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CNPS believes that an appropriate alternative to consider would be
locating the entire project further south on the Martin Ranch property, to an
area that is not hydrologically connected to the Crescent City Marsh.
Drainage sub-basin 4 or 5 might be a more appropriate location since impacts to
the Crescent City Marsh would be minimized, according to the DEIS (see
Appendix B, Drainage Study). Another appropriate alternative would be to locate
the project to another property, one with fewer environmental impacts. The
proposed location within the watershed of the only recovery-level western lily
population is wholly inappropriate. While CNPS appreciates the many design
features of the project that will enhance the region, such as consideration of the
viewshed, native plant landscaping, and economic development for the tribe and
the community as a whole, the DEIS fails to consider a range of appropriate and
least environmentally-damaging alternatives.
Without revision, the alternatives section of the DEIS remains inadequate under
CEQA and NEPA.
Impacts to the Federally Endangered Western Lily
CNPS's primary concern is that impacts to the federally endangered western lily
are not adequately addressed in the DEIS for this project. CNPS is particularly
concerned that no formal consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered
Species Act of 1973, as amended, has been initiated with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service regarding impacts to the western lily. Because the Crescent City Marsh
is home to the only recovery-level population of this species, any impacts to this
population would present a potential jeopardy situation to the western lily. The
BIA must provide adequate information to ensure that there will not be adverse
impacts to the western lily. The DEIS should be revised to include all relevant
information that is necessary to assess potential impacts to the western lily, non-
listed sensitive species, wetlands, and unique plant communities therein.
Direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts to the western lily and other public trust
resources are not adequately addressed by the DEIS, and cannot be evaluated
at this time due to lack of substantial information. According to NEPA, "[a]ll
agencies of the Federal Government shall-- [i]nitiate and utilize ecological
information
in the planning and development of resource-oriented projects."
(emphasis added). Sec. 102, (H) [42 U.S.C. 4332]. The lack of such ecological
information in the DEIS is a violation of NEPA, and should be included if there is
to be a meaningful assessment of impacts of the project.
According to the DEIS, "[t]he drainage basin most impacted by the site
development is sub-basin 1" (page 4.3-1). On page 4.5-3, the DEIS states that
"[d]rainage basin 1 drains to the Crescent City Marsh through the northern
tributary located on site and indirectly through the ditch and seep system located
at the southern edge of basin 1." On the same page, it is stated that since