Notice of Availability for the Draft Program Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report for the San Diego Creek Watershed Special Area Management Plan (SAMP)/Watershed Streambed Alteration Agreement (WSAA) Process, Orange County, CA
Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (as amended), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, Regulatory Division (Corps), in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game, Habitat Conservation Planning, South Coast Region (Department), has completed a Draft Program Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the San Diego Creek Watershed Special Area Management Plan (SAMP)/ Watershed Streambed Alteration Agreement (WSAA) Process. The San Diego Creek Watershed SAMP is a plan, which is comprised of the following elements: an Analytical Framework for Corps and Department decisionmaking; modified, watershed-specific permitting processes, including watershed- and resource-based permitting protocols and a mitigation framework for the Corps and the Department; a Strategic Mitigation Plan, which is based upon a riparian ecosystem restoration plan; a Mitigation Coordination Program to achieve implementation of the Strategic Mitigation Plan and foster a coordinated approach to aquatic resource management in the Watershed; and an implementation plan for the SAMP. The SAMP establishes alternative (aquatic resource- based and watershed-specific) permitting procedures for projects within the San Diego Creek Watershed that will alter the bed, bank or channel of rivers, streams, and lakes and associated riparian habitats under the Department's jurisdiction, and discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States subject to the Corps jurisdiction. The SAMP permitting procedures will improve the capacity of the Corps and the Department to evaluate such projects, as compared to the process each agency would normally follow in permitting such projects on a case-by-case basis.