Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a Proposed Special Area Management Plan for the Otay River Watershed, San Diego County, CA
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps of Engineers) is announcing its intent to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). The SAMP is being developed to address potential effects of anticipated development, infrastructure, and maintenance projects on aquatic resources in the Otay River Watershed (SAMP study area). The DEIS will assess the impacts of various land development and aquatic resource protection alternatives as set forth below and further identified during the preparation of the SAMP. It is anticipated that the DEIS will be utilized by the local agencies in lieu of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The SAMP will provide a comprehensive plan for protecting and enhancing aquatic resources while providing for the permitting of reasonable economic development and public infrastructure, consistent with the goals and objectives of local land use plans and with the regional Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) for southwestern San Diego County developed by local governments in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game. The SAMP will provide a framework for a long-term program-level permitting process for projects in the watershed subject to the Corps of Engineers' permit authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Section 404 of the CWA regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. The SAMP may also be utilized by other agencies in the administration of their regulatory programs, including the California Department of Fish and Game (i.e., Section 1600 et seq. of the Fish and Game Code) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (i.e., Section 401 of the CWA). In addition, the SAMP will include a comprehensive program involving conservation, restoration, and management of aquatic resources within the study area.