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One thought on “Center for Watershed Protection Announcement

  1. Good Morning,

    I would like to know your feeling and stand on the Benbow Lake seasonal dam project: Located on the Wild & Scenic South Fork of the Eel River in Southern Humboldt County, just South of the town of Garberville on Hwy 101.

    Your thoughts or studies on: Steelhead, Coho and Chinook passage in and around Benbow Dam, pre & post operation of seasonal use.

    Your thoughts on the un-regulated, un-permitted and un-mitigated instream gravel extraction State Parks has under taken at the confluence of East Branch Creek and the South Fork Eel River behind the Benbow Inn; too repair and re-shape their day use beach area every year.

    Your thoughts about the bank erosion and loss of redwoods into the river, across from East Branch Creek, with many more awaiting the same fate.

    State Parks is asking the Army Corps to extend their CWA 404 permit for two more years (permit # 27048N has expired as of 12/07) without filling a public notice on the project and extension of permit. Please contact Peter Straub, North Section Chief at the Army Corps office in San Francisco; tell him you want this permit extension to be posted as a public notice, and have public comment on it.

    Peter Straub
    North Section Chief
    Regulatory Branch
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    1455 Market Street, 16th Floor
    San Francisco, California 94103-1398
    peter.s.straub@usace.army.mil
    (415) 503-6774 or (415) 503-6795
    FAX NUMBER: (415) 503-6690

    Thank you for your time, I look forward hearing from you;

    Ed Voice
    Garberville
    South Fork Eel River since 1962
    707 349 1069
    evoice@mchsi.com

    After some time, I did get an e-mail back from Peter Straub at ACOE:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Straub, Peter S SPN
    To: Ed Voice
    Cc: Ammerman, David A SPN ; Hicks, Jane M SPN
    Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 10:57 AM
    Subject: RE: Attn: Peter Straub

    Mr. Voice: The Corps is pursuing the issuance of a two-year time extension for the Benbow Summer Dam Project. The time extension would be only issued after completion of any necessary Section 7 consultation with the Services. A public notice is not necessary when the Corps determines that there has been no significant changes in the attendant circumstances since the orginal Department of the Army permit was issued. If you and other property owners have concerns about past compliance issues, you can certainly articulate them in a letter addressed to Dave Ammerman of our Eureka Field Office. Peter Straub

    This was my return letter:

    From: Ed Voice [mailto:evoice@mchsi.com]
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2008 12:30 PM
    To: regulatory.spn@spd02.usace.army.mil
    Cc: Hicks, Jane M SPN; Straub, Peter S SPN; Kiley, Craig W. LTC SPN
    Subject: Attn: Peter Straub

    Mr. Straub;

    Thank you for your reply: I understand about the Section 7 with NMFS, and we have already informed Mr. Ammerman about compliance issues with State Parks at Benbow (I believe you were CC’ed). We were told that Parks permits at Benbow Dam expire in 2007 and that we would be able to voice our opinion and public comments about the operation and project of Benbow Dam in 2008; when Parks applies for a new round of permits. Well it seems there is a loop hole, its called filling for an extension.

    1) We feel that with the additional instream gravel extraction occurring outside of Parks permits is a significant change.

    2) We feel that because of the current bank erosion problems occurring and additional redwood trees falling into the river because of it, is a significant change.

    3) We feel that Parks discussion and consultation with Fish & Game, considering major changes to bank stabilization alternatives in and around both sides of the river (South Fork Eel) at East Branch Creek is a significant change.

    4) We feel this kind of activity at Benbow Dam, in the name of recreation, does not protect threatened & endangered species and their critical habitats found there is a significant change.

    5) We have not seen any attempt by your office, requesting a Section 7 consultation of the National Parks Service (federal river administering agency), as stated in the Federal Wild & Scenic River Act. This should be a significant requirement. The Benbow Lake & Dam project is located on the South Fork Eel River, a State & Federal listed Wild & Scenic River.

    Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires the ACOE to regulate, through permits, the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires the ACOE to regulate, through permits, structures and work in navigable waters of the United States. The scope of the ACOE jurisdiction pursuant to these regulatory authorities is defined at 33 CFR 328-329 & 33 CFR 320-330. ACOE permit applications for activities in wild and scenic rivers are subject to the provisions of Section 7 of the Act.

    No Federal department or agency may assist by loan, grant, license or otherwise in the construction of a water resources project that would have a direct and adverse effect on the values for which a river is designated as an actual or potential System component. This does not preclude licensing or assistance to developments below or above an actual or potential wild, scenic or recreational river area or on a stream tributary which will not invade the area or diminish the scenic, recreational and fish and wildlife values of the area.

    Federal assistance, includes ACOE permits. A permit from the ACOE will require a Section 7 determination by the river-administering agency when the proposal occurs in a designated river or congressionally authorized study river and is a water resources project, i.e., affects the river’s free-flowing condition. This ACOE 404 permit process should trigger and requires a written request for determination from the river-administering agency for such projects.

    It is very important for regional and district ACOE staff to develop a close working relationship with Federal Wild & Scenic River administrators and participate in the review, evaluation process and provisions of Section 7 of the Wild & Scenic River Act.

    Thank you for you time and attention to this matter,

    Ed Voice

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