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April 6, 2020 – Beale Air Force Base announces their intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment for the proposed dam replacement and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement project. Project activities would: 1) replace Frisky Lake dam and spillway in order to increase the storage capacity of Frisky Lake to 500 acre-feet; and 2) create and/or enhance 12 acres of potential nesting habitat to benefit the tricolored blackbird. As part of the Proposed Action, the Air Force is considering a No Action Alternative, Alternative 1 (replacement of the dam and spillway and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement), and Alternative 2 (replacement of the dam and spillway at an upstream location and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement). The complete project area includes approximately 25 acres of wetlands and occurs within the floodplain of Frisky Lake. Short-term, temporary impacts would occur to approximately 20 acres of wetlands during removal of the existing dam and spillway, and during grading associated with tricolored blackbird habitat creation and/or enhancement under Alternative 1. Permanent impacts would occur to approximately 2 acres of wetlands during construction of the new dam and spillway, which would have a slightly larger footprint than the current dam and spillway as the dam is being raised to increase the storage capacity of Frisky Lake to 500 acre-feet. Alternative 1 will not adversely affect floodplains or increase the risk of flood loss, but rather will improve flood protection for the Main Base District. In addition, wetland impacts in the long-term would be beneficial due to the replacement of Frisky Lake dam and the increase in both surface water area and surface water duration. Native vegetation along the banks of the lake would be restored.

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Alternative 2 would have similar benefits to the floodplain, surface water area and surface water duration compared to Alternative 1. Alternative 2 would result in short-term, temporary impacts to approximately 14 acres of wetlands during removal of the existing dam and spillway, and during grading associated with tricolored blackbird habitat creation and/or enhancement under Alternative 1. Permanent impacts would occur to approximately 4 acres of wetlands (including vernal pools) during construction of the new dam and spillway, which would have a slightly larger footprint than the current dam and spillway as the dam is being raised to increase the storage capacity of Frisky Lake to 500 acre-feet.

Under the No Action Alternative, the dam and spillway replacement would not occur and no impacts to the wetlands would be anticipated. However, the No Action Alternative would adversely affect floodplains and increase the risk of flood loss to the critical infrastructure in the Main Base District.

Because the Proposed Action has the potential to result in impacts to floodplains and wetlands and wetland buffers, the action is subject to the requirements and objectives of Executive Order 11990, Wetlands, as amended, and in accordance with Section 2(b) of Executive Order No. 11514, as amended. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District have special expertise related to impacts to wetlands and floodplains and have all been notified of this project. The Air Force invites the public to provide comments on the proposal and any practicable alternatives that may reduce these impacts. Comments should be sent by May 5, 2020 to Ms. Kathryn Curtis, at (530) 634-2642, 9 CES/CEIE, 6425 B Street Bldg. 25390, Beale AFB, CA 95903-1708 or emailed to kathryn.curtis@us.af.mil.