SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District (Corps) is evaluating a proposal by SCP Conservation, LLC (Sponsor) to establish the Fountain Creek Mitigation Bank (Bank). The Bank would result in the restoration of riparian wetlands adjacent to and within the Fountain Creek floodplain with an up to 750-foot upland buffer, where possible, within the property boundary. Details of the proposed Bank may be found in the attached Prospectus and on our RIBITS website at https://ribits.usace.army.mil. The purpose of this public notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed mitigation bank and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: The Bank Prospectus is being evaluated under 33 CFR Part 332.8.
SPONSOR: Mr. Gray Stevens, SCP Conservation LLC, 1030 3rd Avenue S #304 Naples, FL 34102
LOCATION: The proposed 80-acre Bank would be located within the Fountain Creek 8-digit hydrologic unit (HUC 11020003). The legal description of the project center point is Section 36, Township 17S, Range 65W, Latitude/Longitude 38.530731°N, -104.619749°W.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Sponsor proposes to create an 80-acre wetland mitigation bank by restoring riparian wetlands within the Fountain Creek floodplain. According to the Sponsor, Initial site investigations revealed the opportunity for wetland restoration and protection along the floodplain corridor of Fountain Creek. The Sponsor proposes to collect detailed baseline data and develop a comprehensive mitigation work plan using guidance from the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Design Manual. The details of the work plan would depend on the results of baseline data collection but is proposed to concentrate on riparian plantings to restore the historic presence of dense willows and cottonwoods and a thick understory of native grasses and forbs that have been reduced or removed by intense grazing practices. The proposed primary service area for the Bank would include the entire Fountain Creek watershed in which the Bank is sited (HUC 11020003). The proposed secondary service area would include the adjacent 8-digit HUCs of Chico (HUC 11020004) and Upper Arkansas (HUC 11020002) within the L2-South Central Semi-Arid Prairie ecoregion. The proposed tertiary service area would include the remaining HUC-8 watersheds within the Upper Arkansas Basin (HUC 110200).
ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING: The site is located within the Fountain Creek floodplain corridor and is bisected by Fountain Creek. The eastern half of the site is slightly higher in elevation and is the primary location for cattle grazing, although cattle have access to the entire site. The Sponsor proposes that the cessation of cattle grazing will improve the overall condition of the floodplain zone and allow for the native plant species to reestablish. The western floodplain is more heavily impacted by historic flood events where Fountain Creek migrates within the floodplain leaving large sediment deposits, debris racks, and trash. The floodplain contains established galleries of cottonwoods and willows interspersed with noxious weeds. Initial assessment by the Sponsor identified an absence of sapling populations. The following herbaceous species were reported to inhabit the site: Mare’s tail (Conyza canadensis), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and various mustards (Brassicaceae family). In addition, some of the wetland areas within the wetland floodplain were dominated by cattails (Typha sp.) and horsetail (Equisetum sp.).
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Interagency Review Team (IRT) responsible for the review and approval of the proposed mitigation bank includes the Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Division of Water Resources, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. As the Bank Manager, the Corps may elect to invite other federal and state agencies, as appropriate.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The proposed activity may affect federally-listed endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.
The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, federal, state, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors. Comments are used in the evaluation of the proposed mitigation bank per 33 CFR Part 332.8 and in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPA-2011-00258-SCO must be submitted to the office listed below on or before October 24, 2018.
Albuquerque District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Southern Colorado Regulatory Office
ATTN: Joshua G. Carpenter
201 West 8th Street, Suite 350
Pueblo, Colorado 81003
Phone: (719) 744-9379
Please note that all written comments are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.