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Draft Environmental Assessment/Initial Study

for the RD 108 Combined Pumping Plant
and Fish Screen Project


Prepared For:
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Mid-Pacific Region

2800 Cottage Way

Sacramento, CA


Reclamation District No. 108

975 Wilson Bend Road

Grimes, CA

Prepared By:
Hanson Environmental, Inc.

132 Cottage Lane



Walnut Creek, CA 94595

DRAFT: April 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS


1.0 Introduction, Background, Purpose, and Need

    1. Introduction

    2. Purpose and Need

    3. Project Regulatory Context


2.0 Proposed Action and Alternatives

2.1 Alternative 1: Proposed Project

2.1.1 Construction of a new Pumping Plant/Fish Screen facility on the west side of the Sacramento River, including power lines

2.1.2 Construction of a new canal system, including 21,250 linear feet of new canal to connect the existing irrigation system to the new Combined Pumping Plant/Fish Screen, replacement of 4,210 linear feet of existing canal; construction of 3 low-head lift stations, and construction of canal hydraulic control structures.

2.1.3 Excavation of borrow materials at two sites

2.1.4 Construction traffic

2.1.5 Cofferdam Removal

2.1.6 Dismantling and Removal of Existing Diversion Structures

2.1.7 On-going Operation and Maintenance of all Facilities

2.1.8 Construction Schedule

2.1.9 Additional Construction Measures

2.2 Alternative 2: No-Action Alternative

2.3 Alternatives Considered But Dropped from Further Analysis


  1. Affected environment and Environmental

CONSEQUENCES

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Geology, Soils and Seismicity

3.2.1 Affected Environment

3.2.2 Environmental Consequences of Proposed Action

      1. Environmental Consequences of No Action

3.3 Hydrology and Water Quality

      1. Affected Environment

      2. Environmental Consequences of Proposed Action

      3. Environmental Consequences of No Action

3.4 Biological Resources

3.4.1 The Action Area and Species in the Action Area

3.4.2 Baseline Conditions

3.4.3 Identification of Sensitive Species in the Action Area

3.4.4 Baseline Conditions for Species

3.4.5 Environmental Consequences

3.4.6 Environmental Consequences: Spring-run Chinook, Winter-run Chinook, Winter-run Critical Habitat, Steelhead, Fall-run/late Fall-run Chinook, Proposed Critical Habitat for Spring-run Chinook salmon and Steelhead, and Essential Fish Habitat for Pacific Salmon

3.4.7 Environmental Consequences: Non Salmonid Fish

3.4.8 Environmental Consequences: Swainson’s Hawk

3.4.9 Environmental Consequences: Giant Garter Snake

3.4.10 Environmental Consequences: Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

3.4.11 Environmental Consequences: Northwestern Pond Turtle

3.4.12 Environmental Consequences: Loss of Non-Native Grassland/Shrub Habitats

3.4.13 Environmental Consequences: No Project Alternative

3.6 Air Quality

3.7 Land Use

3.8 Cultural Resources

3.9 Traffic Circulation

3.10 Recreation

3.11 Visual Resources

3.12 Socio-Economics

3.13 Noise

3.14 Hazardous Materials
4.0 Cumulative effects

4.1 Affected Environment

4.2 Cumulative Effects

4.2.1 Other Projects that have Occurred or are Reasonably Anticipated to Occur in the Action Area

4.2.2 Cumulative Effects

4.3 No Action Alternative
5.0 CoNSULTATION AND COORDINATION

5.1 Federal Agencies Consulted

5.2 State Agencies Consulted

5.3 Local Agencies Consulted

5.4 Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

5.5 National Historic Preservation Act
6.0 Report Preparation
6.1 Environmental Assessment Preparers
7.0 LITERATURE CITED
Appendix A

Results of Cultural/Historic Record Search
Appendix B

Summary of Environmental Commitments Incorporated into the Proposed Project Description
Appendix C

Action Specific Implementation Plan
Appendix D

CEQA Environmental Checklist

Tables
Table 2-1: Estimated construction time, by construction component
Table 2-2. Design parameters for RD108 combined pumping plant and fish screen (From

CH2M HILL 2004).


Table 3-1. Summary of biological resources surveys for the Proposed Project (Miriam Green

Associates).


Table 3-2. Species excluded from detailed analysis in this EA/Initial Study.
Table 3-3. Special-status species potentially occurring within the RD108 Combined Pumping

Plant and Fish Screen Project action area.


Table 3-4. Data on Swainson's hawk nesting in the general study area (May and June 2001

Surveys, Miriam Green Associates 2001).


Table 3-5. Elderberry shrubs in the study area (May and June 2001 Surveys, Green 2001, and

Green 2005).


Table 3-6. Summary of potential project effects on special-status species, by project element.
Table 3-7. Cofferdam construction timing and salmonid ESU impacts from noise,

sedimentation, and stranding.


Figures
Figure 1: General Location Map for the RD108 Proposed Project,
Figure 2 from RD 108 Design Development Report
Figure 3. Aerial photograph of the site of the proposed pumping plant/fish screen facility

(Source: USGS 22 August 1998, 1 km N of Howells Landing).


Figure 4. Location of proposed new canal for the RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and Fish

Screen Project.


Figure 5. Photograph showing typical conditions along the new canal alignment at the base of

the Sacramento River Levee, South Canal, RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and

Fish Screen Project.
Figure 6. Photograph showing typical conditions along the new canal alignment at the base of

the Sacramento River Levee, North Canal, RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and

Fish Screen Project.
Figure 7. Photograph of site for Highway 45 siphon, RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and

Fish Screen Project.


Figure 8. Location of lift stations for the RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and Fish Screen

Project.


Figure 9. Location of borrow sites for the RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and Fish Screen

Project.

Figure 10. Photograph showing borrow site 1, Highway 45.
Figure 11. Photograph showing borrow site 2, southeast of Tyndall Mound along the Main

Drain.


Figure 12. Aerial photograph of the Boyers Bend Pumping Plant site.
Figure 13. Aerial photograph of the Howells Landing Pumping Plant site.
Figure 14. Aerial photograph of the Tyndall Mound Pumping Plant site.
Figure 15. Photograph showing landside of the Sacramento River Levee at the site of the

proposed combined pumping plant/fish screen, illustrating the disturbed nature of

the levee, levee maintenance road, and adjacent farm field.
Figure 16. Aerial photograph of the land adjacent to the Tyndall Mound Pumping Plant.

Note the system of local canals and unpaved access roads (Source: USGS 22

August 1998).
Figure17. Diagram of presence of the seasonal occurrence of salmonids in the Sacramento

River (Source: Vogel and Marine 1991).




Draft Environmental Assessment/Initial Study

for the

RD108 Combined Pumping Plant and Fish Screen Project
1.0 Introduction, Background, and Purpose and Need
1.1 Introduction
Reclamation District No. 108 (RD108) provides water to approximately 48,000 acres of irrigated agriculture on the west side of the Sacramento River, approximately 45 miles northwest of Sacramento, California. RD 108 has seven pumping plants along the river that supply water to a network of irrigation canals. RD108’s irrigation service area and the location of four of its largest pumping plants on the Sacramento River are shown on Figure 1. In 1997, the RD 108 signed a Letter of Intent with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). In the Letter of Intent, the RD 108 and the resource agencies committed to work cooperatively to develop solutions to prevent the entrainment of fish at the RD 108’s seven pumping plants on the Sacramento River. The potential solutions were required to benefit the fishery while not adversely affecting water delivery to the RD 108. Under the Letter of Intent, the RD 108 built an $11 million Positive Barrier Fish Screen facility at the Wilkins Slough Pumping Plant, the largest of RD 108’s seven pumping plants, with federal and state funding assistance. RD 108 contributed more than $1 million to construction of this facility and testing of alternative fish barriers.
RD 108 proposes to further reduce potential for its operations to affect aquatic species by replacing three additional unscreened pumping plants (originally constructed in the 1950s) and consolidating pumping at a new, screened pumping plant about 4,000 feet south of Boyer's Landing (Figure 1). This new facility would screen approximately 75 percent of RD 108’s remaining unscreened diversion capacity. The new Combined Pumping Plant/Fish Screen would replace the pumping capacity of the RD 108’s existing three pumping plants at Boyers Bend, Howells Landing, and Tyndall Mound. Following completion of the Screening Facility, these existing facilities will be decommissioned and removed. The recommended Project (hereafter Proposed Project) would also include the required canals and hydraulic structures to distribute the flow from the Screening Facility to the existing irrigation demand points. The Proposed Project’s main components (Figure 2) consist of:


  • A new 300 cfs pumping plant and fish screen structure;

  • A 270 by 95 foot afterbay, 14 feet deep (82 x 29 x 4 meters, respectively);

  • 21,250 linear feet (6,500 meters) of new concrete-lined canal generally along the inland side of the Sacramento River levees or across existing agricultural fields;

  • 4,210 linear feet (1,280 meters) of raised canal lining on existing canals generally along the inland side of the Sacramento River levees or across existing agricultural fields;

  • Use of two agricultural fields to excavate soil to be used in constructing canals (borrow sites);

  • Two low-head lift stations;

  • In-canal hydraulic control structures; and

  • Demolition and removal of the three existing pumping plants

Construction of Proposed Project Facilities would occur continuously over a 2-year period.


Figure 1: General Location Map for the RD108 Proposed Project.



Figure 2. Design parameters for RD108 combined pumping plant and fish screen (From CH2M HILL 2004).

In addition to compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts (ESAs), the proposed fish screen project requires approval of a variety of State and Federal agencies including: (1) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404/10 permit, (2) CDFG 1601 streambed alteration agreement (3) California Regional Water Quality Control Board Section 401 water quality certification, (4) State Reclamation Board permit, and (5) Colusa County building and grading approvals. RD108 has submitted applications for the required permits and project approvals.


    1. Purpose and Need

The loss of juvenile anadromous fish at water diversions located in the Central Valley has been identified as a contributing factor to the decline of anadromous fish populations. Results of fishery monitoring conducted at the RD108 Wilkins Slough diversion have documented that juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon, and other fish species, are entrained as a result of diversion operations (Hanson 1996, Hanson and Bemis 1997). RD108 operates three unscreened pumping plants in a 5-mile reach of the Sacramento River from Boyer's Landing to Tyndall Mound about 20 river miles north and west of the confluence of the Sacramento and Feather rivers. These facilities have a combined diversion capacity of 377 cfs (Boyer's Landing: 116 cfs; Howell's Landing: 71 cfs; and Tyndall Mound: 190 cfs). Because of the entrainment of salmonids, these three unscreened diversions were identified by the Anadromous Fish Screen Program Technical Team (Technical Team) as a candidate for screening. The area is also being reviewed by NOAA Fisheries for potential designation as critical habitat for spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. In addition, the area also serves as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for Pacific salmon.


The purpose of the Proposed Project is to reduce entrainment of winter-run Chinook salmon (a State and Federal endangered species), spring-run Chinook salmon (State and Federal threatened species), and the Central Valley steelhead (Federal threatened species), while continuing to provide RD108 with a reliable water supply for agricultural irrigation. The project will also provide protection for fall-run and late fall-run Chinook salmon, green and white sturgeon, and other resident and migratory fish species which are susceptible to entrainment at the currently unscreened diversions.
1.3 Project Regulatory Context
The Proposed Project and this EA/Initial Study have been developed against a backdrop of existing and on-going Federal, State, and local efforts to conserve listed and special-status species within the Sacramento Basin under the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. Specifically, the Proposed Project is consistent with:


  • The CALFED Programmatic EIS/EIR, specifically provisions calling for the reduction of entrainment losses through the construction of fish screens that use best available technology;

  • The CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP), which on page 61 of the ERP Draft Stage I Implementation Plan lists "consolidating and screening Reclamation District 108's diversions from the Sacramento River" as a project that will result in progress towards Strategic Goal 1, At-Risk Species;

  • The CALFED Record of Decision (August 28, 2000, pages A-9, A-12, and A-13), which provides guidance for measures to reduce adverse effects of construction and water use projects on fisheries and aquatic systems;

  • The NOAA Fisheries CALFED Bay-Delta Programmatic Biological Opinion dated August 28, 2000;

  • The CDFG Natural Community Conservation Planning Act approval of the CALFED Multi-Species Conservation Strategy (MSCS); and

  • The Pacific Salmon Fisheries Management Plan, 1999.

USBR's role in the RD108 Project is consistent with the CVPIA, Section 3406(b) (21), which authorized the Department of the Interior (DOI) to “assist the State of California in efforts to develop and implement measures to avoid losses of juvenile anadromous fish resulting from unscreened or inadequately screened diversions on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, their tributaries, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the Suisun Marsh.” The Anadromous Fish Screen Program (AFSP) has been established to fulfill the Department of the Interior’s responsibilities pursuant to the above section of CVPIA. The USFWS in coordination with USBR have the lead in acting for the Secretary of the Department of the Interior in implementing the AFSP One of USBR’s major administrative duties of the Program is serving as the Federal lead agency for compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws.


Within this regulatory context, USBR’s proposed action is to provide CVPIA restoration funds to RD108 to construct the proposed facilities (RD 108 will be responsible for on-going operation and maintenance). The CVPIA AFSP is anticipated to contribute 50 percent toward the fish screen. The remaining funds would be from non-Federal cost sharing by the State of California under Proposition 13 and/or by RD108.
Each Federal agency has an obligation to insure that any discretionary action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat unless that activity is exempt pursuant to the ESA (16 U.S.C § 1536(a)(2); 50 CFR § 402.03). It is under this authority that USBR has prepared both an Action Specific Implementation Plan (ASIP) and this Environmental Assessment/Initial Study (EA/Initial Study).
This EA/Initial Study identifies a suite of special status aquatic and terrestrial species that could occur in the project area and may be affected by the Proposed Project and addresses proposed measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate these effects. The species addressed include (FESA/CESA status indicated where appropriate):


  • Winter-run Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (CE/FE)

  • Spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (CT/FT)

  • Fall-run/late-fall-run Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

  • Essential Fish Habitat for Chinook Salmon

  • Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (FT)

  • Critical habitat for winter-run Chinook salmon

  • Proposed critical habitat for spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead

  • Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)

  • River lamprey (Lampetra ayresi)

  • Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata)

  • Hardhead (Mylopharcodon concephalus)

  • Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus)

  • California roach (Hesperoleucus symmetricus)

  • Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (CT)

  • Giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas) (FT/CT)

  • Northwestern pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata marmorata)(SC/CSC)

  • Valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) (FT)

Through consultation with USFWS and NOAA Fisheries, USBR will comply with its obligations under the ESA, namely: 1) to avoid any discretionary action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species; 2) to take listed species only as permitted by NOAA Fisheries and the USFWS; and 3) to use USBR’s authorities to conserve listed species.


USBR is also proposing to continue the implementation of actions to benefit the species under its existing authorities and consistent with its 7(a)(1) obligation to conserve and protect listed species. Section 7(a)(1) alone does not give USBR additional authority to undertake any particular action, regardless of its potential benefit for endangered species. Whether undertaken as section 7(a)(1) conservation activities or as RPAs subsequent to 7(a)(2) compliance, any USBR action for endangered species must be within the agencies existing authorities. Where there is no 7(a)(2) question (i.e., no indication that a proposed discretionary action is likely to jeopardize species), USBR’s failure to take an action that is conceivably within its authorities cannot be determined to be a cause of “jeopardy.”
2.0 Proposed Action and Alternatives
2.1 Alternative 1: Proposed Project
The Proposed Project will include construction/decommissioning activities within an approximately six-mile long area west of the Sacramento River. The Proposed Project will involve (see Figure 2 above):


  • Construction of a new Pumping Plant/Fish Screen facility on the west side of the Sacramento River, at a site about 1-mile south of Boyers Bend Pumping Plant;

  • Construction of a concrete-lined afterbay on the west side of the Sacramento River Levee, 270-feet long, 96 feet wide, and 14 feet deep (82 x 29 x 4 meters, respectively).

  • Construction of a new canal system, including 21,250 linear feet (6,500 meters) of new concrete-lined canal to connect the existing irrigation system to the new Combined Pumping Plant/Fish Screen;

  • Replacement of 4,210 linear feet (1,280 meters) of existing canal to raise concrete linings; construction of two low-head lift stations, and construction of canal hydraulic control structures;

  • Excavation of borrow materials at two sites;

  • Hauling of construction materials to the site;

  • New power connections for the Pumping Plant/Fish Screen and two new lift stations;

  • On-going operation and maintenance of all facilities; and

  • Decommissioning and removal of the Boyers Bend, Howells Landing, and Tyndall Mound pumping plants when other facilities have been constructed and are in operation.

Construction activities associated with these project features will include (1) installation of cofferdams to isolate the site of the fish screen facility from the Sacramento River, (2) site preparation for the fish screen structure, (3) construction of the screening facility, (4) installation, testing, and (potential) adjustment of the fish screen panels and brush cleaner, (5) site preparation and construction of the forebay, canals, and associated structures, (6) grading and removal of soil from two agricultural borrow sites, (7) construction traffic during the construction period, (8) removal of cofferdams, (9) dismantling of existing unscreened diversion facilities and removal of debris, and (10) on-going operation and maintenance of facilities. The overall construction period will be two years. The timing of construction will depend on when the project is initiated and on conditions such as flows in the Sacramento River. Based on the project engineer's schedule, Table 2-1 provides an estimate of the total time for each of the above phases of the project. Table 2-1 therefore indicates the probable time during which a given activity may have effects on the environment.


Table 2-1: Estimated construction time, by construction component


construction componentS

estimated duration

in Days


Probable Construction window

1. Install cofferdams

60

April - October

2/3/4. Prepare site, construct fish screen, install screens

496

Following Nov 1

5/6. Construct forebay, canals, associated structures; utilize borrow sites

(a) North Canal, to Highway 45 siphon

(b) Highway 45 Siphon

(c) North Canal, Hwy 45 siphon to Boyers Bend

(d) Afterbay

(e) Boyers Bend lift station

(f) South Canal station 12+00 to 70+00

(g) South Canal station 70+00 to 140+00

(h) South Canal station 140+00 to 187+00

(i) South Canal station 187+00 to 200+00

(j) Howells Landing connection to Pumping Plant

(k) Tyndall Mound Lift Station

(l) Field 66D Lift Station


130


50

120


120

100


130

130


130

130


90

90

90



On-going (adjusted to reflect irrigation)

"

"

"



"

"

"



"

"

"



"

7. Construction traffic

730

Per above

8. Remove cofferdams

30

Undefined

9. Dismantle unscreened diversions and dispose

7-14 (each, late summer)

Late summer

10. Maintain and operate

Indefinite

Year round

The mechanisms by which each component of the project may affect the physical environment and thus have potential effects on special status species are described following the description of each project action.

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