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Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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San Francisco, California 94103-1398

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The Public Notices are listed in chronological order, with the most recent at the top. There is a link to the right of the current list to access PNs issued in prior years. Click on the file number to view a synopsis of the Public Notice you are interested in, or you can directly open the PN document in pdf format by clicking the link listed in the Attachments box for that file. In many cases, the project plans have been linked separately from the PN document to reduce download time. These files are in pdf format. To read the files you may need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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SPN-2012-00335S Santa Margarita Quarry Expansion

Posted: 3/31/2017

Expiration date: 5/1/2017


 

1.         INTRODUCTION:  Terry Marshall of Hanson Aggregates (POC: Mark Kalnins of WRA, Inc., 415-454-8868), 7675 North Ingram Avenue, Suite 104, Fresno, California 93711, has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), San Francisco District, for a Department of the Army Permit to remove a jurisdictional water of the United States associated with the expansion of the Santa Margarita Quarry, located approximately three miles northeast of the community of Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo County, California.  This Department of the Army permit application is being processed pursuant to the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. § 1344 et seq.).

 

2.         PROPOSED PROJECT:

 

Project Site Location:  The project is located at 16815 El Camino Real, approximately three miles northeast of the community of Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo County, California (APN 070-131-003 and 070-141-054, Township 29S, Range 13E, Section 9, on the Santa Margarita, CA, USGS 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle, Latitude: 35.422436 °N, Longitude: -120.575444 °W) (Figures 1 & 2).

 

Project Site Description:  The project area is bordered to the east by an existing quarry pit, to the west by a currently open space that is planned for future quarry expansion, and to the north and south by open space. The project area and surrounding open space areas consists of chamise chaparral, northern mixed chaparral and coast live oak woodland. The Salinas River and its associated wetlands are located to the north and east of the project area, flowing in a northerly direction, and are the only other jurisdictional waters in the vicinity of the project area. The jurisdictional feature proposed to be removed is an ephemeral tributary to the Salinas River. It is 1,395 feet long with an average width of 2.5 feet and constitutes 0.08 acres

 

Project Description:  As shown in the attached drawings, the applicant proposes to remove 1,395 linear feet of the ephemeral tributary for the expansion of the existing hard-rock aggregate mining operation (Figures 3-5). The tributary would be removed via the following process: vegetation removal, topsoil salvaging and over burden stripping, blasting, shot rock extraction and transport, and material processing.  The area would ultimately be mined using blasting methods.

 

Basic Project Purpose: The basic project purpose comprises the fundamental, essential, or irreducible purpose of the project, and is used by USACE to determine whether the project is water dependent. The basic project purpose is to expand the Santa Margarita Quarry.

 

Overall Project Purpose:  The overall project purpose serves as the basis for the Section 404(b)(1) alternatives analysis, and is determined by further defining the basic project purpose in a manner that more specifically describes the applicant's goals for the project, while allowing a reasonable range of alternatives to  be analyzed.  The overall project purpose is to maintain a local, reliable and economic source of high-quality construction aggregates to serve market demands in San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast region

 

Project Impacts:  The proposed project would permanently remove 1,395 linear feet (0.08 acres) of ephemeral stream.

 

Proposed Mitigation:  The applicant has proposed to preserve up to 156 acres of high quality habitat containing ephemeral, intermittent and perennial streams, riparian woodland, coast live oak woodland, blue oak woodland, and chaparral, on lands adjacent to the quarry. This is a preliminary mitigation strategy, and the applicant is working with resource agencies to incorporate an enhancement component into the mitigation plan. 

 

3.         STATE AND LOCAL APPROVALS:

 

Water Quality Certification:  State water quality certification or a waiver is a prerequisite for the issuance of a Department of the Army Permit to conduct any activity which may result in a fill or pollutant discharge into waters of the United States, pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. § 1341 et seq.).  The applicant has recently submitted an application to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) to obtain water quality certification for the project.  No Department of the Army Permit will be issued until the applicant obtains the required certification or a waiver of certification.  A waiver can be explicit, or it may be presumed, if the RWQCB fails or refuses to act on a complete application for water quality certification within 60 days of receipt, unless the District Engineer determines a shorter or longer period is a reasonable time for the RWQCB to act.

 

Water quality issues should be directed to the Executive Officer, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Coast Region, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo, California 93401, by the close of the comment period.

 

Coastal Zone Management:  Section 307(c) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1456(c) et seq.), requires a non-Federal applicant seeking a federal license or permit to conduct any activity occurring in or affecting the coastal zone to obtain a Consistency Certification that indicates the activity conforms with the State’s coastal zone management program.  Generally, no federal license or permit will be granted until the appropriate State agency has issued a Consistency Certification or has waived its right to do so.  The project does not occur in the coastal zone, and a preliminary review by USACE indicates the project would not likely affect coastal zone resources. This presumption of effect, however, remains subject to a final determination by the California Coastal Commission.

 

Other Local Approvals:  The applicant has obtained a Conditional Use Permit issued from San Luis Obispo County, and has applied for a 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement to be issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  

 

4.         COMPLIANCE WITH VARIOUS FEDERAL LAWS:

 

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA):  Upon review of the Department of the Army permit application and other supporting documentation, USACE has made a preliminary determination that the project neither qualifies for a Categorical Exclusion nor requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the purposes of NEPA.  At the conclusion of the public comment period, USACE will assess the environmental impacts of the project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4347), the Council on Environmental Quality's Regulations at 40 C.F.R. Parts 1500‑1508, and USACE Regulations at 33 C.F.R. Part 325.  The final NEPA analysis will normally address the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that result from regulated activities within the jurisdiction of USACE and other non-regulated activities USACE determines to be within its purview of Federal control and responsibility to justify an expanded scope of analysis for NEPA purposes. The final NEPA analysis will be incorporated in the decision documentation that provides the rationale for issuing or denying a Department of the Army Permit for the project. The final NEPA analysis and supporting documentation will be on file with the San Francisco District, Regulatory Division.

 

Endangered Species Act (ESA):  Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.), requires Federal agencies to consult with either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to ensure actions authorized, funded, or undertaken by the agency are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any Federally-listed species or result in the adverse modification of designated critical habitat.  As the Federal lead agency for this project, USACE has conducted a review of the California Natural Diversity Data Base, digital maps prepared by USFWS and NMFS depicting critical habitat, and other information provided by the applicant, to determine the presence or absence of such species and critical habitat in the project area.  Based on this review, USACE has made a preliminary determination that the following Federally-listed species and designated critical habitat are present at the project location or in its vicinity, and may be affected by project implementation.  The project is adjacent to the Salinas River which contains federally threatened South Central California Coast ESU Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Critical habitat has been also designated for steelhead to include the reach of the Salinas River adjacent to the project.  Designated critical habitat consists of the water, streambed, and the adjacent riparian zone.  The project could indirectly impact the Salinas River, with increased levels of sediments and alterations of the hydrologic regime within the Salinas River Watershed.  The indirect impacts would be minimized because the project would avoid all areas within 500 feet of the Salinas River and erosion and sediment control BMPs will be employed to prevent debris and increased sediment loads from entering the Salinas River as a result of proposed project activities.  In addition, the project has been designed such that drainage and runoff from the expanded quarry operation would be directed to the quarry pit and prevented from flowing directly into the Salinas River.  Therefore, the Corps has determined that the proposed project would have no effect to steelhead in the Salinas River.  In addition, the project area does not contain the essential habitat elements required for the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), but they could be present in the project area. No direct impact to the species is expected as a result of project activities due to the avoidance and minimization measures incorporated into the project and the low likelihood of finding the species onsite.  To address project related impacts to the California red-legged frog, USACE will initiate informal consultation with USFWS, pursuant to Section 7(a) of the Act.  Any required consultation must be concluded prior to the issuance of a Department of the Army Permit for the project.

 

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA):  Section 305(b)(2) of the MSFCMA of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq.), requires Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all proposed actions authorized, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect essential fish habitat (EFH). EFH is defined as those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity.  EFH is designated only for those species managed under a Federal Fisheries Management Plan (FMP), such as the Pacific Groundfish FMP, the Coastal Pelagics FMP, and the Pacific Coast Salmon FMP.  As the Federal lead agency for this project, USACE has conducted a review of digital maps prepared by NMFS depicting EFH to determine the presence or absence of EFH in the project area.  Based on this review, USACE has made a preliminary determination that EFH is not present at the project location or in its vicinity, and that consultation will not be required.  USACE will render a final determination on the need for consultation at the close of the comment period, taking into account any comments provided by NMFS.  Any required consultation must be concluded prior to the issuance of a Department of the Army Permit for the project.

 

Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA):  Section 302 of the MPRS of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1432 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of Commerce, in part, to designate areas of ocean waters, such as the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay, as National Marine Sanctuaries for the purpose of preserving or restoring such areas for their conservation, recreational, ecological, or aesthetic values. After such designation, activities in sanctuary waters authorized under other authorities are valid only if the Secretary of Commerce certifies that the activities are consistent with Title III of the Act.  No Department of the Army Permit will be issued until the applicant obtains the required certification or permit.  The project does not occur in sanctuary waters, and a preliminary review by USACE indicates the project would not likely affect sanctuary resources.  This presumption of effect, however, remains subject to a final determination by the Secretary of Commerce, or his designee.

 

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA):  Section 106 of the NHPA of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 470 et seq.), requires Federal agencies to consult with the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Section 106 of the Act further requires Federal agencies to consult with the appropriate Tribal Historic Preservation Officer or any Indian tribe to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties, including traditional cultural properties, trust resources, and sacred sites, to which Indian tribes attach historic, religious, and cultural significance.  As the Federal lead agency for this undertaking, USACE has conducted a review of latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places, survey information on file with various city and county municipalities, and other information provided by the applicant, to determine the presence or absence of historic and archaeological resources within the permit area. Based on this review, USACE has made a preliminary determination that historic or archaeological resources may be present in the permit area, and that such resources may be adversely affected by the project.  The Native American Heritage Commission Sacred Lands File search has indicated that Native American cultural resources may be present in the project area.  To address project related impacts to historic or archaeological resources, USACE will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, pursuant to Section 106 of the Act.  Any required consultation must be concluded prior to the issuance of a Department of the Army Permit for the project.  If unrecorded archaeological resources are discovered during project implementation, those operations affecting such resources will be temporarily suspended until USACE concludes Section 106 consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to take into account any project related impacts to those resources.

 

5.         COMPLIANCE WITH THE SECTION 404(b)(1) GUIDELINES: Projects resulting in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States must comply with the Guidelines promulgated by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 1344(b)).  An evaluation pursuant to the Guidelines indicates the project is not dependent on location in or proximity to waters of the United States to achieve the basic project purpose.  This conclusion raises the (rebuttable) presumption of the availability of a less environmentally damaging practicable alternative to the project that does not require the discharge of dredged or fill material into special aquatic sites.  The applicant has been informed to submit an analysis of project alternatives to be reviewed for compliance with the Guidelines.

 

6.         PUBLIC INTEREST EVALUTION:  The decision on whether to issue a Department of the Army Permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the project and its intended use on the public interest. Evaluation of the probable impacts requires a careful weighing of the public interest factors relevant in each particular case.  The benefits that may accrue from the project must be balanced against any reasonably foreseeable detriments of project implementation.  The decision on permit issuance will, therefore, reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  Public interest factors which may be relevant to the decision process include conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shore erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

 

7.         CONSIDERATION OF COMMENTS:  USACE is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State and local agencies and officials; Native American Nations or other tribal governments; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the project.  All comments received by USACE will be considered in the decision on whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a Department of the Army Permit for the project.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, and other environmental or public interest factors addressed in a final environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the project.

 

8.         SUBMITTING COMMENTS:  During the specified comment period, interested parties may submit written comments to Danielle Mullen, San Francisco District, Regulatory Division, 1455 Market Street, 16th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103-1398; comment letters should cite the project name, applicant name, and public notice number to facilitate review by the Regulatory Permit Manager.  Comments may include a request for a public hearing on the project prior to a determination on the Department of the Army permit application; such requests shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.  All substantive comments will be forwarded to the applicant for resolution or rebuttal.  Additional project information or details on any subsequent project modifications of a minor nature may be obtained from the applicant and/or agent, or by contacting the Regulatory Permit Manager by telephone or e-mail cited in the public notice letterhead.  An electronic version of this public notice may be viewed under the Public Notices tab on the USACE website:  http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory.