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

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SPN-2013-00204S 250-Foot Channel Closure

Posted: 6/26/2017

Expiration date: 7/12/2017


PROJECT: 250-Foot Channel Closure


PUBLIC NOTICE NUMBER: 2013-00204S
PUBLIC NOTICE DATE: June 12, 2017
COMMENTS DUE DATE: July 12, 2017

PERMIT MANAGER: Janelle Leeson
TELEPHONE: 415-503-6773
E-MAIL: Janelle.D.Leeson@usace.army.mil


1. INTRODUCTION:

Chevron Products Company (POC: Mr. Shawn Lee (510) 242-1400), 100 Chevron Way, Richmond, California 94801, through its agent, Arcadis U.S., Inc. (POC: Mr. Alex Francisco (925) 296-7824), 2999 Oak Road, Suite 300, Walnut Creek, California, 94597, has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), San Francisco District, for a Department of the Army Permit for the final closure of the 250-Foot Channel under San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board oversight to meet corrective action objectives, and to provide a beneficial reuse location for the Long Wharf annual maintenance dredging sediments. This Department of the Army permit application may be processed pursuant to the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. § 1344 et seq.) and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended (33 U.S.C. § 403 et seq.).


2. PROPOSED PROJECT:

Project Site Location: The 250-Foot Channel is located within the northern portion of the Chevron Richmond Refinery (Refinery) located at 100 Chevron Way, Richmond, California. The project area extends from the 250-Foot Channel, across San Pablo Ridge, to the Point Orient Wharf, within the San Francisco Bay in the City of Richmond, Contra Costa County, California.


Project Site Description: The 250-Foot Channel is located in the northern portion of the Refinery, and its dimensions are approximately 3,800 feet by 400 feet. Along the northern end of the 250-Foot Channel, separated by the northern dam, are salt marshes and Castro Creek. The 250-Foot Channel is hydrologically separated from surface waterof Castro Creek and San Pablo Bay by the north berm, and is hydrologically separated from groundwater of Castro Creek and San Pablo Bay by the Refinery Groundwater Protection System. The site is bounded by the San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay to the north and west, Interstate 580 to the south, and Castro Street to the east. The San Francisco Bay along the Point Orient Wharf consists of unvegetated subtidal areas, subtidal areas with patchy to dense areas of submerged aquatic vegetation, and narrow areas of mud bottom and gravel intertidal areas abutting slopes that ascend to developed portions of Stenmark Drive. Undeveloped portions of the site are characterized by sporadic areas of herbaceous, shrub, and canopy vegetation interspersed within unvegetated soil and gravel areas.


Project Description:As shown in Figures 1, 2 and 3, the applicant proposes the annual conveyance, handling, and placement of dredge materials to and within the 250-Foot Channel from the Long Wharf, dewatering of the sediments, storage and treatment of wastewater/stormwater, and construction of the final cap. Construction is proposed to begin in approximately 2020. Placement of dredge materials in the 250-Foot Channel to construct the cap would take place over approximately 9 to 15 years, depending on the annual dredge volumes originating from the Long Wharf and the total volume placed in the 250-foot Channel. The proposed Project activities can be described as five primary activities: 1) sediment off-loading and conveyance; 2) sediment placement; 3) storage and treatment of decant water and stormwater; 4) construction of a Title 27 compliant cap; and 5) potentially required compensatory mitigation.


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 close the 250-Foot Channel, and to dispose of annual dredge materials from Chevron’s Long Wharf.


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 close the 250-Foot Channel under San Francisco Regional Quality Water Control Board oversight, and to provide a beneficial reuse location for the Long Wharf annual maintenance dredging sediments.


Project Impacts:Project impacts have not been fully determined at this time. Project impacts may include the dredging of sediment within the San Francisco Bay, the construction of a sediment transport pipeline, and the placement of sediment within the 250-Foot Channel.


Proposed Mitigation:The applicant is seeking an approved jurisdictional determination for the 250-Foot Channel. Therefore, compensatory mitigation activities that may be required by the USACE under Section 404 and/or Section 10 for impacts resulting from the proposed project will be determined upon the issuance of the USACE’s approved jurisdictional determination.


Project Alternatives: The Corps has not endorsed the submitted alternatives analysis at this time. The Corps will conduct an independent review of the project alternatives prior to reaching a final permit decision.


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 is hereby notified that, unless USACE is provided documentation indicating a complete application for water quality certification has been submitted to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) within 30 days of this Public Notice date, the District Engineer may consider the Department of the Army permit application to be withdrawn. No Department of the Army Permit will be issued until the applicantobtains 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, San Francisco Bay Region, 1515 Clay Street, Suite 1400, Oakland, California 94612, 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. Since the project occurs in the coastal zone or may affect coastal zone resources, the applicant has applied for a Consistency Determination from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to comply with this requirement.


Coastal zone management issues should be directed to the Executive Director, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, 50 California Street, Suite 2600, San Francisco, California 94111, by the close of the comment period.


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 may be present at the project location or in its vicinity, and may be affected by project implementation: Chinook salmon Central Valley Spring Run Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Chinook salmon Sacramento River Winter-Run ESU (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Steelhead, Central California Coast ESU (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and North American Green Sturgeon Southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (Acipenser medirostris).


To address project related impacts to these species and designated critical habitat, USACE will initiate formal consultation with NMFS, 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 present at the project location or in its vicinity, and that the critical elements of EFH may be adversely affected by project implementation. To address project related impacts to EFH, USACE will initiate consultation with NMFS, pursuant to Section 305(5(b)(2) of the Act. 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 applicantobtains 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 project, the USACE will be responsible for determining the presence or absence of historic properties or archaeological resources, and the need to conduct consultation. To complete the administrative record and the decision on whether to issue a Department of the Army Permit for the project, USACE will obtain all necessary supporting documentation from the applicant concerning the consultation process. 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 theGuidelines 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 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 practicable alternative to the project that would result in less adverse impact to the aquatic ecosystem, while not causing other major adverse environmental consequences. 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 Janelle Leeson, 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 applicantfor 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.