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COMMENTS on the FINAL Environmental Impact Statement - 2012/11/30 07:40 COMMENTS on the FINAL Environmental Impact Statement
NEPA requires Federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements (EISs) for major Federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment. An EIS is a full disclosure document that details the process through which a transportation project was developed, includes consideration of a range of reasonable alternatives, analyzes the potential impacts resulting from the alternatives, and demonstrates compliance with other applicable environmental laws and executive orders. The final EIS can be viewed on the Sacramento Districtís website at: http://1.usa.gov/S1RzSb . Hard copies of the document are located at local libraries in Bakersfield, Ridgecrest and Lake Isabella; and Forest Service offices in Lake Isabella, Porterville and Kernville. The EIS process in completed in the following ordered steps: Notice of Intent (NOI), draft EIS, final EIS, and record of decision (ROD). Following the required 30-day waiting period which closed on Monday November 26, 2012, a Record of Decision that documents the Corps findings and recommendations will be prepared. Once the Record of Decision is published, the Corpsí next step is to commence the preconstruction, engineering and design phase for the project. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2015.

COMMENTS ON THE FINAL EIS:
IF you made comments and wish to share them, e-mail them to damtaskforce@KRVR.org
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Richard Rowe
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Re:COMMENTS on the FINAL Environmental Impact Statement - 2012/11/30 07:42 Attached are Richard Rowe's comments to the FINAL EIS.

RCRowe FINAL EIS Comments 11-26-2012 [6 page pdf file]
File Attachment:
File name: RCRowe_FINAL_EIS_Comments_11_26_2012.pdf
File size:695867 bytes
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Bob Barnes
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Re:COMMENTS on the FINAL Environmental Impact Statement - 2012/11/30 07:43 John P. Menniti, Senior Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
135 J. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

John:

My name is Bob Barnes. I spoke/asked questions at the USACE sponsored Lake Isabella dams update public meeting in Kernville the evening of Tuesday, November 13, 2012. On recommendation of USACE staff at the November 13th meeting, this email is sent to you for your review and distribution to appropriate staff (e.g.: Mitch Stewart). In addition to some up front background information for your use as context as you wish, this email concerns the following known or potential mitigation issues:

0.33 acres of emergent wetland loss
water seepage controlled distribution
elderberry shrub transplant from project area

BACKGROUND:
I am on the Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation (KRVHF) Board of Directors. The KRVHF manages the Kern County owned, 18 acre Bob Powers Gateway Preserve (BPGP) under a thirty year lease agreement which expires June 26, 2031. The BPGP is located on the south side of the CA Hwy 155 and CA Hwy 178 intersection less than a mile below the Lake Isabella Auxiliary Dam. The lower (Bakersfield direction) end of the property is marked by a split rail fence. There is a ponding basin designed by the USFWS-Partners for Fish and Wildlife program located on site which is seasonally flooded for various lengths of time depending on water in-flow rate and duration of flow each year. Besides the County of Kern and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among supporters are Audubon-California Kern River Preserve (allocated staff time), Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce (proposed future office site and visitor center - out of the delineated emergent wetland zone, of course!), Kern River Valley Revitalization, Kernville Chamber of Commerce, Kern Valley Historical Society (Kern River Valley historian Bob Powers connection), Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC strategic plan development grant and technical support), Southern California Edison (grant support), USDI-Bureau of Land Management (15 acres of land in adjacent emergent wetland), and Wildlife Conservation Board (grant which helped initial fee title acquisition). The Bob Powers Gateway Preserve Strategic Plan (3/28/12) may be found via:
http://www.co.kern.ca.us/artman2/main/uploads/1/bob-powers-gateway-preserve.pdf


EMERGENT WETLANDS LOSS (0.33 acres): the possibility/request for mitigation to take place on the existing Bob Powers Gateway Preserve. USFWS designed two ponds for wetland enhancement on BPGP acreage. Construction of the first pond was completed with oversight by USFWS and based on significant funding from the FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. Partners for Fish and Wildlife are still involved regarding supervision when enough funds are gathered to pay for construction of the second pond. A KRVHF grant proposal to the SNC for the second pond was well along in the process when State of California budget woes suspended awarding of all SNC grants. Since then, KRVHF has been seeking funds for second pond construction. FWS and Southern California Edison have each come up with support. KRVHF is awaiting word on the fate of a NAWCA grant proposal and possible funding via WHIP and other funding sources (private and public).

Question? Would it be possible to mitigate the loss of 0.33 acres of emergent wetland within the LI dams project site through wetlands enhancement of existing emergent wetland? If so, mitigation could be accomplished through contribution of additional needed funds for BPGP second pond construction or, if adequate funds are secured for the former, mitigation via funds for well and solar pump installation to lengthen the availability of water in the ponds though to the completion of waterfowl nesting season in dry years such as in 2012 when Cinnamon Teal and Mallard families were left "high and dry" by early June.


WATER SEEPAGE: the possibility/request to direct some of the controlled dam water seepage flow toward the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve ponds. The BPGP is down slope from the LI ams project site. Water run-off currently reaches the preserve primarily via elevated groundwater level during the rain season and a large culvert immediately on the south side of the junction of CA Hwy 155 and CA Hwy 178, the clearance of which is maintained by Caltrans. Depending on the rain and snowpack year, groundwater levels drop and the culvert-provided source of water dries up sometime in late May into July.

Question? If the USACE dam "fix" design includes acceptable, controlled management of water seepage, is it feasible/possible to direct a portion to the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve to maintain a higher pond water level longer into June or July to provide for nesting waterfowl, other water-associated bird species, and amphibians? This might be done by seepage water reaching the existing culvert at CA Hwy 155 and CA Hwy 178 via the PVC pipe size required to carry some to all of the water seepage.


ELDERBERRY: the possibility/request for elderberry transplant from USACE LI dams project site to the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve where a few elderberry shrubs are already established and thriving. KRVHF would like to add to the elderberry shrubs on site which would also fill in gaps in the plant screening from the adjacent Verizon and residential properties along Suhre St. in Lake Isabella. Our thought is the close proximity of the BPGP to the USACE LI dams project site is most convenient in terms distance, time, and perhaps cost of transplanting elderberry shrubs from the project site to elsewhere.

Question? Since the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve is less than one mile from the USACE LI dams project site, has soil which already supports some thriving elderberry shrubs, and has a need (plants used as screens between preserve and developed areas), would it be feasible/possible to transplant elderberry shrubs from the LI dam project site to the BPGP? Also, if there are other native plant transplants which will or could take place from the LI dams project area to elsewhere, we would like to be kept informed of opportunities for transplant to the BPGP. Thank you.


Please let me know if any to all of the preceding proposed mitigation actions will work for the USACE in terms of the LI dams project and the processes ("hoops") the Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation needs to go through to help make them happen.

Thank you for your kind attention,

Bob Barnes, Board Member
Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation

24/7/ Cellular Phone Number: 760-382-1260

Cc: Carlos Lazo, Mitch Stewart
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Re:COMMENTS on the FINAL Environmental Impact Statement - 2012/11/30 07:56 From: Nicholas Magarett <nicholas@haven-rv.com>
To: isabella@usace.army.mil, Randy Peale <randy@haven-rv.com>, Raymond Peale <raymond@haven-rv.com>
Cc: board@co.kern.ca.us, district1@co.kern.ca.us
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2012 11:54:09 -0800
Subject: Isabella Dam Construction Concerns

November 24, 2012

Happy Haven Trailer Park
6950 Lake Isabella Blvd
P.O. Box 976
Lake Isabella, CA 93240
P: (760)379-8598
E: Nicholas@haven-rv.com

Subject: Lake Isabella Dam Construction

To Whom It May Concern:

We attended a meeting in Bakersfield CA on Nov 15th last week, which addressed the public, The Corps of Engineers proposed Environmental Impact Statement. During this meeting, it was brought to our attention, that if either the main or auxiliary dam were to break, there would be no direct impact to our property and or business. But during the construction process (2015-2022), we would be greatly impacted during the road, dam, and spillway construction due to dust, noise, traffic, and possibly water well contamination. We do understand that the reconstruction is necessary for the safety of the local community, and Bakersfield in case of earthquakes or flooding.

During the reconstruction of the Lake Isabella Dam, the Corps of Engineers will be installing a dewatering system, that by all intents and purposes may contaminate our water well system, which is approx. 2,540ft away from the base of the dam. We are currently a Water Purveyor, State Small, Permit #0005751 under the County of Kernís Health Department. Thus far, we have not had any governmental agencies contact us regarding this matter.

For the above mentioned issues, we have thought of the following solutions:

For the potential contamination of the water well system, Erskine Creek Water has a connection at the front of our facility which can be connected to and routed to the park as a replacement system, which would be filtered and maintained by Erskine Creek Water. Switching over to Erskine Creek Water would then will require the infrastructure within the park to be upgraded as well.

For the noise that could potentially disrupt our customerís current living arrangement, a brick wall to surround the property has been deemed as the only way to reduce any noise generated by the construction and or heavy equipment.

Due to the economic conditions of the local economy, we do not have the resources to correct these issues on our own without financially impacting our client base, which most, live off government assistance. An increase in rent to cover the cost of doing such projects will cause our current client base to move out and possibly even become homeless.

Best Regards,
Raymond Peale

NOTE: The Happy Haven Trailer Park (A below) is 1 of 2 trailer parks near the Auxiliary Dam. Happy Haven is S of Lake Isabella Blvd between the Borel Canal and the County Center.
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