This is an addendum to the previously adopted CEQA/NEPA document to plant additional riparian acreage within the project grading footprint to support Yuba Water Agency’s FERC mitigation and Voluntary Agreement requirements. USFWS are supportive of this proposal and the benefits that this additional riparian vegetation will provide to rearing juvenile salmonids in the form of shade, cover, and food inputs.
There would be no change to the work activities described in the Project CEQA/NEPA document. The only change to the project footprint would be an approximately 1.3-acre area adjacent to the North Training Wall (NTW) where additional planting would occur. All mitigation measures currently in place to protect special status species and water quality would continue to be implemented, including preconstruction surveys, buffers, construction monitoring for sensitive species and water quality impacts, and fish impact avoidance measures.
Air quality impacts would increase slightly compared to the original CEQA analysis, as heavy equipment would be required to implement the planting. Two mini-excavators and two small excavators would be utilized over approximately 8 hours per day for 6 weeks in 2021, 2 weeks in 2022, and 1 week in 2023. The additional riparian planting would only result in small increases in emissions of criteria pollutants. Phase 2 additional riparian planting is the most extensive and results in the largest increase in emissions from heavy equipment to accomplish the planting. However, the small yearly increases in emissions still results in none of the phases exceeding the significance threshold for each criteria pollutant. Therefore, the additional planting would not change the significance level of any environmental impacts. Additional riparian planting will have beneficial impacts to fish and wildlife species by improving habitat in the form of increased structural complexity and shading. This benefit will increase with time as the planted trees mature.