[Federal Register: November 10, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 217)]
[Page 63814-63815]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Reclamation

Fish and Wildlife Service

Habitat Management, Preservation, and Restoration Plan for the 
Suisun Marsh, Solano County, CA

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact 
statement/environmental impact report (PEIS/EIR) and hold public 
scoping meetings.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and Public Resources Code, Sections 21000-
21178.1 of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation), the co-lead Federal agencies, and the California 
Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the lead State agency, propose to 
prepare a joint PEIS/EIR. The PEIS/EIR will develop and analyze a 
regional plan that would outline the actions necessary in Suisun Marsh 
to preserve and enhance managed seasonal wetlands, implement a 
comprehensive levee protection/improvement program, and protect 
ecosystem and drinking water quality, while restoring habitat for tidal 
marsh-dependent sensitive species, consistent with the California Bay-
Delta Program's strategic goals and objectives.

DATES: Three public scoping meetings will be held:
    [sbull] Tuesday, November 25, 2003, 12-3 p.m. in Fairfield, CA.
    [sbull] Thursday, December 4, 2003, 6-8:30 p.m. in Benicia, CA.
    [sbull] Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 6-8:30 p.m. in Fairfield, CA.
    In addition to the scoping meetings, a Suisun Marsh Science 
Workshop sponsored by the San Francisco Bay-Delta Science Consortium is 
being planned for the latter part of January 2004. Details on this 
workshop will be publicized when the schedule and location have been 
    Written comments on the scope of the proposed Suisun Marsh Plan or 
issues to be addressed in the PEIS/EIR must be received on or before 
February 9, 2004.
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the meetings must submit requests no later than 1 week 
before the meeting (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further 

ADDRESSES: Scoping meetings will be held at:
    [sbull] Fairfield, CA, (November 25) Solano County Mosquito 
Abatement District, 2950 Industrial Court.
    [sbull] Benicia, CA, Benicia Public Library, Dona Benicia Meeting 
Room, 150 East L Street.
    [sbull] Fairfield, CA, (December 10) Solano County Office of 
Education, Pena Adobe Room, 5100 Business Center Drive.
    Written comments on the scope of the proposed Suisun Marsh Plan or 
issues to be addressed in the PEIS/EIR should be sent to the California 
Department of Fish and Game, Attention: Ms. Laurie Briden, 4001 N. 
Wilson Way, Stockton, California 95205. Written comments may also be 
sent by facsimile to (209) 946-6355 or e-mailed to lbriden@delta.dfg.ca.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Briden with DFG at (209) 948-7347 or via e-mail at lbriden@delta.dfg.ca.gov, or Dan Buford with FWS at (916) 414-6600 or via e-mail at Daniel_Buford@fws.gov, or Lee 
Laurence with Reclamation at (916) 978-5193 or via e-mail at llaurence@mp.usbr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Suisun Marsh is the largest contiguous 
brackish water wetland in California. It is an important wetland on the 
Pacific Flyway, providing food and habitat for migratory birds. This 
intricate mosaic of tidal wetlands, diked seasonal wetlands, sloughs, 
and upland grasslands comprises over 10 percent of the remaining 
wetlands in California and is an important part of the San Francisco 
Bay-Delta Estuary. The Suisun Marsh provides habitats for many species 
of plants, fish, and wildlife, in addition to wintering and nesting 
habitat for waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway. The Suisun Marsh is 
located within the Bay-Delta estuary. As a result, its water quality 
affects, and is affected by, California's two largest water supply 
systems, the Federal Central Valley Project and the State Water 
Project, and other upstream diversions. These factors have made the 
Suisun Marsh one of the most highly regulated wildlife habitat areas in 
California and, as such, the Marsh occupies a prominent place in the 
Bay-Delta Program, a joint State-Federal planning group formed to 
develop and implement a long-term comprehensive plan that will restore 
ecological health and improve water management for beneficial uses of 
the Bay-Delta.
    California Bay-Delta Authority and member agency managers with 
primary responsibility for actions in Suisun Marsh formed a Charter 
Group to develop an implementation plan for Suisun Marsh that would 
protect and enhance Pacific Flyway and existing wildlife values, 
endangered species, and water quality. Because the Suisun Marsh 
includes private lands, the Suisun Resource Conservation District 
(SRCD) also serves on the Charter Group to represent the interests of 
private landowners. Other Charter Group members include DFG, FWS, 
Reclamation, and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). 
Other Bay-Delta Program participating agencies include the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers.
    The proposed Suisun Marsh Plan would be developed to balance the 
goals and objectives of the Bay-Delta Program, Suisun Marsh 
Preservation Agreement, and other management and restoration programs 
within the Suisun Marsh in a manner that is responsive to the concerns 
of all stakeholders and is based upon voluntary participation by 
private landowners. The proposed Suisun Marsh Plan would provide for 
simultaneous protection and enhancement of: (1) Pacific Flyway and 
existing wildlife values in managed wetlands, (2) endangered species 
recovery, and (3) water quality.
    The PEIS/EIR would address the design, implementation, and 
maintenance of specific actions needed to achieve the Suisun Marsh 
Plan. The Suisun Marsh is that portion of San Francisco Bay downstream 
from the

[[Page 63815]]

Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and upstream from the Central San 
Francisco Bay. The Suisun Marsh falls into the Suisun Marshlands and 
Bay Ecological Management Unit of the Bay-Delta Program's Suisun Marsh 
and North San Francisco Bay Ecological Management Zone. The proposed 
Suisun Marsh Plan would serve as the Bay-Delta Program's regional 
implementation plan for the Suisun Marsh portion of the Suisun Marsh 
Ecological Management Zone. The Plan would address Bay-Delta Program 
implementation in the Suisun Marsh over the next 30 or more years with 
an emphasis on Bay-Delta Program Stage 1, formally defined as the first 
7 years of Bay-Delta Program implementation.
    The PEIS/EIR is expected to analyze the beneficial and adverse 
effects of implementing a Suisun Marsh Plan on environmental resources 
including: water quality, fisheries, wildlife, vegetation, special-
status species, land use, land use development patterns, population, 
housing, economics, and public services (fire protection, vector 
control), cultural resources, air quality, noise, recreation, energy, 
visual impacts, and socioeconomic condition. Analysis in the PEIS/EIR 
would also determine if environmental justice issues are associated 
with the Suisun Marsh Plan. An initial review for the presence of 
Indian Trust Assets in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Joaquin Counties 
indicates that there are no trust lands or other assets in those 
counties held for federally recognized tribes. This review also 
indicates that there are no Public Domain Allotments (lands held in 
trust for individual Indians) near the vicinity of the Suisun Marsh 
Plan. The environmental effects of certain specific projects would also 
be analyzed at a site-specific level of detail in the PEIS/EIR, and 
would constitute the final CEQA or NEPA document for those projects. 
Specific projects proposed to be analyzed at the site-specific level 
include an amendment to the Suisun Marsh Preservation Agreement. The 
Plan would also present strategies to resolve permitting issues related 
to past and ongoing maintenance and management activities, and identify 
strategies to resolve other interagency conflicts related to the 
management of the Suisun Marsh. Specific alternatives to the proposed 
Suisun Marsh Plan have not been identified at this time and will be 
developed following scoping.
    DFG is publishing a Notice of Preparation in accordance with CEQA.
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meetings should contact Dan Buford at (916) 
414-6600 or TDD (800) 735-2922 as soon as possible. Information 
regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon 
    It is Reclamation's practice to make comments in response to a 
Notice of Intent, including names and home addresses of respondents, 
available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home address from public disclosure, which we will honor 
to the extent allowable by law. There may also be circumstances in 
which we would withhold a respondent's identity from public disclosure, 
as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or 
address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comment. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, 
and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or 
officials of organizations or businesses, available for public 
disclosure in their entirety.

    Dated: October 8, 2003.
Frank Michny,
Regional Environmental Manager, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of 
    Dated: October 7, 2003.
Steve Thompson,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 03-27922 Filed 11-7-03; 8:45 am]