«DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR THE COLUMBIA STOCK RANCH SECTION 536 ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT The environmental ...»
COLUMBIA STOCK RANCH SECTION 536
ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT
The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required in accordance with applicable
Federal laws for this project is being, or has been, carried-out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, under its assumption of responsibility pursuant to 33 C.F.R. Part 230.
22 April 2016 DRAFT Environmental Assessment for the Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program Executive Summary This draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) in cooperation with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), (together, the Action Agencies) to evaluate the Columbia Stock Ranch Ecosystem Restoration Project. This project is proposed as part of the Corps’ Section 536 Authority to conduct studies and implement ecosystem restoration projects in the lower Columbia River and Tillamook Bay estuaries. The proposed ecosystem restoration requires review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] § 4321, et seq. and implementing regulations at 40 Code of Federal Regulations [C.F.R.] § 1500 and 33 CFR Part 230). The Columbia Land Trust (CLT) is the land owner for the subject property and BPA is a cooperating agency under NEPA and the project sponsor.
The purpose of this draft EA is to consider the environmental impacts of implementing habitat restoration actions at the Columbia Stock Ranch (CSR) property on Deer Island in Columbia County, Oregon. The CSR project area consists of approximately 460 acres of floodplain and riparian habitats adjacent to the Columbia River, with 1.5 miles of frontage to the river.
Currently, the CSR project site is disconnected from the lower Columbia River and estuary by a flood reduction levee and juvenile salmonids do not have access to the project site for rearing and foraging. This draft EA describes and evaluations the benefits of restorating hydrologic connectivity between the Columbia River and the CSR project site to improve habitat for fish and wildlife, including salmonids listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973.
Alternatives were developed to maximize restoration potential on the project site. All alternatives, including the Proposed Action, include construction of a setback levee and breaching the existing Columbia River Levee to facilitate inundation of the project site by tidal waters from the Columbia River and provide off-channel habitat for juvenile salmonids. The
Proposed Action includes the following construction elements:
Acquisition of lands, easements and rights of way from land owners, diking district, utilities, Portland & Western Railroad and the Oregon Department of Transportation for all actions associated with staging, access and construction Removal of a residential home, associated outbuildings, and fences Construction of temporary haul road to dredged material placement site Construction of setback levee, seepage berms, and installation of tide gate at Tide Creek Modification to the existing flood control levee, including three (3) breaches and lowering the remaining elevation to approximately 15 feet NAVD 88 Installation of two (2) bridges in the railroad embankment, spanning existing waterways Excavation of tidal channels, marsh and wetland habitats and an overflow channel Grading select portions of upland areas below 2-year flood elevation and filling an agricultural drainage ditch Removal of existing culvert, tide gate and channel-spanning cattle grates in Tide Creek Removal of culvert in existing access road and grade road to match adjacent topography Invasive species removal, and planting native vegetation The draft EA is available for a 21-day public review in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations, including the NEPA. At the end of the public comment period, the Agencies will consider all comments received or post marked by the expiration date of this public notice and make a determination of significance of impacts resulting from the Proposed Action.
April 2016 ES-1 Table of Contents
1.1. Authority and Funding
1.2. Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion
1.3. Purpose and Need
1.4. Goals and Objectives
1.5. Project Sponsor and Land Owner
2. Action Area
2.1. Columbia Stock Ranch
3. Proposed Action and Reasonable Alternatives
3.1. No Action Alternative
3.2. Proposed Action
3.3. Alternatives Considered but Dismissed from Further Evaluation
3.4. Comparison of Alternatives
3.5. Best Management Practices
3.6. Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan
4. Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences
4.1. Hydrology and Hydraulics
4.2. Geology, Topography and Soils
4.3. Vegetation, Wetlands and Aquatic Habitats
4.4. Fish and Wildlife
Threatened and Endangered Species – NOAA Fisheries
Threatened and Endangered Species – USFWS
4.5. Water Quality
4.6. Air Quality and Noise Pollution
4.7. Cultural Resources
4.8. Land Use and Utilities
April 22, 2016 Page i Environmental Consequences
4.10. Climate Change
5. Cumulative Effects
5.1. Past Actions
5.2. Present Actions
5.3. Reasonably Foreseeable Future Actions
5.4. Cumulative Effects Summary
Determination of Cumulative Impacts
6. Status of Environmental Compliance
6.1. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
6.2. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940
6.3. Clean Air Act of 1970
6.4. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.......... 59
6.5. Clean Water Act of 1972
6.6. Endangered Species Act of 1973
6.7. Farmlands Protection Policy Act of 1994
6.8. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1958
6.9. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976
6.10. Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
6.11. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
6.12. Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, 24 May 1977
6.13. Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands, 24 May 1977
6.14. Executive Order 11593, Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment, May 1971
6.15. Executive Order 12898, Environmental Justice, 11 February 1994
6.16. Executive Order 13112, Invasive Species
6.17. Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 6 November 2000
6.18. Executive Order 13186, Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds, 10 January 2001
6.19. Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, 5 October 2009
April 22, 2016 Page ii
6.20. Other Laws and Executive Orders
7. Coordination and Distribution
8. References and Literature Cited
April 22, 2016 Page iii List of Figures Figure 1: Deer Island and the CSR project site
Figure 2: Proposed Action and design features for the CSR project site
Figure 3: Setback levee cross-section
Figure 4: Draft plans for tide gate located in setback levee at Tide Creek
Figure 5: Schematic for low and high marsh elevations on northern portion of CSR project site.......... 12 Figure 6: Schematic for low and high marsh elevations on southern portion of CSR project site.......... 13 Figure 7: Drainage network associated with Deer Island and the CSR project site
Figure 8: Wetlands and waters of the U.S. within the CSR project area
Figure 9: Sea level rise scenarios at Astoria, Oregon
Figure 10: Columbia County, Oregon Flood Insurance Rate Map 41009C0350D
List of Tables Table 1: Mean water surface elevations at the CSR project site
Table 2: Anticipated construction activity schedule
Table 3: Exceedance Flood Elevations from Columbia River Profiles
Table 4: NOAA Fisheries ESA-listed Species
Table 5: USFWS ESA-listed Species
Table 6: Cumulative effects summary for the No Action Alternative and the Proposed Action............... 53
April 22, 2016 Page vi
1. INTRODUCTION The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps), together with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) (together, the Action Agencies) is proposing to implement an ecosystem restoration project on the Columbia Stock Ranch (CSR) to restore floodplain habitats for the benefit of fish and wildlife. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.), as amended, this draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared by the Corps and evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing the Columbia Stock Ranch Ecosystem Restoration Project in Columbia County, Oregon. The proposed project would improve existing habitat conditions and ecosystem processes by restoring hydrologic connectivity and tidal influence to the floodplain along the lower Columbia River and estuary.
This document summarizes potential environmental impacts from the proposed project in accordance with the Corps’ NEPA regulations and agency guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (2014). Pursuant to the regulations and guidance, this draft EA identifies and evaluates the type and range of environmental impacts that occur when undertaking habitat restoration in tidal and riverine ecosystems. Following the analysis of environmental effects evaluated and disclosed herein, and in full consideration of any issues or comments identified by the public, State and Federal agencies, and Tribes, the Action Agencies will determine whether or not to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the implementation of the proposed CSR restoration project.
Real estate acquisition, planning, design, and construction costs for the proposed restoration project would be entirely federally funded by the Action Agencies. Each agency has different roles and responsibilities and would make agency-specific decisions in the approval of the proposed project. The Corps is the lead federal agency under NEPA and would fund planning, design and construction of the major components of the proposed project. BPA is a cooperating agency under NEPA and would fund real estate acquisition and the installation of some project elements.
Given the purpose and need (discussed below) and any issues identified by the public, State and Federal agencies, and Tribes, each agency (Corps and BPA) will review the alternatives and the range of potential effects in order to make the separate decisions.
The Corps’ decision would be one of the following:
Select the No Action Alternative and not implement ecosystem restoration actions on the CSR project site, providing no benefit to fish and wildlife; or Select the Proposed Action Alternative and implement ecosystem restoration actions on the CSR project site for the benefit of fish and wildlife.
BPA’s decision would be one of the following:
Select the No Action Alternative and not fund and acquire real estate interests or fund the implementation of select project elements, providing no benefit to fish and wildlife;
or Select the Proposed Action Alternative and fund and acquire necessary real estate interests and implement select project elements for the benefit for fish and wildlife.
April 22, 2016 Page 1
1.1. Authority and Funding Congress authorized the Lower Columbia River and Tillamook Bay Ecosystem Restoration program in Section 536 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106as amended by Section 4005 of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 (Public Law 113-121). Section 536 authorizes the Corps to conduct studies and implement ecosystem restoration projects in the lower Columbia River and estuary necessary to protect, monitor, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. Efforts under the authority are cooperative and include input from the National Estuary Program, six state agencies from Oregon and Washington, four federal agencies, recreation, ports, industry, agriculture, labor, commercial fishing, environmental interests, and private citizens.
The proposed CSR project complies with all the requirements of Section 536 and would provide an opportunity in the Columbia River estuary to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat. In so doing, pursuant to Section 536(c)(2), the proposed project would neither affect the water related needs of the estuary (navigation, recreation, and water supply), nor would it adversely affect private property rights.