[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 179 (Monday, September 16, 2013)]
[Pages 56921-56922]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22438]

[[Page 56921]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2013-N089; FXRS282108E8PD0-134-F2013227943]

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, Phase 2 (Ponds R3, R4, 
R5, S5, A1, A2W, A8, A8S, A19, A20, and A21) at the Don Edwards 
National Wildlife Refuge; Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement/Environmental Impact Report

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent; announcement of meeting; request for public 


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in 
coordination with the California State Coastal Conservancy, are 
preparing a joint environmental impact statement/environmental impact 
report (EIS/EIR) for the proposed restoration of ponds R3, R4, R5, S5, 
A1, A2W, A8, A8S, A19, A20, and A21 at the Don Edwards National 
Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo 
Counties, California.
    The proposed project is Phase 2 of the South Bay Salt Pond 
Restoration Project and consists of restoring and enhancing over 2,000 
acres of tidal wetlands and managed pond habitats in the South San 
Francisco Bay. It would also include storage and use of upland fill and 
dredged material in one or more of the seasonal ponds in the Refuge or 
on the levees that surround them. Phase 2 may also include 
collaborative restoration and/or flood management activities with non-
USFWS landowners or managers of public infrastructure on adjacent 
    This notice advises the public that we intend to gather information 
necessary to prepare an EIS pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA). We encourage the public and other agencies to 
participate in the NEPA scoping process by attending the public scoping 
meeting and/or by sending written suggestions and information on the 
issues and concerns that should be addressed in the draft EIS/EIR, 
including the range of alternatives, appropriate mitigation measures, 
and the nature and extent of potential environmental impacts.

DATES: To ensure that we have adequate time to evaluate and incorporate 
suggestions and other input, we must receive your comments on or before 
October 16, 2013. A public scoping meeting will be held on September 
24, 2013 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the San Jose Santa Clara Water 
Pollution Control Plant located at 700 Los Esteros Road, San Jose, 
California. The details of the public scoping meeting will be posted on 
the SBSP Restoration Project's Web site (http://www.southbayrestoration.org/events/). Scoping meeting details will also 
be emailed to the Project's Stakeholder Forum and to those interested 
parties who request to be notified. Notification requests can be made 
by emailing the SBSP Restoration Project's public outreach coordinator, 
Ariel Ambruster at aambrust@ccp.csus.edu or (510)-528-5006.
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public scoping meeting should contact Ariel 
Ambruster, at aambrust@ccp.csus.edu or (510) 528-5006, at least 1 week 
in advance of the meeting to allow time to process the request.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Eric Mruz, Refuge Manager, Don 
Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 1 Marshlands Road, 
Fremont, CA 94555, or to Brenda Buxton, Project Manager, State Coastal 
Conservancy, 1330 Broadway, 13th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612.
    Alternatively, you may send written comments by facsimile to (510) 
792-5828, or via email through the public comments link on the SBSP 
Restoration Project Web site, at www.southbayrestoration.org/Question_Comment.html. Your correspondence should indicate which pond complex or 
issue your comments pertain to.
    To have your name added to our mailing list, contact Ariel 
Ambruster; telephone (510) 528-5006; email aambrust@ccp.csus.edu.

(510) 792-0222.



    In December 2007, the USFWS and the CDFW published a Final EIS/EIR 
for the SBSP Restoration Project at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) and the California Department of Fish 
and Wildlife Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. The overall south bay 
salt pond restoration area includes 15,100 acres which the USFWS and 
the CDFW acquired from Cargill, Inc. in 2003. The lands acquired from 
Cargill are divided into three pond complexes. The Ravenswood Pond 
Complex, in San Mateo County, is managed by the USFWS. The Alviso Pond 
complex is managed by the USFWS, which is mostly in Santa Clara County 
with five ponds in Alameda County. The Eden Landing Pond Complex, in 
Alameda County, is owned and managed by the CDFW. The SBSP Restoration 
Project presented in the Final EIS/EIR was both programmatic, covering 
a 50-year period, as well as project-level, addressing the specific 
components and implementation of Phase 1.
    In January 2008, we signed a Record of Decision selecting the Tidal 
Emphasis Alternative (Alternative C) for implementation. This 
alternative will result in 90 percent of the USFWS's ponds on the 
Refuge being restored to tidal wetlands and 10 percent converted to 
managed ponds. Under Phase 1 of Alternative C, we restored ponds E8A, 
E8X, E9, E12, and E13 at the Eden Landing complex; A6, A8, A16, and A17 
at the Alviso complex; and SF2 at the Ravenswood complex. We also added 
several trails, interpretive features, and other recreational access 
points. Construction is being completed in 2013.
    We now propose restoration or enhancement of over 2,000 acres of 
former salt ponds in the second phase of the SBSP Restoration Project. 
In this Phase 2 DEIS/EIR, we would provide project level analysis of 
proposed restoration or enhancement of portions of the following three 
geographically separate pond clusters: the Ravenswood Pond Complex (R3, 
R4, R5, and S5), the Alviso Pond Complex--Mountain View Ponds (A1 and 
A2W), the Alviso Pond Complex--A8 Ponds (A8 and A8S), and the Alviso 
Pond Complex--Island Ponds (A19, A20, and A21). Phase 2 may also 
include collaborative restoration and flood management activities with 
non-USFWS landowners of adjacent lands and managers of public 
infrastructures. These pond clusters are illustrated in Figures 1-5 on 
the SBSP Restoration Project Web site at http://www.southbayrestoration.org/planning/phase2/.
    Phase 2 of the SBSP Restoration Project is intended to restore and 
enhance tidal wetlands and managed pond habitats in South San Francisco 
Bay while providing for flood management and wildlife-oriented public 
access and recreation. In Phase 2, we would continue habitat 
restoration activities in each pond complex, while also providing 
recreation and public access opportunities and maintaining or improving 
current levels of flood protection in the surrounding communities. 
Phase 2 actions are also being planned for implementation at the Eden 
Landing Pond Complex, which is owned and managed by the CDFW as part of 
the Eden Landing Wildlife

[[Page 56922]]

Sanctuary, but these actions will be addressed under a separate NEPA/
CEQA process. We will address activities at other ponds in subsequent 


    We will consider a range of alternatives and their impacts in the 
EIS/EIR, including the No Action/No Project Alternative. Scoping will 
be an early and open process designed to determine the issues and 
alternatives to be addressed in the EIS/EIR. The range of alternatives 
may include varying approaches to restoring tidal marshes and enhancing 
managed ponds, as well as varying levels and means of flood management 
and recreation and public access components which correspond to the 
project objectives. The EIS/EIR will identify the anticipated effects 
of the alternatives (both negative and beneficial) and describe and 
analyze direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of each alternative.

NEPA Compliance

    This EIS/EIR is a project-level environmental document that is 
tiered from the 2007 Final EIS/EIR for the SBSP Restoration Project. 
Information gathered through this scoping process will assist us in 
developing a reasonable range of alternatives to address the 
restoration of the Phase 2 salt ponds of the Refuge and collaborative 
integration with adjacent landowners and operators of public 
infrastructure. A detailed description of the proposed action and 
alternatives will be included in the EIS/EIR. For each issue or 
potential impact identified, the EIS/EIR will include a discussion of 
the parameters used in evaluating the impacts as well as recommended 
mitigation, indicating the effectiveness of mitigation measures 
proposed to be implemented and what, if any, additional measures would 
be required to reduce the impacts to a less-than-significant level. The 
EIS/EIR will include an analysis of the restoration, flood management, 
and recreation and public access components associated with the 
proposed restoration.
    We will conduct environmental review in accordance with the 
requirements of NEPA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other applicable 
regulations, and our procedures for compliance with those regulations. 
The environmental document will be prepared to meet both the 
requirements of NEPA and the California Environmental Quality Act 
(CEQA). The California State Coastal Conservancy is the CEQA lead 
agency. We anticipate that a draft EIS/EIR will be available for public 
review early in 2014.

Public Comment

    We are furnishing this notice in accordance with section 1501.7 of 
the NEPA implementing regulations to obtain suggestions and information 
from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues to be 
addressed in the EIS/EIR. We invite written comments from interested 
parties to ensure identification of the full range of issues.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in you comment to withhold your personal identifying information 
from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Public Scoping Meeting

    In addition to providing written comments, the public is encouraged 
to attend a public scoping meeting on September 24, 2013, to provide us 
with suggestions and information on the scope of issues and 
alternatives to consider when drafting the EIS/EIR. The location of the 
public scoping meeting is provided in the DATES section above.
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meeting should contact us at the address 
listed in the ADDRESSES section no later than 1 week before the public 
meeting. Information regarding the proposed restoration is available in 
alterative formats upon request. We will accept written comments at the 
scoping meeting or afterwards.

Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-22438 Filed 9-13-13; 8:45 am]