Comments Period: November 20, 2015 – December 21, 2015
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the West False River Salinity Barrier (WFRSB) project, which would result in impacts to approximately 2.49 acres of waters of the United States, in West False River. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: California Department of Water Resources, Attn: Mr. Paul Marshall, 1416 9th Street, Room 215-37, Sacramento, California 95814-5511
LOCATION: The approximately 4.44-acre project site is located on West False River approximately 0.4 mile east of its confluence with the San Joaquin River, between Jersey and Bradford Islands, Latitude 38.05771°, Longitude -121.67156°, approximately 4.8 miles north-east of the City of Oakley, Contra Costa County, California, and can be seen on the CA-JERSEY ISLAND USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is proposing a rock salinity barrier in West False River to preserve water quality and protect municipal and agricultural water supplies. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to maintain water quality in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta (Delta) from drought related saltwater intrusion. DWR would construct a rock barrier across West False River between Jersey and Bradford Islands. The barrier would be approximately 800 feet long and up to 200 feet wide at the base, and 12 feet wide at the top. The top of the structure would be at an elevation of 7 feet across the entire crest. The barrier would include two king pile-supported sheet pile walls extending from each levee into the channel for a distance of 75 feet. The project would impact approximately 2.49 acres of West False River.
The WFRSB would consist of the following structures:
► Barrier Abutments: Eight (or four pairs) 36-inch-diameter king piles extending out from each levee into the West False River channel for a total length of approximately 75 feet.
► Seventy (or 35 pairs) sheet piles totaling approximately 160 wall feet (including approximately 5 feet on either side that would be in the levee). DWR would attach horizontal whalers to the piles for strength and stability.
► Buoy Line Anchors: Four 12-inch steel pipe piles.
The barrier was installed at the same location this year (2015) with construction commencing on May 7, 2015, with the barrier completely removed on November 15, 2015. This installation was authorized under Emergency Procedures.
The attached drawings provide additional project details.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 2.49-acres of open water channel within the project area. The site is characterized by tidally influenced open water channel with rip-rap protected levees on either bank. The project is located in rural Contra Costa County and adjacent land use includes agriculture, recreational boating marinas and rural housing.
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. Project related impacts would be temporary in nature. Project related impacts to waters of the United States would be temporary in nature. The applicant has proposed to remove the barrier from the waterway by November 30. 2016. Additionally, the applicant has proposed monitoring water quality while the barrier is in place.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the WFRSB is required for this project. The applicant has not indicated they have applied for certification.
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 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-2014-00187 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before December 21, 2015.
William Guthrie, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
California South Branch, 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 William Guthrie, 916-557-5269, William.H.Guthrie@usace.army.mil.