[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 87 (Friday, May 4, 2012)]
[Pages 26569-26570]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10777]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2012-N023; FXRS12610800000V2-123-FF08RSRC00]

Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary Unit Restoration and Pumping Plant/
Fish Screen Facility Protection Project, CA; Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement and Environmental Impact Report

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft environmental impact statement and 
environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) for the 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. The draft EIS/EIR, which we 
prepared in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game 
(CDFG) and now announce in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), describes the alternatives identified to 
protect the pumping plant and fish screen facility located at river 
mile 178.5 on the Sacramento River, and to restore the Riparian 
Sanctuary Unit of the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge.

DATES: We must receive written comments at the address below on or 
before June 25, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The draft EIS/EIR is available at:
     Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 752 County 
Road 99 W, Willows, CA 95988, (530) 934-7814.
     River Partners Office, 580 Vallombrosa Avenue, Chico, CA 
95926, (530) 894-5401.
     Orland Free Library, 333 Mill Street, Orland, CA 95963.
     Chico Branch Library, 1108 Sherman Avenue, Chico, CA 
     CDFG Office, 629 Entler Ave, Suite 12, Chico, CA 95928.
     PCGID-PID Office, 258 South Butte Street, Willows, CA 
95988, (530) 934-4801.
     Internet: www. www.fws.gov/sacramentovalleyrefuges/ and 
    Written comments and requests for information may be sent to: 
Daniel W. Frisk, Project Leader, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 752 County Road 99 W, Willows, 
CA 95988. Alternatively you may send written comments or requests by 
fax to (530) 934-7814, or by email to dan_frisk@fws.gov. Please 
indicate that your comments refer to the Riparian Sanctuary Restoration 
and Pumping Plan/Fish Screen Facility Protection Project.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Moroney, Refuge Manager, 
Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, (530) 934-2801 (phone); 
kelly_moroneyr@fws.gov (email), or; Helen Swagerty, River Partners, 
(530) 894-5401 (phone); hswagerty@riverpartners.org (email).



    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.

[[Page 26570]]

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 identified and analyzed four 
alternatives in the draft EIS/EIR:

Alternative 1: 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 

Alternative 2: Spur Dikes and Site-Specific Plantings

    Under Alternative 2, bank protection measures would consist of 
installing eight rock spur dikes along the Sacramento River on the 
northern side of the Riparian Sanctuary. The dike field would extend 
about 2,000 feet in length. The dikes would be spaced 225 feet apart 
and each dike would extend 75 feet into the river. Restoration 
activities on the Riparian Sanctuary would consist of site-specific 
plantings across 400 acres of the site. Restoration activities would 
include preparing the site, planting native plants, irrigating plants 
for the first 3 years, and monitoring and managing the restored area.

Alternative 3: Traditional Riprap and Site-Specific Plantings

    Under Alternative 3, bank protection measures would consist of 
installing riprap with or without a low berm along the Sacramento River 
on the northern side of the Riparian Sanctuary. Riprap revetment would 
be installed from the end of the existing riprap upstream for 2,500 to 
2,700 feet to a point almost directly across from the pumping plant and 
fish screen facility, to protect the riverbank from further erosion. In 
addition to the site-specific plantings described under Alternative 2, 
revegetation is proposed on both the bank and low berm areas under this 

Alternative 4: Traditional Riprap With Upstream Rock Removal and Site-
Specific Plantings

    Under Alternative 4, bank protection measures would consist of 
installing riprap with or without a low berm along the Sacramento River 
on the north side of the Riparian Sanctuary as described in Alternative 
3, including revegetation on both the bank and low berm. Riparian 
restoration would take place as described in Alternative 2. In 
addition, under Alternative 4, we proposed to remove approximately 
2,300 linear feet of upstream bank revetment on State- and Service-
managed lands along the north side of the peninsula upstream of the 
Riparian Sanctuary. Removal of the revetment would encourage a natural 
progression of streambank erosion, and the eventual cutoff of an oxbow. 
This cut off would allow the river to flow parallel to the pumping 
plant and fish screen facility, which is the desired alignment for the 
fish screen to properly function. Installing traditional riprap on the 
northern side of the Riparian Sanctuary would hold the river in place 
to prevent it from migrating further east, away from the facility.

NEPA Compliance

    The EIS/EIR discusses 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 also identifies appropriate mitigation 
measures for adverse environmental effects.

Public Review

    We are conducting public review of the EIS/EIR 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 EIS/EIR meets the requirements of both NEPA and the California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The California Department of Fish and 
Game is the CEQA lead agency. We provide this notice under regulations 
implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

Public Meeting

    We will hold one public meeting to solicit comments on the draft 
EIS/EIR. We will send a separate notice to the public that identifies 
the time, date, and location of the meeting.

Public Comments

    We invite the public to comment on the EIS/EIR during the comment 
period. 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 your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so. We will use the comments to prepare a final EIS/EIR. A 
decision will be made no sooner than 30 days after the publication of 
the final environmental impact statement.

Alexandra Pitts,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-10777 Filed 5-3-12; 8:45 am]