[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 12, 2011)]
[Pages 20368-20369]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-8664]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2011-N042; 1261-0000-80230-W2]

Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit Restoration and Pumping Plant/
Fish Screen Facility Protection Project, California; Intent To Prepare 
an Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in 
coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), 
are preparing a joint environmental impact statement/environmental 
impact report (EIS/EIR) for the proposed Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary 
Unit Restoration and Pumping Plant/Fish Screen Facility Protection 
Project, in Glenn and Butte Counties, California. The proposed project 
includes riparian restoration and protection of the Princeton-Cordora-
Glenn and Provident Irrigation Districts (PCGID-PID) pumping plant and 
fish screen facility. 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 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 
May 27, 2011. A public scoping meeting will be held on May 10, 2011 
from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Ord Bend Community Hall, 3241 Highway 
45, Ord Bend, California 95943-9654.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments or requests to be added to our project 
mailing list to: Daniel W. Frisk, Project Leader, Sacramento National 
Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 752 County 
Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988. Alternatively, you may send written 
comments or requests by fax to (530) 934-7814, or by e-mail to dan_frisk@fws.gov. Please indicate that your comments refer to the Riparian 
Sanctuary Restoration and Pumping Plant/Fish Screen Facility Protection 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Moroney, Refuge Manager, (530) 



    The Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit was acquired by the Service 
in 1991 and added to the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge. The 
Service acquired the Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit as part of the 
Joint Management Agreement between Parrot Investment Co., The Nature 
Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Game, and the Service to 
cooperatively manage lands on the Llano Seco Ranch. The Llano Seco 
Riparian Sanctuary Unit is one piece of the larger Llano Seco Ranch, 
and was cleared of riparian vegetation for agricultural production by 
the previous landowner during the 1970s. Although the property has been 
out of agricultural production for close to 15 years, the habitat 
remains dominated by nonnative and invasive noxious weeds. Currently, 
just over 200 acres is farmed to dryland row crops to help control 
nonnative weeds.
    Prior to acquisition by the Service, rock revetment was placed on 
the north end of the Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit by the 
Department of Water Resources in 1985 and 1986. The rock was placed in 
order to lock the Sacramento River in place ensuring that flood flows 
would continue to be diverted from the Sacramento River through the 
Goose Lake overflow structure and into the Butte Basin. When the 
Service acquired the ranch property in 1991, we did so with the 
understanding that our management activities would not impact the Goose 
Lake overflow structure that diverts flood water into the Butte Basin.
    Since the placement of rock revetment in 1986, the natural 
riverbank that is south of the revetment has eroded approximately 600 
feet. The erosion on refuge property is directly across from the PCGID-
PID pumping plant and fish screening facility. In 1999, the PCGID-PID 
consolidated three pumping plants into one new facility equipped with 
state-of-the-art fish screens. The fish-screening efficiency of the new 
PCGID-PID pumping plant is now endangered by the bank erosion on the 
refuge property and the migration of the Sacramento River. Although the 
rock revetment on the north edge of refuge property is decades old and 
eroding, it plays a key role in protecting the PCGID-PID pumping plant. 
As the bank erodes, the angle of flow and velocity of the water passing 
the screens will change, trapping fish against the screen rather than 
sweeping them past. Without some type of protection, it is likely the 
bank will continue to erode and the pumping plant facility will fail to 
meet guidelines for operation of the pumping-plant fish screens that 
were published by the National Marine Fisheries Service of National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce).
    To address these issues we are proposing the restoration of 
approximately 500 acres of the Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit to 
improve habitat for wildlife with an emphasis on endangered and 
threatened species and the protection of the PCGID-PID pumping plant 
and fish screen facility.

Previous Planning Studies

    In 2001, River Partners submitted a planning proposal to the CALFED 
Bay-Delta Program for grant funding to investigate the following 
     River meander may threaten the operation of the PCGID-PID 
fish screen and pumping plant located across the river from the Llano 
Seco Riparian Sanctuary (part of the Sacramento River National Wildlife 
     Current site conditions on much of the 950-acre Llano Seco 
Riparian Sanctuary have contributed little to endangered species 
recovery and overall riparian health.

[[Page 20369]]

     Few restoration projects integrate an interdisciplinary 
scientific approach into project implementation, limiting the 
opportunities to learn restoration.
    In 2004, following approval of CALFED Bay-Delta Program grant 
funding, River Partners and an interdisciplinary team began studies to 
examine measures to protect the PCGID-PID pumping plant and fish screen 
facility and develop restoration options for the Llano Seco Riparian 
Sanctuary Unit.
    River Partners initiated a cooperative process with the Service and 
the PCGID-PID to address complex and potentially controversial issues 
associated with restoration activities and pumping plant and fish 
screen facility protection measures. MBK Engineers completed the Llano 
Seco Unit Sacramento River Mile 178 Pumping Plant Protection 
Feasibility Study in August 2005 to identify alternatives that meet the 
PCGID-PID's pumping plant and fish screen protection objectives.
    In 2005, River Partners prepared a Riparian Feasibility Study for 
the Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit to investigate the feasibility 
of restoration and other management options for this area. 
Approximately 500 acres of the site was found to be dominated by 
nonnative plants, with poor wildlife habitat values, and suitable for 
    In 2010, Ayres Associates refined the alternatives identified in 
the MBK study, identifying the most feasible alternatives that should 
be considered for protection of the PCGID-PID facility.

Summary of Alternatives

No Action Alternative

    Under the No Action alternative, only the ongoing removal and 
management of invasive plant species would occur at the Riparian 
Sanctuary. No active restoration of native plants would occur. 
Maintenance activities for the PCGID-PID pumping plant and fish screens 
would continue, but no new actions would be taken to prevent river 

Action Alternatives

    A full range of reasonable alternatives will be developed based on 
the River Partners 2005 feasibility study, the 2010 Ayres feasibility 
study, and public input received during this scoping period. The 2005 
River Partners study identified restoration measures consisting of full 
plantings or site-specific plantings of the Llano Seco Riparian 
Sanctuary Unit. The 2010 Ayres feasibility study identified the 
following measures to protect the PCGID-PID pumping plant and fish 
screen facility: Construction of spur dikes, traditional riprap 
revetment, traditional riprap with a low berm, and traditional riprap 
with removal of existing revetment. A combination of these measures 
will be used to develop a range of alternatives.

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.
    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that the entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you can ask us in your 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 to provide us with suggestions and 
information on the scope of issues and alternatives to consider when 
drafting the EIS/EIR. A public scoping meeting will be held on the date 
shown in the DATES section.
    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 this proposed action is available in 
alternative formats upon request. We will accept both oral and written 
comments at the scoping meeting.

NEPA Compliance

    Information gathered through this scoping process will assist us in 
developing a range of alternatives to address restoration of the Llano 
Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit and protection of the PCGID-PID pumping 
plant and fish screen facility. A detailed description of the proposed 
action and alternatives will be included in the EIS/EIR. The EIS/EIR 
will identify the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the 
alternatives on biological resources, cultural resources, land use, air 
quality, water quality, water resources, and other environmental 
resources. It will also identify appropriate mitigation measures for 
adverse environmental effects.
    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 CDFG is the CEQA lead agency. We anticipate that a draft 
EIS/EIR will be available for public review in the fall of 2011.

    Dated: April 6, 2011.
Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-8664 Filed 4-11-11; 8:45 am]