Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration of Environmental Impact

Black Oaks Dairy Project

Project Description: The proposed project is based on a Conservation Plan designed to address the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Resource Concerns of water quality, plants and livestock production limitation. The need for the project was identified in a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) prepared by Conestoga‐Rovers and Associates in April 2015.

The project site is on a 27‐acre sheep dairy approximately five miles southeast of Sebastopol. The rural property is within the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. The surrounding landscape consists of grasslands and oak woodlands; mixed with rural residential houses and diverse agricultural operations.

After reviewing the current status of the Sonoma California tiger salamander, the environmental baseline for the action area, and the effects of the proposed actions, and the cumulative effects on these species, it is the USFWS's biological opinion that the proposed Stormwater Improvements Projects, as described herein, are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of these species. The Service base this conclusion on the following:

(1) only a small amount of potential habitat will be impacted by the Project and would still provide habitat for Sonoma California tiger salamander;
(2) no breeding habitat will be affected; and
(3) the Conservation Measures will reduce the likelihood of adverse effects.

Identify the project’s significant or potentially significant effects and briefly describe any proposed mitigation measures that would reduce or avoid the effect: The proposed Project have the potential for direct effects to Sonoma California tiger salamander. Individuals may be killed or injured by equipment or other vehicles being used in the Project. Ground clearing may injure or kill individual Sonoma California tiger salamander by crushing or other direct contact. Salamanders in underground burrows may be more difficult to detect, and therefore may be slightly more susceptible to these effects. The preconstruction surveys by and presence of a Service-approved biologist, and environmental awareness training, among other Conservation Measures, will greatly reduce the likelihood of these effects (USFWS 2017).

Sonoma California tiger salamander may also be captured for relocation away from the action area. Such capture may result in injury or death of individuals by mishandling, exposure to pathogens, or by relocation to habitat that is not suitable. Implementation of proper handling protocol and selection of suitable relocation sites will reduce the severity and adverse nature of these effects (USFWS 2017).

Project activities may disturb individual Sonoma California tiger salamanders and force them to alter potential dispersal routes or abandon sheltering habitat, such as underground burrows, in the case of the salamander. Such disturbance may cause the individuals to seek other dispersal routes or shelter, thereby exposing them to increased risk of predation (USFWS 2017).

The implementation of the Conservation Measures included in the project description will substantially reduce, but may not eliminate, the likelihood of adverse effects from the Projects on Sonoma California tiger salamander (USFWS 2017).

Public Review Period: GRRCD has made this Notice of Intent (NOI), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), and Initial Study (IS) available for public review and comment pursuant to Section 15073(a) of the CEQA Guidelines. The 30-day comment period for the NOI, MND, and IS begins on May 5, 2017 and ends on June 5, 2017. Comments should be submitted to GRRCD at:

2776 Sullivan Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
FAX: (707) 823-5243
Attn: William Hart

Document Availability: The MND and IS are available for review during regular business hours at the GRRCD office.
If you require additional information, please contact William Hart at (707) 823-5244 or submit questions and comments by email to

Link to the Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration of Environmental Impact

© 2016 GRRCD 2776 Sullivan Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472. All rights reserved.