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Forest Service Seeks Public Comment on Bouquet Creek Restoration Proposal

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January 16, 2015 03:53PM
Arcadia, Calif., Angeles National Forest officials are conducting an environmental analysis to consider a proposal to restore and improve riparian habitat, and to restore flow capacity to Bouquet Creek in Bouquet Canyon, north of the City of Santa Clarita.

Officials are asking for public comment on their proposed action that would authorize the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to remove sediment and dense vegetation from several segments of Bouquet Creek, reestablish stream bank vegetation where needed to enhance riparian habitat, and create a backwater preserve for aquatic species habitat at Zuni Campground.

The Forest Service proposes to repurpose Zuni Campground for use as an environmental education site and restoration ecology staging area; this work would include cleaning, removing or replacing the existing culvert in the Zuni Campground access road.

Bouquet Canyon is located west of State Route 14 on National Forest System lands in the Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District, within the Santa Clara River Watershed. The proposal involves portions of T. 5N, R. 15W, Sections 10, 15, 16, 21, and 22, San Bernardino Baseline and Meridian (SBBM), Los Angeles County, California.

Bouquet Creek is fed by Bouquet Reservoir, natural springs, and watershed runoff. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power owns the reservoir and regulates the amount of water released into the creek. An agreement between Department of Water and Power and the United Water Conservation District obligates release rates. Past high-intensity storms combined with several wildfires in Bouquet Canyon resulted in sediment deposition in Bouquet Creek, which reduced both the creek’s capacity to move water and the quality of aquatic and riparian habitat. At several locations, the creek bottom is at a higher elevation than the adjacent Bouquet Canyon Road, causing water to flow across the heavily used commuter road.

Out of concern for public safety for motorists and bicyclists on the road, Department of Water and Power reduced water releases into Bouquet Creek to prevent water from flooding on the roadway. As a result of the on-going extended drought in California along with the reduced flows into the creek, riparian habitat loss (dying vegetation and dry streambed) is occurring at the lower end of Bouquet Canyon. Well owners on private property in lower Bouquet Canyon are also concerned that their wells are going dry, possiblyinfluenced by the drought and decreased water releases from Bouquet Reservoir.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a population of unarmored threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni) may be present in Bouquet Creek. The Forest Service is consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the design and implementation of the Bouquet Creek Restoration Project. The proposed action would achieve the following objectives:
  • Restore riparian habitat and biological function within Bouquet Creek for native plant and animal species, including the federally listed unarmored three-spine stickleback;
  • Allow the resumption of water discharges from Bouquet Reservoir to approximate historical water flows in the creek; and
  • Minimize roadway flooding and erosion, which would improve both the safety for traveling public on Bouquet Canyon Road and the sustainability of the roadway.

The proposed action appears to fall into categories of habitat restoration actions that may be excluded from documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. The determination regarding the necessary level of environmental analysis and documentation will not be finalized until after consideration of comments received in response to this scoping opportunity.

The public comment period will continue through Feb. 6, 2015. Comments received will help determine the range of issues and alternatives to be considered in the analysis. A project website will be established soon at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/angeles/landmanagement/projects, where more detailed project descriptions and periodic updates will be posted

Comments may be mailed to: Wilburn (Bob) Blount, District Ranger; Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District; 3708 Crown Valley Road; Acton, CA 93510. Comments may also be e-mailed to: comments-pacificsouthwest-angeles@fs.fed.us . Please enter “Bouquet Creek Restoration” as part of the subject heading/e-mail title.

All comments received, including names, become a part of the project record and are available for public review.

Forest Service Seeks Public Comment on Bouquet Creek Restoration Proposal

Rick2395January 16, 2015 03:53PM

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