[Federal Register: July 15, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 135)]
[Page 46538-46539]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish And Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment under 
the National Environmental Policy Act and Notice of Public Meeting on 
Tidal Marsh Restoration Planning at Cullinan Ranch, San Pablo Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge, Solano and Napa Counties, California.


SUMMARY: In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
as amended (NEPA) regulations (40 CFR 1501.7), this notice advises 
other agencies, Tribes, and the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to prepare 
environmental documentation on a proposed tidal marsh restoration 
project at Cullinan Ranch, a unit of the San Pablo Bay National 
Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), Solano and Napa Counties, California. 
Interested persons are encouraged to submit written comments and/or 
attend a public scoping meeting to identify and discuss issues and 
alternatives that should be addressed. The Service intends to prepare 
an Environmental Assessment for this project. However, if the Service 
determines that the project would result in significant impacts, the 
Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. The purpose of 
the scoping meeting is to describe restoration alternatives, identify 
the scope of issues that need to be addressed, and discuss important 
issues related to tidal marsh restoration at Cullinan Ranch.

DATES: A public scoping meeting will be held on August 7, 2002, from 7 
p.m. to 9 p.m., see addresses for location. Written comments related to 
the scope and content of environmental documentation should be received 
by the Service at the Newark address below by August 14, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Mare Island 
Elementary School, 9th and Tisdale Streets, Vallejo, CA 94591. Written 
comments may also be mailed to Margaret T. Kolar, Refuge Complex 
Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, PO Box 
524, Newark, California 94560.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Parker, Deputy Project Leader, 
San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, (510) 792-0222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Cullinan Ranch restoration project would 
restore approximately 1,500 acres of diked baylands back to historic 
tidal conditions by reintroducing tidal flow into the project area. 
This area, Cullinan Ranch, also known as the Napa Marsh Unit of the San 
Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), is located in an area of 
the Napa River Delta that was historically defined by a network of 
meandering sloughs and extensive estuarine tidal marshes. 
Reintroduction of tidal flow will restore vital salt marsh habitat for 
endangered species, including the salt marsh harvest mouse 
(Reithrodontomys raviventris) and the California clapper rail (Rallus 
longirostris obsoletus), as well as provide roosting and foraging 
habitat for migratory waterbirds.
    The proposed restoration is based on the concept that reintroducing 
tidal waters will naturally develop salt-water marsh habitat 
conditions. The existing perimeter levee currently prevents tidal flows 
into the area and as a result, the land has subsided several feet in 
elevation and becomes inundated with freshwater during the rainy 
season. Once restored, twice-daily tidal flows would carry and deposit 
sediment, establishing marsh plain elevations sufficient to support 
tidal marsh vegetation. As tidal waters enter and exit the site, tidal 
channels would develop. Continued tidal action would maintain an active 
exchange of water, sediment and nutrients between the marsh habitat and 
the Bay, further enhancing the value of the habitat for plants and 
    In keeping with one of the purposes of the Refuge ``* * * to 
conserve fish, wildlife, or plants which are listed as endangered 
species or threatened species,'' the Cullinan Ranch restoration project 
would restore historic salt marsh habitat for the benefit of threatened 
and endangered species as well as many other estuarine-dependent 

[[Page 46539]]


    Located within the Refuge, the Cullinan Ranch is bordered by the 
South and Dutchman Sloughs to the north and State Route 37 to the 
south. California Department of Fish and Game Pond 1 borders Cullinan 
Ranch to the west. Guadalcanal Village Wetlands (Guadalcanal), which is 
owned by the State of California and is currently being restored to 
tidal marsh, borders Cullinan Ranch to the east.

Project Components

    Specific components of Cullinan Ranch tidal marsh restoration 
    1. Blocking drainage ditches with earthen fill to promote 
redevelopment of the historical sloughs on the project site.
    2. Reinforcing two Pacific Gas & Electric transmission tower 
footings to protect them from possible damage from tidal flows when the 
levee is breached.
    3. Constructing and reinforcing an existing levee adjacent to State 
Route 37 and California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) Pond 1, to 
protect these areas from flooding and erosion during high water 
    4. Breaching the northern levee adjacent to South and Dutchman 
sloughs to introduce historic tidal flow to the site.
    5. Long-term monitoring of wildlife, plants, hydrology, and 

Public Meetings

    With the publication of this notice, the public is encouraged to 
attend public meetings and submit written comments for consideration in 
developing design alternatives for restoration at Cullinan Ranch. 
Format for the public meeting will be a presentation on proposed design 
alternatives followed by a workshop to gather public comments. Comments 
received shall be used to identify issues and draft preliminary 

    Dated: July 8, 2002.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 02-17603 Filed 7-12-02; 8:45 am]