Comment Period: May 1, 2015 – June 15, 2015
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) has prepared a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects associated with the No Action alternative and three large-scale, mixed-use development alternatives in the Mather Specific Plan area, Sacramento County, California.
In June 2012, the Corps published the Mather Specific Plan Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which was circulated for a 45-day public review period from June 29, 2012 to August 13, 2012. Following publication of the DEIS, a re-delineation of waters of the U.S. was conducted within the Mather Specific Plan Area (“project site”), which added aquatic features and revised the shape or size of other aquatic features within the project site. USACE jurisdictional features identified within the project site increased from 198.5 acres to 208.8 acres.
The Corps has determined that the increased acreage of waters of the U.S. identified within the project site represents significant new information relevant to environmental concerns and that circulation of a SDEIS would further the purposes of NEPA. As this information relates to the biological and aquatic resources sections of the DEIS, USACE has determined that these sections should be recirculated.
This notice is to inform interested parties of the availability of the SDEIS and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: The three build alternatives analyzed in the DEIS and SDEIS would require authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
LOCATION: The approximately 5,749-acre Mather Specific Plan area is located generally north of Kiefer Boulevard, south of Mather Road, west of the Folsom South Canal and east of Old Placerville Road/Happy Lane in eastern Sacramento County, California (see Figure 1).
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the DEIS and SDEIS is to provide decision-makers and the public with information pertaining to the four alternatives, disclose environmental impacts and identify mitigation measures to reduce impacts. The DEIS and SDEIS were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Corps’ regulations for NEPA implementation at 33 Code of Federal Regulations parts 230 and 325 Appendix B. The Corps is the lead federal agency responsible for complying with NEPA and information contained in the EIS serves as the basis for decisions regarding issuance of Department of the Army permits.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Sacramento County Office of Economic Development and Marketing (applicant) is seeking authorization from USACE for the placement of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to develop portions of the Mather Specific Plan area. The overall project purpose is a large scale, mixed use development to promote economic and wetland conservation opportunities within the Mather Specific Plan area. All of the action alternatives include the following land uses: airport commercial, commercial development, parks and recreation, aggregate extraction, university village/residential, regional sports park and infrastructure, including roadways.
Alternative A, the Applicant’s Preferred Alternative, includes approximately 1,914 acres of development a 1,272-acre Preserve and a 13-acre riparian buffer area. The applicant proposes to fill a total of 48.28 acres of waters of the U.S., including seasonal wetlands, vernal pools and swales, channels and drainage ditches. The preserved areas would provide protection for wetlands (including vernal pools) and endangered species, including vernal pool fairy shrimp, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, and legenere. The Preserve would also protect federally listed critical habitat.
Alternative B is based on a land use plan for the Mather Specific Plan area that was conceptually endorsed by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in February 2006. Alternative B includes a 1,063-acre Preserve and 27 acre riparian buffer area which would provide protection for wetlands and endangered species. This alternative anticipates development of approximately 2,017 acres. Alternative B also includes four “avoidance areas” totaling 93 acres within the parks and recreation and university village/residential areas. Impacts to waters of the U.S. associated with Alternative B would be 47.62 acres.
Alternative C proposes land uses identical to Alternative A with the addition of three smaller Preserves within the commercial development and university village/residential areas, with a total of 41.11 acres of fill into waters of the U.S. Alternative C would develop approximately 1,843 acres and includes 1,343 acres of Preserve and 13 acres of riparian buffer. Preserve areas would provide protection for wetlands and endangered species.
Alternative D, No Action/No USACE permit, avoids the placement of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. A reduced amount of future development could occur without Department of the Army authorization, including infill development at Mather Airport and aggregate extraction in the southwestern corner of the project site. Because this alternative does not anticipate substantial economic development and related revenue to fund active management of a Preserve, however, the level of protection and management of wetland resources, listed species and their habitat is unknown.
Comments on the SDEIS must be submitted to the Corps by June 15, 2015. The public and affected federal, state and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other organizations and individuals are invited to comment. An electronic copy of the SDEIS may be found on the Corps’ website at: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/EnvironmentalImpactStatements.aspx. A hard copy of the SDEIS is available for review at the Corps office during normal business hours. To schedule a time to view the hard copy, please contact Kathleen Dadey.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the Applicant’s Preferred and other alternatives on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. All factors which may be relevant 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 alternatives’ 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 the Applicant’s Preferred and other alternatives. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for the Applicant’s Preferred Alternative. 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 also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed work.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2002-00561 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 15, 2015.
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 Kathleen Dadey, 916-557-7253, Kathleen.A.Dadey@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 5 drawings