Kinevan Road Bridge Replacement nes natural Environment Study

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Kinevan Road Bridge Replacement NES

Natural Environment Study

Kinevan Road Bridge over San Jose Creek

Bridge Replacement Project

San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara County, CA

Bridge No. 51C- 0214



December 2012

Natural Environment Study

Kinevan Road Bridge over San Jose Creek

Bridge Replacement Project

San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara County, CA

Bridge No. 51C-0214

December 2012


Department of Transportation

Prepared By: ___________________________________ Date: ____________

Tom Olson, Project Manager

(805) 740-1946

Garcia and Associates

1025 East Ocean Avenue, Suite C

Lompoc, CA 93436

Approved By: ___________________________________ Date: ____________

Tom Edell, Caltrans District 5 Biologist:

(805) 549-3109

California Department of Transportation

District 5 Environmental Stewardship Branch

Approved By: ___________________________________ Date: ____________

Morgan M. Jones, Engineering Environmental Planner, Senior

(805) 568-3059

Department of Public Works

Santa Barbara County



The Santa Barbara County Department of Public Works (DPW) is planning to replace the Kinevan Road Bridge (Bridge No. 51C-0214), located near the summit of San Marcos Pass (Highway 154), off Stagecoach Road on Kinevan Road. The one-lane bridge spans San Jose Creek; it would be replaced by a wider, two-lane bridge.


The purpose of replacing the bridge is to increase the traffic flow from one-way to two-way traffic access and replace the old wooden bridge with a new up-to-date bridge.


The area known as Kinevan Ranch that is serviced by this bridge is located in a high fire area (CalFire 2012). Not only will the replacement improve traffic flow into and out of the residential community, loosely known as Kinevan Ranch, but will also better accommodate larger vehicles, such as fire trucks and emergency response vehicles. The two-lane traffic flow will also allow for resident evacuation at the same time as emergency response vehicle arrival.


Methods used to investigate biological resources in the Biological Study Area (BSA) included review of data base information and other reports prepared in the vicinity, professional contacts with other biologists, and field surveys. Focused surveys included those for vegetation types and mapping, special-status plants, and special-status wildlife. Among the surveys conducted for wildlife were habitat evaluations for steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), two-striped garter snake (Thamnophis hammondii), South Coast newt (Taricha torosa torosa), and bats.


The BSA includes 2.63 acres of two natural communities and two land uses. The project will result in temporary and permanent direct impacts to small amounts of land use types and riparian vegetation, but not to the oak woodland. The total number of acres or disturbance will be 0.0344, as shown below in Table ES-1.


Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the BSA and Acreages of Impacts

Natural Community/Land Use Type

Acres in the BSA

Acres in the PIA

Coast Live Oak – California Blackberry/Poison Oak Woodland



White Alder – Black Walnut Riparian Woodland



Historic Landscape









*The acreage of riparian in the PIA does not include 0.0030 acres under the new bridge where there will be no ground disturbance. .

**Includes 0.0046 acres of existing dirt access road that traverses the riparian habitat.

Permanent disturbance will be limited to the areas taken up by new railing posts (one square foot per post by 20 new posts = 20 square feet) and by increases in paved road shoulders for bridge conforms (0.0151 acres). Of the 0.0344 acre of impacts to natural communities and land uses, 0.0193 acres will be temporary and 0.0151 acres will be permanent. Amounts of temporary and permanent impacts are summarized in Table ES-2. It will be necessary to remove trees from some areas of temporary impact. Table ES-3 lists the trees to be removed.


Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the PIA

Natural Community/Land Use Type

Acreage in the PIA Subject to Impacts




Coast Live Oak/California Blackberry – Poison Oak Woodland




White Alder-California Black Walnut Riparian Woodland




Historic Landscape












* Although the total permanent impact for riparian is 0.0137, for mitigation purposes, 0.0034 acres of permanent impacts within the limits of riparian are not included because that area is comprised of non-native, invasive Himalayan blackberry. Thus, the area of permanent impacts to riparian habitat subject to mitigation is 0.0103 acres.

** Includes 0.0046 acres of existing dirt access road that traverses the riparian habitat.

Direct impacts are expected to include disturbances to small areas of ruderal, including the existing bridge, Kinevan Road, road shoulders, historic landscape, and white alder-California black walnut riparian woodland. In addition, there might be minimal impacts associated with foot traffic into natural communities, primarily the riparian woodland, when workers retrieve debris from demolition of the old bridge. Seven trees will be removed, including the following: one multi-trunked alder (trunk DBHs = 18”, 18’, 12”, and 12”), one coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) that is currently a living tree; however, it is being severely girdled by three strands of fencing wire, three multi-trunked California bays (DBHs of 12’, 8”, and 6”; 4” and 4”; 8” and 8”), one 6” California bay, and one 4” bigleaf maple. Of those trees, only the multi-trunked alder is located within the Project Impact Area (PIA). Most of the vegetation removal will consist of non-native species. Soil compaction is unlikely because most areas in the PIA have already been disturbed and are already subject to vehicle and equipment travel.

Active bird nests, likely those of black phoebes (Sayornis nigricans), nesting in the under-structure of the existing bridge, could be present. There is potential for impacts to other common species of wildlife, including birds, due to the removal of the trees. Measures will be implemented to avoid the loss of active bird nests.

Permanent impacts will be associated with the abutments for the new bridge, new railing posts, and additional paved shoulder areas for bridge conforms. That amounts to a small area (0.0193 acre). There will be temporary impacts associated with limited grading outside of the paved road shoulders and some grading along the slope near an existing access road, east of San Jose Creek on the north side of Kinevan Road.

Potential indirect impacts will include offsite disturbance to wildlife that use the natural communities due to increased human presence and lighting, potential offsite sedimentation and transport of materials such as concrete, and introduction of invasive plants. With the implementation of avoidance and minimization measures and Best Management Practices (BMPs), the impacts will be less than substantial.

Projects considered for cumulative impacts include a proposed adult retreat 3.5 miles to the east. That project would not include any structural additions; only existing facilities would be used. Overall, cumulative effects would be minimal.

Because none were found during the survey, and only limited direct impacts to natural communities are anticipated, there will be no impacts to special-status plants. Implementation of the conceptual restoration plan following project completion will benefit the natural communities and plants found within them. Cumulative impacts to special-status plants are not anticipated to be substantial because the species were not detected during protocol surveys within the BSA. Acreages of habitat for the 14 special-status wildlife species are shown in Table ES-3.


Acreages of Habitat for Special-status Wildlife in the BSA and PIA


Acres of Habitat in the Biological Study Area

Acres of Habitat in

Project Impact Area

Temporary Impacts

Permanent Impacts

Southern California steelhead – migratory habitat




Foothill yellow-legged frog




California red-legged frog




South Coast newt




Western pond turtle




Two-striped garter snake




Cooper’s hawk




Least Bell’s vireo – migratory habitat




Southwestern willow flycatcher – migratory habitat




Yellow warbler




Western mastiff bat – foraging habitat




Big free-tailed bat – foraging habitat




Pallid bat –

foraging habitat




Yuma myotis –

foraging habitat




Because there is little habitat for the special-status wildlife species in the PIA, few direct impacts to those species are expected. There will be small areas of temporary and permanent impacts in riparian woodland and historic landscape caused by grading, installation of new bridge railings and shoulder widening to allow the road to conform to the new bridge. In addition, there may be minimal disturbance to riparian woodland by workers on foot. Thus, there will be potential for impacts to habitat for California red-legged frog, two-striped garter snake, Cooper’s hawk and yellow warbler and species of bats.

Temporary indirect impacts to wildlife, including special-status species, would be possible offsite disturbance (including disruption of nesting) due to increased human presence and lighting, as well as potential offsite sedimentation and transport of spilled materials such as concrete. Measures to mitigate impacts would include a worker education presentation, restriction of disturbance to the smallest areas practicable, pre-construction surveys, monitoring during construction, implementation of BMPs, scheduling of work to non-nesting and low water times of the year, and as necessary, limited habitat restoration. Cumulative impacts to special-status wildlife species are not expected to be substantial due to a lack of habitat in the PIA and a limited number of other projects in the vicinity.

Permits and Agreements

Permits and agreements needed for this project include a Section 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreement. The PIA includes a minor amount of disturbance to riparian woodland habitat, including removal of seven trees and minimal vegetation impacts caused by retrieval of bridge demolition debris. No impacts will occur to wetlands or waters of the U.S. As such, it will not be necessary to obtain a Section 404 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit or a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

No federal- or state-listed plant species were found in the BSA. Potential occurrence of federal-listed wildlife species is limited to California red-legged frog and possible use by least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher on rare to infrequent occasions during migration. No take of these species is expected, although there will be very limited direct impacts to habitats for these species. As such, formal consultation is not necessary with either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Informal consultation with NMFS has occurred, culminating with a letter stating that species does not occur in that reach of San Jose Creek.

Invasive/Exotic Species

Among the plants observed in the BSA during field surveys were eight species included on either the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s list of noxious weeds in California (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2011) or the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee Invasive Species List (a list compiled from the California Department of Food and Agriculture list, the Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Inventory, and Weeds of California book/list): Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis), summer mustard (Hirschfeldia incana), prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola), smilo grass (Piptatherum miliaceum), Himalayan blackberry (Rubus cf. discolor), curly dock (Rumex crispus), sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), and periwinkle (Vinca major).

Positive/Beneficial Impacts

Potential beneficial impacts include the construction of a newer, easier to maintain bridge less likely to have occasional loss of debris into the riparian zone and San Jose Creek. Less maintenance will be required, resulting in less habitat disturbance near and under the bridge. Other beneficial impacts include increases in human safety due to a better access route for fire trucks and emergency response vehicles.

Table of Contents

Cover Sheet i

Summary i

Table of Contents vii

List of Figures xii

List of Tables xiii

List of Abbreviated Terms xiv

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

1.1. Project History 5

1.2. Project Description 5

Chapter 2. Study Methods 7

2.1. Regulatory Requirements 7

2.2. Studies Required 12

Chapter 3. Vegetation Mapping and General Botanical and Rare Plant Surveys 13

Chapter 4. Surveys for Aquatic Wildlife Species 13

Chapter 5. Surveys for Terrestrial Wildlife Species 14

Chapter 6. Evaluation of Bat Habitat 14

6.1. Personnel and Survey Dates 14

Chapter 7. Survey Dates 14

Chapter 8. Survey Personnel 15

8.1. Agency Coordination and Professional Contacts 16

8.2. Limitations That May Influence Results 17

Chapter 9. Results: Environmental Setting 19

9.1. Description of the Existing Biological and Physical Conditions 19

Chapter 10. Study Area 22

Chapter 11. Physical Conditions 22

Chapter 12. Biological Conditions in the Biological Study Area 23

12.1. Regional Species and Habitats of Concern 31

12.2. Regional Habitats of Concern 31

Chapter 13. Regional Species of Concern 31

Chapter 14. Results: Biological Resources, Discussion of Impacts and Mitigation 42

14.1. Natural Communities of Special Concern 42

Chapter 15. Coast Live Oak / California Blackberry – Poison Oak Woodland 44 Survey Results 44 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 45 Project Impacts 47 Compensatory Mitigation 48 Cumulative Impacts 48

Chapter 16. White Alder-California Black Walnut Riparian Woodland 48 Survey Results 48 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 53 Project Impacts 57 Compensatory Mitigation 59 Cumulative Impacts 60

16.2. Special Status Plant Species 60

Chapter 17. Gambel’s Watercress 61 Survey Results 61 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 61 Project Impacts 61 Compensatory Mitigation 62 Cumulative Effects 62

Chapter 18. Santa Ynez false lupine 62 Survey Results 62 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 63 Project Impacts 65 Compensatory Mitigation 65 Cumulative Effects 65

Chapter 19. Slender Silver Moss 65 Survey Results 65 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 65 Project Impacts 66 Compensatory Mitigation 66 Cumulative Effects 66

Chapter 20. Late-flowered Mariposa Lily 66 Survey Results 66 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 66 Project Impacts 67 Compensatory Mitigation 67 Cumulative Effects 67

Chapter 21. Umbrella larkspur 67 Survey Results 67 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 67 Project Impacts 68 Compensatory Mitigation 68 Cumulative Effects 68

Chapter 22. Ojai Fritillary 68 Survey Results 68 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 68 Project Impacts 69 Compensatory Mitigation 69 Cumulative Effects 69

Chapter 23. Mesa Horkelia 69 Survey Results 69 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 70 Project Impacts 70 Compensatory Mitigation 70 Cumulative Effects 70

Chapter 24. Santa Lucia Dwarf Rush 70 Survey Results 71 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 71 Project Impacts 71 Compensatory Mitigation 71 Cumulative Effects 71

Chapter 25. Coulter’s Goldfields 71 Survey Results 72 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 72 Project Impacts 72 Compensatory Mitigation 72 Cumulative Effects 72

Chapter 26. Pale Yellow Layia 73 Survey Results 73 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 73 Project Impacts 73 Compensatory Mitigation 73 Cumulative Effects 73

Chapter 27. Santa Barbara Honeysuckle 74 Survey Results 74 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 74 Project Impacts 74 Compensatory Mitigation 74 Cumulative Effects 74

27.2. Special Status Animal Species 75

Chapter 28. Southern California Steelhead 75 Survey Results 75 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 76 Project Impacts 76 Compensatory Mitigation 76 Cumulative Effects 76

Chapter 29. Foothill Yellow-legged Frog 77 Survey Results 77 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 77 Project Impacts 77 Compensatory Mitigation 77 Cumulative Effects 78

Chapter 30. California Red-legged Frog 78 Survey Results 78 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 79 Project Impacts 79 Compensatory Mitigation 80 Cumulative Effects 80

Chapter 31. South Coast Newt 81 Survey Results 81 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 81 Project Impacts 81 Compensatory Mitigation 81 Cumulative Effects 82

Chapter 32. Western Pond Turtle 82 Survey Results 82 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 83 Project Impacts 83 Compensatory Mitigation 83 Cumulative Effects 83

Chapter 33. Two-striped Garter Snake 83 Survey Results 84 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 84 Project Impacts 84 Compensatory Mitigation 84 Cumulative Effects 85

Chapter 34. Cooper’s Hawk 85 Survey Results 85 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 85 Project Impacts 86 Compensatory Mitigation 86 Cumulative Effects 86

Chapter 35. Least Bell’s Vireo 87 Survey Results 87 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 88 Project Impacts 88 Compensatory Mitigation 89 Cumulative Effects 89

Chapter 36. Southwestern Willow Flycatcher 89 Survey Results 89 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 90 Project Impacts 90 Compensatory Mitigation 90 Cumulative Effects 91

Chapter 37. Yellow Warbler 91 Survey Results 91 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 91 Project Impacts 92 Compensatory Mitigation 92 Cumulative Effects 92

Chapter 38. Western Mastiff Bat 92 Survey Results 93 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 93 Project Impacts 94 Compensatory Mitigation 94 Cumulative Effects 95

Chapter 39. Big Free-tailed Bat 95 Survey Results 95 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 95 Project Impacts 95 Compensatory Mitigation 96 Cumulative Effects 96

Chapter 40. Yuma Myotis 96 Survey Results 96 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 96 Project Impacts 97 Compensatory Mitigation 97 Cumulative Effects 97

Chapter 41. Pallid Bat 97 Survey Results 97 Avoidance and Minimization Efforts 98 Project Impacts 98 Compensatory Mitigation 98 Cumulative Effects 98

Chapter 42. Results: Permits and Technical Studies for Special Laws or Conditions 99

42.1. Federal Endangered Species Act Consultation Summary 99

42.2. Federal Fisheries and Essential Fish Habitat Consultation Summary 99

42.3. California Endangered Species Act Consultation Summary 100

42.4. Wetlands and Other Waters Coordination Summary 100

42.5. Invasive Species 100

42.6. Other 101

Chapter 43. Other Federal Laws and Executive Orders 101 Protection of Floodplains (Executive Order 11988) 101 Protection of Wetlands (Executive Order 11990) 101 Migratory Bird Treaty Act 102 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 102

Chapter 44. Other State Laws and Resolutions 102 Native Plant Protection Act 102 Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 (protection of oaks) 102 Section 3503 of the California Fish and Game Code 102

Chapter 45. References 103

Appendix A Project Maps 106

Appendix B List of Plants Observed in the BSA 107

Appendix C List of Vertebrate Wildlife Observed in the BSA 109

Appendix D Correspondence with Resource Agencies and CNDDB Results 110

List of Figures

Figure 1. Study Vicinity Map 2

Figure 2. Project Location Map 3

Figure 3. Biological Study Area and Project Impact Area 4

Figure 4. Vegetation Types and Land Use Types within the BSA. 25

Figure 5. Vegetation Types and Land Use Types within the PIA. 43

Figure 6. Proposed Replanting/Revegetation Areas within the Right of Way 50

Figure 7. Location of Tucker's Grove County Park, Goleta, CA. 51

Figure 8. Planting Area for Oaks in Tucker's Grove Park 52

Figure 9. CNDDB Occurrences Within a 2-Mile Radius of the BSA. 64

List of Tables


Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the BSA and Acreages of Impacts ii


Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the PIA ii


Acreages of Habitat for Special-status Wildlife in the BSA and PIA iv

TABLE 1 22

Invasive Plant Species Observed in the BSA 22

TABLE 2 26

Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the BSA and PIA 26

TABLE 3 30

Birds Observed in the BSA 30

TABLE 4 32

Species of Concern Potentially Occurring or Known to Occur in the Region 32

TABLE 5 44

Acreages of Natural Communities and Land Uses in the PIA 44

TABLE 6 53

Trees to be Removed 53

TABLE 7 76

Acreages of Habitat for Special-status Wildlife in the Biological Study Area and Project Impact Area 76

List of Abbreviated Terms


Army Corps of Engineers


Biological Study Area


California Department of Transportation


California Department of Fish and Game


California Natural Diversity Data Base


Diameter at breast height (~4 ft)


Department of Public Works


Essential Fish Habitat


Federal-listed endangered


Federal Species of Concern


Federal-listed threatened




Garcia and Associates


Global Positioning System






National Marine Fisheries Service


Preliminary Environmental Study


project impact area


post mile


rock slope protection


State-listed endangered


Subnational conservation status rating


State-listed rare


State species of concern


State-listed threatened


United States Fish and Wildlife Service

  1. Introduction

The Santa Barbara County Department of Public Works (DPW) is planning to replace the existing wooden one-lane Kinevan Road Bridge (Bridge No. 51C-0214) over San Jose Creek with a more up-to-date two-lane bridge. The bridge is located near the summit of San Marcos Pass (also known as State Highway 154), off Stagecoach Road on Kinevan Road (Figure 1). Kinevan Road connects to Stagecoach Road approximately 500 feet south of the intersection of Stagecoach Road and Highway 154. The bridge is located approximately 0.25 mile from the intersection of Kinevan and Stagecoach roads (Figure 2).

The one-lane bridge will be replaced with a new two-lane bridge designed to provide ingress and egress to the residential community, unofficially known as Kinevan Ranch, in two directions at the same time. The San Marcos Pass area is located in a high fire area (CalFire 2012). As such, the widening of the bridge from one-lane to two-lane increases the ability of Emergency Response vehicles, such as firefighting equipment, to access the area without impeding residential evacuation. Project plans are included in Appendix A.

Surveys for biological resources were conducted throughout the Biological Study Area (BSA), which included an area approximately 200 feet upstream and downstream of the bridge along San Jose Creek and approximately 100 feet on either side of the bridge along Kinevan Road. The Project Impact Area (PIA) includes those areas where work and support activities will occur, including sites from which the existing bridge will be removed and new bridge installed, areas that will accommodate the abutments for the new bridge, and locations for parking of project vehicles and equipment, as well as laydown of project materials. The BSA and PIA are both shown on Figure 3.

Figure 1. Study Vicinity Map

Figure 2. Project Location Map

Figure 3. Biological Study Area and Project Impact Area

    1. Project History

The purpose of the Kinevan Road bridge replacement is to improve ingress and egress to the residential community, unofficially referred to as Kinevan Ranch, as well as to improve access for emergency response vehicles and equipment. The new wider bridge will not only increase traffic flow from one-lane to two-lane, but will also replace the older, aging wooden bridge. The new bridge is needed to improve access for residents and others using Kinevan Road and to improve traffic and emergency response safety.

    1. Project Description

Bridge No. 51C-0214 is a single-span bridge with timber stringers and a wood deck, it is approximately 1’-9” deep, 15’-6” wide and 24’-0” long with cut stone abutments and wing walls. The abutments and wing walls support the existing structure and are serving as the creek channel walls underneath the bridge. 

Due to the constraints of the narrow approach roadways, the new bridge will need to be replaced essentially on the same alignment. The replacement plan is to leave the existing abutments, creek channel walls and wing walls in place avoiding any work within the creek channel. The new bridge will be longer than the existing bridge in order to place the new foundations in a location that spans over the creek, existing abutment and wing walls.

The new bridge will be approximately 46.5 feet long, 22 feet wide and 17 inches deep with metal tube bridge railings. The bridge deck will be pre-cast and pre-stressed concrete with a polyester concrete overlay. The foundation will consist of spread footing founded on rock. The bridge approach roads will be AC. The two-lane bridge is wider than the existing bridge, therefore requiring the alignment to be slightly rotated to the north in order to minimize environmental impacts.

Kinevan Road will be closed just east of the bridge for the new bridge construction. The easterly portion and a portion of the north approach of Kinevan road will be used for staging areas


Should the existing bridge remain, traffic flow will continue to be impeded. Without replacing the existing bridge with a wider one, emergency response vehicle arrival and residential evacuation would create a bottle-neck at the bridge. The no-build option would leave a bridge in need of repair or replacement in place and limited emergency response access.

  1. Study Methods

Prior to the field survey, information was gathered on federally-listed, state-listed, and other sensitive plants and wildlife that could potentially occur in the project area. Sources included:

  • the following 7.5-minute quads within the California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB) (California Department of Fish and Game [CDFG] 2012); San Marcos Pass, Big Pine Mountain, Dos Pueblos, Figueroa Mountain, Goleta, Lake Cachuma, Little Pine Mountain, San Rafael Mountain, and Santa Barbara.

  • A Flora of the Santa Barbara Region, California (Smith 1998);

  • The list of federally-listed plants in Santa Barbara County maintained by the Ventura Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 2012);

  • The Preliminary Environmental Study (PES) form prepared by the Santa Barbara County DPW in November 2011;

  • The species list (list of federal-listed threatened and endangered species with potential to occur in the BSA) received from the Ventura office of USFWS on June 12, 2012.

  • In-house data files maintained by Garcia and Associates; and

  • Knowledge of the area by wildlife biologists Tom Olson, Peter Gaede, Larry Hunt, and Paul Collins and botanist Kathy Rindlaub.

    1. Regulatory Requirements

Regulatory requirements for this project described in this section include the following:

  • Federal Endangered Species Act

  • California Endangered Species Act

  • Essential Fish Habitat

  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act

  • Section 1602 of the California Fish and Game Code

  • Section 3503 of the California Fish and Game Code

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

  • California Environmental Quality Act

  • Invasive Species (Executive Order 13112)

  • Protection of Floodplains (Executive Order 11988)

  • Protection of Wetlands (Executive Order )

  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 (Protection of Oaks)

  • Native Plant Protection Act

Discussions of the status of consultations and coordination regarding the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts are included in Section 5. Because no disturbance will occur in the creek channel, there will be no impacts to waters of the U.S. or wetlands. As such, regulatory requirements for this project do not include Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 401 Water Quality Certification, or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.

Federal Laws and Executive Orders

Federal Endangered Species Act – San Jose Creek has the potential to be used by the federal-listed threatened California red-legged frog. The BSA was evaluated and data were collected to assess occurrence and the potential for project-related impacts to this species.

The Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA), administered by the USFWS and NMFS, provides protection to plant and wildlife species listed as threatened, endangered, or proposed for listing as threatened or endangered.

Section 9 of FESA prohibits the "take" of any member of a listed species. Take is defined as, "... to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct." FESA also defines take to include "incidental take," which means take that is incidental to, but not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. Harass is defined as " intentional or negligent act or omission that creates the likelihood of injury to a listed species by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns that include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering". Harm is defined as "...significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering.”

Projects that would result in take of a federally listed or proposed species require consultation with USFWS or NMFS. The objective of consultation is to determine whether the project would jeopardize the continued existence of a listed or proposed species, and to identify any mitigation measures required to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the species.

Consultations are conducted under Sections 7 or 10 of FESA depending on the involvement of the federal government. Section 7 requires federal agencies to make a finding on all federal actions, including the approval by an agency of a public or private action, such as the issuance of a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), on the potential to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed or proposed species impacted by the action. Section 10 is conducted when there is no federal involvement in a project except compliance with FESA. A take not specifically allowed by federal permit under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the FESA is subject to enforcement through civil or criminal proceedings under Section II of the FESA.

Consultations with USFWS and NMFS may be informal or formal. Formal consultation results in the issuance of a Biological Opinion issued by USFWS or NMFS. The biological opinion identifies "take" limits and terms and conditions that must be adhered to by the FHWA to comply with FESA. Construction associated with this project will not result in take of California red-legged frog. As such, endangered species consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is not anticipated.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act - (16 U.S.C. 661-666) - Municipalities and other entities are required under the provisions of this act to coordinate with USFWS and CDFG with regard to projects that affect the waters of streams or other water bodies, and wildlife and plant resources and their habitats. Contacts have been made with both agencies regarding this project. A species list was obtained from USFWS and Natasha Lohmus of CDFG was consulted.

Essential Fish Habitat – Essential Fish Habitat involves commercial fish species. In southern California, the inland extent of this type of resource in streams and rivers normally ends at the upper extent of coastal estuaries. There is no freshwater Essential Fish Habitat in Santa Barbara County. San Jose Creek does not include Essential Fish Habitat. See Section 5.2 for a summary of contacts with NMFS.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act – USFWS also administers the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. All native species of birds are protected during active nesting. The protection extends to the adult birds and nest contents, including eggs and nestlings.

Invasive Species - Executive Order 13112- This order establishes a national policy to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control, as well as to minimize the economic, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause. Federal agencies whose actions may affect the status of invasive species are to identify such actions, use relevant programs, as budgetary constraints permit, to: (a) prevent introductions of invasive species; (b) detect and control populations of such species; (c) monitor populations of invasive species; (d) provide for restoration of native species; (e) conduct research leading to prevention of introductions and more effective control measures; and (f) promote public education on invasive species.

During field surveys, 48 species of non-native plants were noted. Of that total, 10 are included on either the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s list of noxious weeds in California (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2011) or the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee Invasive Species List (a list compiled from the California Department of Food and Agriculture list, the Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Inventory, and Weeds of California book/list), as listed Section 3.1. Lists of all plants and wildlife species observed are included in Appendices B and C, respectively.

Several actions during the post-construction restoration process will be taken to reduce the likelihood of introduction of invasive plant species. Only native plant species will be used in the seed mix and container plants. Only weed-free straw mulch will be used. Regular maintenance and monitoring of the restored areas will be performed, during which times weed control will be conducted.

Protection of Floodplains - Executive Order 11988 - This order establishes a national policy “to avoid to the extent possible the long and short term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative.” Federal agencies whose actions may affect floodplains are required to evaluate such effects, to ensure that planning efforts reflect consideration of flood hazards and floodplain management, and to have procedures in place to implement their policies.

Protection of Wetlands - Executive Order 11990 - This order establishes a national policy "to avoid to the extent possible the long- and short-term adverse impacts associated with the destruction or modification of wetlands and to avoid direct or indirect support of new construction in wetlands wherever there is a practical alternative." No wetlands will be affected by this project.

State Laws and Resolutions

California Endangered Species Act - The CDFG administers a number of laws and programs designed to protect fish and wildlife resources. Principal of these is the California Endangered Species Act of 1984 (CESA Fish and Game Code Section 2050), which regulates the listing and take of state endangered and threatened species. Under Section 2081 of CESA, CDFG may authorize take of an endangered and/or threatened species, or candidate specie's by a permit or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for scientific, educational, or management purposes. There are two state-endangered species (willow flycatcher and least Bell’s vireo) with potential to occur in the environmental study limits. Both may occur during migration, but neither is likely to nest in the BSA. Neither was detected during habitat assessment-based wildlife surveys. As such, formal consultation for these species is not anticipated.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) of 1970 (P.R.C. 21000 et seq.)- Project proponents are required under CEQA to disclose, consider, and avoid or reduce significant effects to endangered, threatened and rare species. Significant effects are identified in Appendix G of CEQA Guidelines as those that will:

  • Substantially affect an endangered or rare animal or plant or its habitat;

  • Interfere substantially with the movement of any resident or migratory fish or wildlife species; or

  • Substantially diminish habitat for fish, wildlife, or plants.

Section 15380 applies the terms "endangered" and "rare" to any taxon that is actually rare or endangered throughout all or a portion of its range, even if it is not officially listed as such by a state or federal agency.

An Initial Study is being prepared for this project. It is expected that the CEQA process will result in a Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Section 1602 of the California Fish and Game Code – The riparian zone of San Jose Creek, to the outer dripline of trees and shrubs, is subject to the jurisdiction CDFG under Section 1602 of the California Fish and Game Code. A Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement will be required if the project will: 1) divert, obstruct, or change the natural flow or the bed, channel, or bank of any river, stream, or lake; 2) use materials from a streambed; or 3) result in the disposal or deposition of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it can pass into any river, stream, or lake. Data will be collected to apply for a Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement between CDFG and the project proponent.

Native Plant Protection Act (Sections 1900 – 1913 of the California Fish and Game Code) – The legal protection afforded listed plants under this act includes provisions that prohibit the taking of plants from the wild and a salvage requirement for landowners. If a landowner has been informed of a listed plant species on his property, CDFG must be notified at least 10 days in advance of any land use change that might affect the species or its habitat, thereby affording CDFG an opportunity to conduct a salvage operation. Candidate species are also protected from taking by the Native Plant Protection Act.

CDFG has demonstrated a general policy of regarding many of the plants on the California Native Plant Society’s (CNPS) Lists 1 and 2 as meeting the definitions of Chapter 10, Section 1901 of the Native Plant Protection Act. As such, those plants also qualify for protection under CEQA. In addition, plants on CNPS Lists 3 and 4, as well as unique plant communities usually informally protected under this act.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 – Protection of Oaks - This resolution identifies four species of native oaks (valley oak [Quercus lobata], blue oak [Q. douglasii], coast live oak [Q. agrifolia], and Engelmann oak [Q. engelmannii]) as sensitive biological resources, and requires that impacts to oak habitats be avoided or lessened, and that losses be mitigated. The necessary removal of on oak will be mitigated.

Section 3503 of the California Fish and Game Code – Protection of Active Bird Nests – This section of the California Fish and Game Code protects active bird nests from disturbance. Measures must be taken to avoid project-related impacts that might destroy an active nest, or cause a nest to be abandoned due to disturbance.

    1. Studies Required

Studies conducted to assess potential occurrence of, and project-related effects on, sensitive biological resources included those listed below. Following the completion of the surveys, vegetation types were described and lists of plants and wildlife observed were compiled.

  • Vegetation mapping and general botanical surveys;

  • Rare plant surveys;

  • Counts of native trees subject to removal;

  • An evaluation of San Jose Creek as steelhead habitat;

  • An evaluation of San Jose Creek as habitat for California red-legged frog, western pond turtle, two-striped garter snake, and South Coast newt;

  • An evaluation of bat habitat within the environmental study limits; and

  • General wildlife surveys.

  1. Vegetation Mapping and General Botanical and Rare Plant Surveys

The rare plant and habitat survey was conducted on June 18, 2012 by botanist Kathy Rindlaub and biologist Suzan Kissée. Although the survey was conducted in early June, many species were still in late flowering at that time. Evidence of the remains of annual species was present and plants were identifiable to at least the genus level. Observations were made from the bridge deck and ends of the bridge, as well as by walking under and around the bridge. The area covered by Ms. Kissée and Ms. Rindlaub was the BSA, which included 200 feet upstream and downstream along the creek and up to 100 feet out from the bridge, perpendicular to the creek. The biologists surveyed for occurrences of listed and sensitive species and evaluated the project area as potential habitat for such species. Vegetation types were identified and mapped. The listed and sensitive species searched for are discussed in Section 3.2. As described in Section 2.2.1, a list of all plant species observed during the surveys was compiled and is included in Appendix B.

  1. Surveys for Aquatic Wildlife Species

On July 26, 2012, biologists Lawrence Hunt and Tom Olson conducted a survey in the BSA for aquatic wildlife, with emphases on habitat suitability for California red-legged frog, South Coast newt, western pond turtle, and two-striped garter snake. Weather conditions during the survey were sunny with high marine layer (which subsequently burned off), with the air temperature of 68°F. The survey was conducted within the San Jose Creek channel approximately 200 feet upstream and downstream of bridge, in on the banks and tops of banks. Observations of other wildlife were also noted

All work and staging of vehicle is planned to be done from the road, the surface of the bridge, and areas adjacent to top of bank. No work is planned within the creek channel. As such, protocol level surveys were not conducted.

  1. Surveys for Terrestrial Wildlife Species

On June 20, 2012, wildlife biologist Peter Gaede conducted a general wildlife survey with emphasis on birds. Weather conditions during the survey were partly cloudy, 63°, and calm, which provided good viewing conditions. The survey was conducted throughout the BSA. Birds were recorded by both sight and sound, and behavioral notes were made if observed. Bird nests were noted when found, both active and inactive. Species and number of individuals were recorded during the site visit. Observations of other wildlife species were noted. A list of all wildlife species observed is included in Appendix C.

  1. Evaluation of Bat Habitat

The BSA was surveyed during the morning of June 13, 2012, by wildlife biologist Paul Collins for the presence of bats in and near the project area. Weather conditions included sunny, cloudless skies, temperatures ranging from 71oF to 73oF, and a light breeze. A flashlight was used to carefully look at all spaces under the bridge and along the bridge abutments. Mr. Collins surveyed for any protected hallows under the bridge that would be suitable for night or day roosting by bats, as well as evidence of any bat use in the under structure of this bridge, such as urine staining or bat guano on the beams of or on the ground under the bridge.

    1. Personnel and Survey Dates

Field surveys were conducted by the following biologists: Tom Olson, Kathy Rindlaub, Peter Gaede, Paul Collins, Lawrence Hunt, and Suzan Kissée. Ms. Kissee was the primary author of the NES. Mr. Olson provided peer review. The qualifications for the biologists are described below.

  1. Survey Dates

    The dates of the field surveys included:

    Vegetation Mapping, Rare Plant Surveys, and General Botanical Surveys – Kathy Rindlaub and Suzan Kissée conducted surveys for common and special-status plants and mapped vegetation types on June 18, 2012 within the BSA. Trees to be removed were evaluated by Ms. Rindlaub and Ms. Kissee on November 14, 2012.

    Bat Habitat Evaluation – The BSA, with an emphasis on the Kinevan Road bridge, was evaluated for bat habitat by biologists Paul Collins on June 13, 2012.

    Terrestrial Wildlife Surveys – Wildlife habitats in the BSA were evaluated for common and sensitive species, and a survey for wildlife was performed by biologist Peter Gaede on June 20, 2012.

    Habitat Evaluation for California Red-legged Frog and other Aquatic Wildlife Species – The BSA was evaluated as habitat for aquatic wildlife species by biologists Lawrence Hunt and Tom Olson on July 26, 2012.

  1. Survey Personnel

    The qualifications of those conducting the surveys include:

Kathy Rindlaub – Ms. Rindlaub is a Garcia and Associates botanist with a B.S. Degree in Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. She has more than 30 years of Santa Barbara County botanical survey experience. Ms. Rindlaub is included on the Santa Barbara County list of approved botanists. She has conducted rare plant surveys, habitat mapping, general botanical surveys, and wetland delineations throughout Santa Barbara County.

    Suzan Kissee – Ms. Kissee is a biologist with Garcia and Associates. She has more than 17 years of experience in northern Santa Barbara County, primarily with botanical resources. She has a B.S. Degree in Biology from California State University Bakersfield.

Paul Collins – Mr. Collins is the vertebrate curator of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He has completed comprehensive studies of bats in the Central Coast region, including a survey of bats on Vandenberg Air Force Base. Mr. Collins has B.S. and M.S. Degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara.

    Peter Gaede – Mr. Gaede is a biologist with Garcia and Associates with more than 19 years of wildlife survey experience in California. He is experienced in surveys for common and special-status species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as habitat assessment. Mr. Gaede has a B.S. Degree from Northwestern Nazarene College where he served as a teaching assistant in Ornithology.

    Lawrence Hunt – Mr. Hunt is a herpetologist and aquatic biologist who has more than 25 years of experience with fish, amphibians, and reptiles in Santa Barbara County. He has a B.S. Degree from University of California Berkeley and M.S. from the University of Kansas. Mr. Hunt prepared much of the recovery plan for steelhead populations in the state of California.

    Tom Olson – Mr. Olson is a senior biologist with GANDA who has assisted with botanical surveys for more than 25 years throughout Santa Barbara County. He has a B.S. Degree in Natural Resources Management from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is on the Santa Barbara County list of approved biologists.

    1. Agency Coordination and Professional Contacts

    A species list was requested of the USFWS (see below). The June 12, 2012 species list letter received from USFWS was copied to Natasha Lohmus and Martin Potter of CDFG. Natasha Lohmus (personal communication 2012) was contacted regarding the project in March 2012. The emphasis of the contact was the potential for least Bell’s vireo, willow flycatcher, and California red-legged frog. Ms. Lohmus believed that the potential for least Bell’s vireo and willow flycatcher in the BSA was low, but that the BSA should be evaluated for occurrence of California red-legged frog. She stated that protocol surveys for least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher would not be necessary unless those species were detected during other surveys.

    In addition to the species list, another contact was made to USFWS (Steve Kirkland of the Ventura Field Office) to inform the agency of the project.

    Anthony Spina of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) office in Long Beach was contacted via letter on August 12, 2012 regarding the potential for steelhead in the BSA. Subsequent discussions occurred with Matthew McGoogan of the same office. A September 17, 2012 letter was received from NMFS with specific information about the potential occurrence of steelhead in the BSA.

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