[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 38 (Tuesday, February 26, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13082-13083]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04334]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation


Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement/
Environmental Impact Statement, Upper Truckee River and Marsh 
Restoration Project, El Dorado County, California

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and notice of public hearings.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Reclamation has made available for public review 
and comment the draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact 
Statement/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS/EIS) for the Upper 
Truckee River Restoration and Marsh Restoration Project (Project). The 
California Tahoe Conservancy and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 
the other lead agencies for the Project, made the EIR/EIS/EIS available 
to the public on February 8, 2013.

DATES: Submit written comments on the draft EIR/EIS/EIS on or before 
April 29, 2013.
    Two public hearings will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 
13, 2013 and Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Stateline, Nevada, to receive 
oral and written comments regarding the Project's environmental 
effects.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments on the draft EIR/EIS/EIS to Scott 
Carroll, Environmental Planner, State of California, California Tahoe 
Conservancy, 1061 Third Street, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150; by fax to 
530-542-5567; or by email to scarroll@tahoe.ca.gov. Emailed comments 
are preferred. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for directions on 
how to prepare email comments for the Project.
    The public hearings will be held at 128 Market Street, Stateline, 
Nevada.
    The draft EIR/EIS/EIS is accessible at the following Web sites: 
http://tahoe.ca.gov/upper-truckee-marsh-69.aspx. http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=2937.
    Compact disks are also available upon request from the California 
Tahoe Conservancy at scarroll@tahoe.ca.gov.
    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION Section for location where copies of 
the draft EIR/EIS/EIS are available for public review.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Carroll, California Tahoe 
Conservancy, at 530-543-6062; or Adam Lewandowski, Tahoe Regional 
Planning Agency; and Myrnie Mayville, Bureau of Reclamation, both at 
775-588-4547.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Project is to restore 
natural geomorphic processes and ecological functions in this lowest 
reach of the Upper Truckee River and the surrounding marsh to improve 
ecological values of the restoration area and help reduce the river's 
discharge of nutrients and sediment that diminish Lake Tahoe's clarity.
    The approximately 592-acre study area is along the most downstream 
reaches of the Upper Truckee River and Trout Creek, including their 
mouths at Lake Tahoe in the City of South Lake Tahoe, within El Dorado 
County, California. It includes 1.8-miles of the Upper Truckee River as 
well as the marsh and meadows surrounding the lowest reaches of Trout 
Creek. The majority of the study area is owned by the California Tahoe 
Conservancy though the study area does include small areas owned by 
other public agencies and private landowners.
    Four action alternatives (Alternatives 1-4), and the No-Project/No-
Action Alternative (Alternative 5), are analyzed in the draft EIR/EIS/
EIS. Alternative 1 would involve restoration of the Upper Truckee River 
by increasing channel length and decreasing channel capacity. 
Alternative 2 would involve river restoration by directly raising the 
streambed elevation, increasing the channel length, and decreasing 
channel capacity. A key element of this restoration would be the 
excavation of a new river channel that has less capacity than the 
existing channel. Alternative 3 would promote the development, through 
natural processes, of a new main channel and/or distributary channels 
in the central portion of the study area. A ``pilot'' channel would be 
constructed from the existing river channel to historical channels in 
the center of the study area, but no construction would occur in the 
central or northern portions of the study area. Rather, natural 
processes would be allowed to dictate the flow path(s), bed and bank 
elevations, and capacities of the channel(s) through the central and 
northern portions of the study area. Alternative 4 would restore the 
river channel and its connection to the floodplain by lowering bank 
heights by excavating an inset floodplain along much of the river 
channel, and by localized cut and fill to create meanders in the 
existing straightened reach. Alternative 5 would not provide any 
actions to restore the river channel and its connection to the 
floodplain in the study area. This alternative would allow, but not 
facilitate the long-term, passive recovery of the river system via 
natural processes. This alternative represents a projection of 
reasonably foreseeable future conditions that could occur if no project 
actions were implemented.

Significant or Adverse Environmental Effects Anticipated

    Alternative 1 would involve restoration of the Upper Truckee River 
by increasing channel length and decreasing channel capacity. 
Implementation of Alternative 1 would result in short-term project and 
cumulative construction impacts to sensitive communities 
(jurisdictional wetlands, riparian vegetation, and Stream Environment 
Zone); disruption of wildlife habitat use and loss of wildlife; and 
potential risk of surface water degradation during construction and the 
interim adjustment period thereafter.
    Implementing Alternative 1 would provide the maximum recreation 
elements, but in turn would result in additional significant and 
unavoidable project-related impacts including damage to or mortality of 
special-status plants resulting from recreational activities; conflicts 
with regional conservation strategies for Tahoe yellow cress; operation 
and expansion of recreation facilities having an adverse physical 
effect on the environment; and degradation of the scenic quality of 
shoreline and mapped scenic resources related to the Upper Truckee 
River bridge.
    Implementing Alternative 2 would involve river restoration by 
directly raising the streambed elevation, increasing the channel 
length, and decreasing channel capacity by excavation of a new river 
channel that has less capacity than the existing

[[Page 13083]]

channel. This alternative would result in the same significant and 
unavoidable project-related and cumulative impacts discussed above for 
Alternative 1.
    Alternative 3 would allow natural processes to dictate the flow 
path(s), bed and bank elevations, and capacities of the channel(s) 
through portions of the study area and would result in the same 
significant and unavoidable project-related and cumulative impacts 
discussed above for Alternative 1, as well as potentially resulting in 
long-term disruption of fish passage and migration patterns as the 
channel adjusts.
    Implementing Alternative 4 would require excavating an inset 
floodplain along much of the river channel. This alternative would 
result in the same significant and unavoidable project-related and 
cumulative impacts discussed above for Alternative 1. Alternative 5 
(No-Project/No-Action) would allow, but not facilitate the long-term, 
passive recovery of the river system by natural processes; therefore, 
this alternative would not result in any significant and unavoidable 
impacts.

Beneficial Effects

    Implementing Alternative 1 would result in long-term enhancement 
and creation of jurisdictional wetlands, riparian vegetation, and 
Stream Environment Zone habitats resulting from restoration and 
enhancement elements. Alternative 1 would have beneficial project 
related and cumulative effects on hydrologic/hydraulic processes from 
reconfiguration of stream channels and lagoon surface water features. 
Project and cumulative beneficial effects would include decreased 
erosion along the Upper Truckee River, increased overbank flooding for 
small streamflow events and associated retention of fine sediment and 
nutrients, and groundwater level improvements within the study area.
    Alternative 2 would result in the same project-related and 
cumulative beneficial effects as discussed above for Alternative 1. In 
addition, implementing Alternative 2 would result in long-term 
beneficial effects on common or special-status wildlife resources and a 
decrease in recreational conflicts in the core habitat area. 
Alternative 1 would also have these benefits, however to a lesser 
extent than other action alternatives.
    Implementation of Alternative 3 would result in the same project-
related and cumulative beneficial effects as discussed above for 
Alternative 2.
    Alternative 4 would result in the same project-related and 
cumulative beneficial effects as discussed above for Alternative 2.
    Alternative 5 (No-Project/No-Action) would allow, but not 
facilitate the long-term, passive recovery of the river system by 
natural processes; therefore, this alternative would not directly 
result in any beneficial effects.
    A preferred or proposed alternative has not yet been defined. 
Following receipt and evaluation of public comments on the draft EIR/
EIS/EIS, the lead agencies will determine which alternative or 
combinations of features from multiple alternatives will become the 
proposed action. A discussion of the decision will be included in the 
final EIR/EIS/EIS. A summary description of the alternatives is 
presented below. The detailed description of each alternative is 
presented in Chapter 2 of the draft EIR/EIS/EIS.
    The draft EIR/EIS/EIS is being distributed to interested agencies, 
stakeholder organizations, and individuals. This distribution ensures 
that interested parties have an opportunity to express their views 
regarding the environmental effects of the Project, and to ensure that 
information pertinent to permits and approvals is provided to decision 
makers for the lead agencies.
    For comments provided via email, please utilize the following 
format:
    Email to: scarroll@tahoe.ca.gov
    Subject Line: Upper Truckee River and Marsh Restoration Project 
draft EIR/EIS/EIS directions:
    (1) Attach comments in an MS Word document.
    (2) Include commenter's U.S. Postal Service mailing address in MS 
Word.
    All comments will be distributed by the California Tahoe 
Conservancy to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Bureau of 
Reclamation.

Hearing Process and Distribution Information

    The California Tahoe Conservancy, Bureau of Reclamation, and Tahoe 
Regional Planning Agency will conduct a public hearing on the draft 
EIR/EIS/EIS. It is not necessary to provide testimony during the public 
hearing; comments on the draft EIR/EIS/EIS will be accepted throughout 
the meeting and will be recorded at the public comment table. Comments 
may also be submitted throughout the comment period as described above. 
Once all comments have been assembled and reviewed, responses will be 
prepared to address significant environmental issues that have been 
raised in the comments.
    Copies of the draft EIR/EIS/EIS are available for public review at 
the following locations:
     State of California, California Tahoe Conservancy, 1061 
Third Street, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
     Tahoe Regional Planning Agency front desk, 128 Market 
Street, Stateline, NV 89449.
     Mid-Pacific Regional Library, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 
Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825.
     Natural Resources Library, Department of the Interior, 
1849 C Street NW., Main Interior Building, Washington, DC 20240-0001.

Special Assistance for the Public Hearing

    If special assistance is required to participate in the public 
hearing, please contact Marja Ambler at 775-589-5287, or via email at 
mambler@trpa.org. Please notify Marja Ambler as far in advance as 
possible to enable the Bureau of Reclamation to secure the needed 
services. If a request cannot be honored, the requestor will be 
notified. A telephone device for the hearing impaired (TDD) is 
available at 916-978-5608.

Public Disclosure

    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 may 
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.

    Dated: February 12, 2013.
Pablo R. Arroyave,
Deputy Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-04334 Filed 2-25-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-MN-P