of fill material into an estimated 9.03 acres of waters of the U.S., consisting of 3.71 acres of seasonal wetlands, 5.32 acres of vernal pools, and 0.29 acre of perennial drainage. In addition, the proposed Regional University project would result in the preservation of an estimated 21.77 acres of waters of the U.S., consisting of 0.28 acre of seasonal wetlands, 17.93 acres of vernal pools, and 3.57 acres of perennial drainages within an on-site preserve as shown on the attached drawings. . The applicant has indicated that there is a need to construct a four-year university that would accommodate approximately 6,000 students with 800 professors and staff, with appurtenant buildings in south-western Placer County.
Regional Community: The proposed Regional Community project would involve construction of a mixed-use development on approximately 420 acres of the eastern portion of the proposed project site. The mixed-use development would include low, medium, and high density residential communities, commercial mixed-use buildings, commercial planned development, three public space areas, two schools, and six neighborhood parks. Roadways, utilities, and storm water infrastructure that are not part of the proposed Backbone Infrastructure application are also proposed as part of the Regional Community project++0+*/. The proposed Regional Community project would result in the permanent discharge of fill material into an estimated 0.74 acre of waters of the U.S., consisting of a perennial drainage. The applicant has indicated that there is a need to construct a mixed-use development in south-western Placer County.
Backbone Infrastructure: The proposed Backbone Infrastructure project would involve the construction of storm water improvements, roadways, and utility improvements that would serve the proposed Regional University and Regional Commercial projects…. The proposed backbone infrastructure project would result in permanent discharge of fill material into an estimated 5.64 acres of waters of the U.S., including 1.13 acres of seasonal wetlands, 0.80 acre of vernal pools, 0.25 acre of intermittent drainage, and 3.47 acres of perennial features. The applicant has indicated that there is a need to construct the backbone infrastructure necessary to support the proposed Regional University and Regional Commercial projects. Components of the proposed backbone infrastructure project are as follows and shown on the attached drawings:
Storm Water Improvements: The primary proposed storm water improvements would involve the use of excavated channelized basins adjacent to existing stream channels and lake storage in the project site, as well as the construction of storm water quality basins, constructed wetland areas, and channelized detention upstream of regulating culvert facilities. A proposed lake storm water peak flow area is proposed to be constructed within the open space adjacent and east of South Brewer Road. The lake would provide conveyance and storage volumes necessary to contain the proposed development impacts for peak flow rates and volumetric contributions. West of South Brewer Road, the applicant has proposed to construct a detention basin that directly connects to the lake area, so as to operate at a similar elevation as the lake, to provide both detention and retention storage. The basin would cover approximately 20 acres immediately west of South Brewer Road. Within existing drainage channels and irrigation canals, the applicant is proposing to excavate below the existing grade, and would daylight at the downstream end to natural grades at the property boundaries. A primary low-flow channel is proposed to be created to provide positive drainage within the open space network, generally flowing from east to west. On-site storm water improvements are proposed to be designed to provide water quality treatment of runoff from paved and other developed areas prior to release into the swales and streams. Basins to detain/retain water volume during storm events and provide water quality improvement are proposed to be constructed within the proposed open space network. These storm water quality basin facilities would require permanent maintenance to ensure proper operation, and that storm water flows are treated to the maximum extent practicable. Waters of the U.S. located within or adjacent to the proposed open space network of the proposed project include perennial drainages associated with channelized reaches of North and South Curry Creek. These perennial drainages are proposed to be relocated and reconfigured to contain storm flows and follow a natural meandering pattern.
Roadways: The proposed backbone infrastructure project would include the construction of several roadways, the majority of which would have co-located buried utility lines and storm drains within their footprints. Along the proposed Watt Avenue extension on the eastern portion of the proposed project site, the proposed roadway improvements would follow the existing footprint of unimproved dirt roads currently used for agricultural activities. Construction of this roadway section is proposed to result in impacts to North and South Curry Creeks, vernal pools, and seasonal wetlands. Where lower elevations exist adjacent to the development of roadways, adequate fill slopes are proposed to provide grading stability. The proposed project would connect to the future regional transportation and infrastructure system of Watt Avenue, Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Baseline Road, and Placer Parkway at Watt Avenue. Primary access to the proposed project site would be through an extension of Watt Avenue from Base Line Road (Santucci Boulevard) and an extension of Pleasant Grove Boulevard from the east. The proposed extension of Watt Avenue would extend from the southern perimeter of the proposed project site, intersect University Avenues in the center, and continue north until intersecting access roads that would connect to Phillip Road. Off-site portions of Watt Avenue south of the proposed project site are proposed to be constructed as part of the Sierra Vista Specific Plan, while on-site portions of Watt Avenue are part of this proposed project.
Within the proposed Regional University Specific Plan, University Avenue would provide primary access to the Regional University project, and would generally run in an east-to-west direction. University Avenue is proposed as a four-lane roadway that would connect to 16th Avenue, which would be constructed in a north-to-south alignment immediately east of the proposed university. An additional roadway is proposed to be constructed from University Avenue to a common public infrastructure parcel within the proposed project site. An emergency access road is proposed to be constructed immediately north and east of the proposed Regional University, in order to provide for additional emergency access to the site.
Utility Improvements: The proposed project would involve underground infrastructure corridors to accommodate utilities, such as sewer, water, recycled water, natural gas, electric, cable and telephone. Utility segments would consist of buried transmission lines, drainage lines and surface drainage courses. In the majority of cases, proposed utilities would be buried (co-located) within proposed road footprints. In cases where a proposed utility line would not be buried beneath proposed roads, the utility line is shown as a separate infrastructure element. Utility alignments proposed to occur outside of the road footprint includes a force main that is proposed to extend from a proposed pump station near the eastern portion of the Regional Community site at 16th Street, to an existing wastewater treatment plant on Phillips Road. This force main is proposed to be constructed within a portion of the footprint of the existing channelized section of North Curry Creek (see Figure…). The utility improvements are proposed to be conducted by directional drilling and/or trenching, resulting in primarily temporary impacts to waters of the U.S.
Environmental Setting. The proposed project site is located within an area that has historically been used for agricultural purposes. In recent years, agricultural activities on the site have primarily consisted of rye and rice production. Portions of the site, primarily to the west, are fallow, and other portions of the site, primarily to the east, are currently graded and “checked” for active rice cultivation. The topography and hydrology of the areas previously utilized for rice production have been highly modified as a result of the construction of a network of ditches and canals that support the rice fields. The proposed project site has minimal topographic relief, and generally slopes from east to west at a gentle gradient. The majority of surface runoff drains from east to west through two channelized perennial channels that are unnamed tributaries to Curry Creek, which have been modified to support irrigation and drainage needs for rice production. In the south-western portion of the site, vernal pools were previously constructed as compensatory mitigation for past development projects in the area.
A wetland delineation has not yet been submitted for the proposed project site. However, the application estimates that the proposed project site contains approximately 37.47 acres of potential waters of the U.S., consisting of 5.12 acres of seasonal wetlands, 24.05 acres of vernal pools, 0.25 acres of intermittent drainages and 8.06 acres of perennial drainages. When submitted, the Corps will evaluate the wetland delineation and complete a preliminary or approved jurisdictional determination. Based on the preliminary or approved JD, the acreage of waters of the U.S. on the proposed project site and the acreage of proposed impacts may change.
Alternatives. The applicant has not 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 preserve an estimated 21.77 acres of waters of the U.S., consisting of 17.93 acres of vernal pools, 0.28 acre of seasonal wetlands and 3.57 acres of perennial drainages within an on-site preserve. Portions of perennial drainages proposed to be placed into the open space preserve are proposed to be modified as described above in the backbone infrastructure project. In order to compensate for impacts to waters of the U.S., the applicant has proposed the establishment (creation)/restoration of vernal pools and other waters at a 1:1 ratio and preservation of vernal pools at a 2:1 ratio. The proposed compensatory mitigation would be accomplished through either purchase of credits from a Corps approved mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program, or through permittee-responsible on-site or off-site establishment and/or restoration. If the Placer County Conservation Plan (PCCP), which is currently proposed by Placer County, is approved by Federal, state, and local agencies, the applicant proposes to mitigate in accordance with the requirements of the PCCP.
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 not indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: No information has been submitted yet regarding cultural resources within the project’s area of potential effect. 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, and/or their critical habitat. 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 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-2004-00756 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before March 19, 2015.
Lisa Gibson, Regulatory Permit Specialist
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' Regulatory Permit Specialist Lisa Gibson, 916-557-5288, Lisa.M.Gibson2@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 26 drawings