Comments Period: April 24, 2015 – May 8, 2015
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Barrett Ranch East project, which would result in impacts to approximately 1.144 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands adjacent to Dry 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: Barrett Winn, LLC, Attn: Mr. George Carpenter, 3001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95816-4442
AGENT: Gibson & Skordal, LLC, Attn: Ms. Ginger Fodge, 2617 K Street, Suite 175, Sacramento, California 95816-5129
LOCATION: The approximately 127-acre site is located on undeveloped land on both the east and west sides of Don Julio Boulevard, immediately North of Antelope Road, in Section 20, Township 10 North, Range 6 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Latitude 38.70912° North, Longitude 121.34817° West, Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the CA-Citrus Heights USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to discharge approximately 1,900 cubic yards of fill material into approximately 1.144 acres of waters of the U.S., including 1.039 acres of vernal pools, 0.003 acres of seasonal wetland swales, 0.060 acres of drainage channel, and 0.042 acres of ditch, for the construction of a mixed-use development. The site contains an additional 0.725 acres of seasonal wetland swales, which the applicant proposes to avoid and place into an open space preserve area.
The proposed mixed-use, residential development would result in the construction of 496 single-family lots, two multi-family lots, two commercial center lots, 7.8 acres of parks, and 7.9 acres of open space. The project also includes the extension of Titan Drive to the existing intersection of Don Julio Boulevard and Poker Lane, and the connection of Antelope Road and Elverta Road. The applicant has stated that the basic project purpose is for residential development. The applicant believes there is a need for the proposed project. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. The proposed project site is situated on ruderal grasslands surrounded by commercial and residential developments, and ranges in elevations from approximately 120 to 155 feet above sea level. The site drains to the west and consists of gently hilly to undulating terrain. Historically, the site was utilized for livestock grazing, and portion of the property have been disked in recent years. Don Julio Boulevard bisects the property across the easternmost section of the site from north to south.
The western portion of the property is marked by low terraces that support annual grassland habitat dominated by yellow star-thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), wild oats (Avena fatua), rip-gut brome (Bromus diandrus), vetch (Vicia villosa), little quaking grass (Briza minor), and toad rush (Juncus bufonius). Other common species include Lemmon’s canary grass (Phalaris lemmonii), rusty popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys nothofulvus), filaree (Erodium sp.), soft chess (Bromus mollis), loosestrife (Lythrum hyssopifolia), and Italian rye grass (Lolium multiflorum).
The eastern portion of the property is marked by undulating hills and swales that support annual grassland habitat dominated by yellow star-thistle, wild oats, rip-gut brome, vetch, and toad rush. Other common species include Lemmon’s canary grass, rusty popcorn flower, filaree, soft chess, loosestrife, and Italian rye grass. Trees mainly occur along a wetland swale in the easternmost section of the property and consist of black willow (Salix nigra).
A total of 1.866 acres of waters of the U.S. are located on the proposed project site, including 1.039 acres of vernal pools, 0.725 acres of seasonal wetland swales, 0.060 acres of drainage channel, and 0.042 acres of ditch.
Ten vernal pool wetlands are located along the western boundary in the northern half of the site while most of the seasonal wetland swales are situated along the lower eastern edge. Observed plant species within these features included stalked popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys stipitatus), Carter’s buttercup (Ranunculus alveolatus), rabbit foot grass (Polypogon monspeliensis), seaside barley (Hordeum marinum), Italian ryegrass, little quaking grass, and/or curly dock (Rumex crispus).
Two seasonal wetland swales are located in the eastern section of the project site and receive nuisance water from the neighboring residential developments. The swales support willows and cottonwoods. A small seasonal wetland swale is located at the western side of the project site; this swale also receives nuisance water from the adjoining development to the west.
The intermittent channel crosses the southwest corner of the project site. It possesses a distinct bed and bank with an ordinary high water mark, and generally supports little to no vegetation.
Hydrology on the site is significantly influenced by drainage/run-off from the adjacent school and surrounding residential lands. Although the vernal pool wetlands are precipitation driven, the seasonal wetland swales in the eastern section of the project site receive nuisance water from the neighboring residential developments. The intermittent channel conveys nuisance water from residential developments located south of the project site, while the ditch was constructed to drain run-off from the irrigated playing fields associated with adjacent school.
Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning on-site and off-site 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 place 0.725 acres of seasonal wetland swales into an open space preserve area. In addition, the applicant has proposed compensatory mitigation for the loss of waters of the U.S. through the purchase of 0.105 acres of seasonal wetland swale/drainage ditch/channel credits, and 1.039 acres of vernal pool creation habitat credits, both at a 1:1 ratio, from a Corps approved mitigation bank.
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 indicated they have applied for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report titled, Determination of Eligibility and Effect for the Barrett Ranch East Project, Sacramento County, California), no cultural resources were identified 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 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-2011-00720 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before May 8, 2015.
Scarlett Vallaire, 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 Scarlett Vallaire, 916-557-7620, Scarlett.C.Vallaire@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 2 drawings