Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Assessment (EA)

Bureau of Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Assessment (EA)

For Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development

 The Bureau of Reclamation has finalized the documents that evaluate the installation of infrastructure that would make permanent recreational development possible at five sites around Lake Berryessa. A Final Environmental Assessment released, Wednesday, Jan. 10 authorizes conceptual site plans at the following recreation areas, from north to south: Putah Canyon, Monticello Shores, Berryessa Point, Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon.

The environmental assessment considered the effects of installing facilities such as wastewater treatment and disposal, electrical distribution and access such as roads and parking areas required for development of permanent recreation facilities not currently offered at these sites. The facilities considered were based on the core, essential infrastructure needed to support the management direction in the Lake Berryessa Reservoir Area Management Plan and subsequent Visitor Services Plan. Reclamation considered various levels of development during its planning process and refined the conceptual site plans based on a market assessment, a financial feasibility evaluation and input received from the public during the planning process.

Future concessionaires would have the opportunity to utilize this analysis and streamline the approval process

Reclamation also released an important report known as the FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) which eliminates the need for major Environmental Impact studies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This FONSI report is so critical to removing future bureaucratic roadblocks of the type that stalled Pensus’ efforts to redevelop the resorts that I will reproduce it in full below for your review. After the long history of the Battle for Berryessa I documented above, Reason 5 was ironically amusing.

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Finding of No Significant Impact

FONSI CCAO 17-09

Based on the attached EA for the Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development, Reclamation finds that the Proposed Action is not a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended; the Council on Environmental Quality’s Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500-1508); and Department of the Interior regulations (43 CFR Part 46). Effects on several environmental resources were examined and found to be absent or minor. That effects analysis is provided in the attached EA, and the analysis in the EA is hereby incorporated by reference.

The EA concluded that installing the infrastructure necessary for redevelopment of the RAs will not have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, an environmental impact statement is not required and will not be prepared for this Proposed Action.

Following are the reasons why the impacts of the Proposed Action are not significant:

1. The Proposed Action will not significantly affect public health or safety (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(2)).

2. The Proposed Action will not significantly affect natural resources and unique geographical characteristics such as historic or cultural resources; parks, recreation, and refuge lands; wilderness areas; wild or scenic rivers; national natural landmarks; sole or principal drinking water aquifers; prime farmlands; floodplains (EO 11988); national monuments; migratory birds; and other ecologically significant or critical areas (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(3) and 43 CFR 46.215(b)).

3. The Proposed Action is not likely to result in effects to the human environment that are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(5)).

4. The Proposed Action will neither establish a precedent for future actions with significant effects nor represent a decision in principle about a future consideration (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(6)).

5. Effects of the Proposed Action have no potential to be considered highly controversial (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(4)).

6. The Proposed Action will not have significant cumulative impacts (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(7)).

7. The Proposed Action has no potential to affect historic properties (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(8)).

8. The Proposed Action and environmental commitments herein will not affect listed or proposed threatened or endangered species (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(9)). In addition, the Proposed Action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle as per the biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on June 2, 2016.

9. The Proposed Action will not violate federal, state, tribal or local law or requirements imposed for the protection of the environment (40 CFR 1508.27(b)(10)).

10. The Proposed Action will not affect any Indian Trust Assets (512 DM 2, Policy Memorandum dated December 15, 1993), as none are known to exist at the RAs.

11. Implementing the Proposed Action will not disproportionately affect minorities or low income populations and communities (EO 12898).

12. The Proposed Action will not limit access to, and ceremonial use of, Indian sacred sites on Federal lands by Indian religious practitioners or significantly adversely affect the physical integrity of such sacred sites (EO 13007 and 512 DM 3). No sacred sites are known to exist at the RAs.

Based on the Final EA for the Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development, Reclamation finds that the Proposed Action is not a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

The Final EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at 

https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=29586. 

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018