Hansen Ballfield Renovation Final Draft

Dorothy Meyer, Project Manager/Planner Nicole Cobleigh, Planner Louis Utsumi, EnviCraft
2012-09-20
United States Army Corps of Engineers & City of Los Angeles, CA

HANSEN DAM BASEBALL FIELD RENOVATION (HANSEN FLOOD CONTROL BASIN)

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

for proposed activities on Corps-managed Federal land

Hansen Dam Baseball Field Renovations

Proposed Implementation Date: FALL 2012

Proponent: City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks Location:  Hansen Dam Recreational Area in the Hansen Flood Control Basin

(11100-11142 Dronfield Avenue)

Hansen Flood Control Basin

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles, California

 

Los Angeles District

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

P.O. Box 532711

Los Angeles, California 90053-2325

SEPTEMBER 2012

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DRAFT

FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT HANSEN DAM BASEBALL FIELD RENOVATION

Los Angeles County, California

I have reviewed the Environmental Assessment (EA) that has been prepared for the Hansen Dam Baseball Field Renovation Project. The EA has been prepared to comply with applicable Federal laws, regulations, and Executive Orders.

The EA analyzes the impacts of the Preferred Alternative, which would be comprised of needed maintenance and renovations of three existing baseball fields on lands leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under Lease Number DACW09-1-69-45 and Supplemental Agreement No. 3. The Preferred Alternative would also install two new restrooms and sewer connections. Three non-native trees would be removed, but would be replaced with native trees on a 2:1 basis.

Under the No Action Alternative, the existing three baseball fields would remain in use, would not be renovated, and would continue to deteriorate. The use of portable restrooms would continue to be periodically provided (as is the current situation) as funds allow.

I have determined that implementation of the Preferred Alternative with the incorporation of the Environmental Commitments identified in this EA is in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 Code of Federal Regulations 800), the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and other Federal laws, Executive Orders as  described in this EA.

I have considered the available information contained in the EA, and it is my determination that there are no significant adverse impacts on the quality of human environment resulting from the approval of the Preferred Alternative. There are no  unresolved  environmental issues. Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), therefore, is not required. 

Prepared by:

Carvel Bass

Ecologist, Civil Works Branch Asset Management Division

Approval Recommended by:

Theresa M. Kaplan

Chief, Asset Management Division

Approval by:

R. Mark Toy, P.E. 

Colonel, US Army, Commander and District Engineer

COVER SHEET

HANSEN DAM BASEBALL FIELD RENOVATION PROJECT

Los Angeles County, California

This Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) other Federal laws, Executive Orders, and Corps’ guidance. The Corps is the lead Federal agency for the proposed action.

The Draft EA will be provided for agency and public review to solicit input on the proposed action and will be made available for 30 days. Comments received will be considered in determining whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be required, or whether a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) can be issued.

The location of the proposed action is three existing baseball fields (two Little League fields and one standard field) within the Hansen Dam Recreational Area in the Community of Arleta- Pacoima in the City of Los Angeles, approximately 22 miles north/northwest of downtown Los Angeles (Figure 1, Proposed Action Regional Map). The three existing baseball  fields are located in the vicinity of Osborne Street and Dronfield Avenue (11100 and 11142 Dronfield Avenue), and are shown in Figure 2. The site falls within the western portion of Section 7 (T.2 N., R. 15 W), S.B.B.M., of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)  San  Fernando (7.5-minute series) Quadrangle Map. Site elevation is approximately 1,067 feet to 1,085 feet above mean sea level. The site is located approximately 0.4 mile southwest of the Foothill (I-210) Freeway, 1.2 miles southeast of the Simi Valley (CA SR-118) Freeway, and 2.2 miles northeast of the Golden State (I-5) Freeway. The land is owned by the Federal government and is administered by the Corps. Moreover, the land is leased to the City of Los Angeles and is utilized as parkland, and is administered by the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, Valley Region.

The site is located entirely within the boundaries of the Los Angeles City Council District 7, as well as the 28th (California) Congressional District. The site also lies within the jurisdiction of the Pacoima Neighborhood Council, as well as within the North Valley Area Planning Commission and Arleta-Pacoima Community Plan areas.

In September 1940, the Corps and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District completed the construction of Hansen Dam as part of the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin (Basin), a flood risk management system for Los Angeles County. As early as 1946, the Basin was already popular for recreation attracting approximately 75,000 visitors annually. The California Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Game voluntarily stocked fish in the water remaining in the borrow pits at the Basin. In 1948, the City of Los Angeles leased 1,450 acres within the Basin from the Corps for recreation purposes and began a phased program for overall development of the Basin as the Hansen Dam Recreational Area (Corps 2011). The Hansen Dam Recreational Area contains a 40-acre water recreation facility located on the northwest side. The facility consists of a 9-acre recreational lake and a 1.5-acre swimming lake. The existing baseball fields that would be renovated are located north of Osborne Street between Glenoaks Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard.

Comments on this will be accepted during the review period of September 18  through October17, 2012 by:

Carvel Bass, Asset Management Division

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District

P.O.  Box 532711

Los Angeles, CA 90053

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

For

Proposed Action on Corps-Managed Federal Land

 

Proposal Name: Hansen Dam Baseball Field Renovation Project

Proposed Implementation Date: Fall 2012

Proponent: City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks

Requested Location: Hansen Flood Control Basin

County:  Los Angeles

Project Authority, Purpose and Scope

  • PROJECT AUTHORITY

Hansen Dam (or Dam) was authorized pursuant to two acts of Congress. The Flood Control Act (FCA) of 1936 (Public Law [P.L]) 74-738), provides for the construction of the Dam and related flood risk management works for the protection of metropolitan Los Angeles County, California. The second (P.L. 75-761), amended the 1936 Act by providing for the acquisition of land, easements, and right-of-way for flood risk management projects, channel improvements, and channel rectification.

Recreation Section 4 of the FCA, (P.L. 78-534), as amended in 1944, authorizes the Corps to construct, maintain, and operate public park and recreation amenities at water resource development projects and to permit the construction, maintenance, and operation of such amenities.” It authorizes the Corps to grant leases of lands, including structures or amenities that are suitable for public parks and recreation purposes to Federal, state, or local government agencies when such action is determined to be in the public interest. Since 1969, recreation amenities have been developed throughout the Hansen Flood Control Basin (Basin) by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (City) in accordance with a lease agreement between the Corps and the City (Lease DACW09-1-69-45 and the associated Supplemental Agreement No. 3). Under the lease agreement, the Corps reserves the right  of the District Engineer of the Corps’ Los Angeles District to approve all projects, improvements, and special events that will have an anticipated attendance in excess of 1,000 people/ 

  • PURPOSE AND NEED

Under the authority of the FCA, the Corps has permitted the construction, operation, and maintenance of recreation amenities at the Basin through its lease with the City. As it applies to this action, the amenities are three baseball fields that were constructed over 20 years ago (in 1991), which are now in need of repair and renovation. The purpose of the action is to permit the renovation of the three baseball fields under the existing referenced lease agreement and supplement, in order to update the amenities to meet current needs.

The City has identified several objectives of the proposed action, including:

Providing equal access to high quality, affordable recreational programs based on societal needs, including at-risk youth programs,

  • Develop long-range capital improvements to recreational facilities based on criteria, standards, and assessment,
  • Design and redesign recreational programs and services to ensure parks and recreational facilities continue to function as safe and inviting community building centers.
  • SCOPE OF ANALYSIS

This Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates the proposed construction and operation of improvements to the three existing baseball fields and construction and operation of two new restroom structures and a new 6-inch sewer line connection associated with the restrooms. The Basin is owned in fee by the Federal government. The City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks (i.e., City) is requesting approval of specific improvements to recreational amenities authorized under an existing lease and supplemental agreements. This EA analyzes potential effects of the proposed action by comparing a No Action Alternative with the Preferred Alternative which would provide approval to the City to permit the improvements as well as construction and operation of two new restroom structures at the requested location. This analysis is offered to the interested public to solicit input on the proposed action and would be made available for review and public input for 30 days.

PROPOSED ACTION

The Corps proposes to approve the renovation of the existing three baseball fields maintained and operated by the City, including the installation of two new restroom structures. The renovations and improvements would include:

  • Two new restrooms with sewer connections (to replace existing portable toilets),
  • New American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant asphalt parking spaces,
  • New replacement bleachers (at each of the three fields),
  • New replacement chain-link fencing (at each of the three fields),
  • Landscaping improvements including mulched area and shade trees,
  • Renovations of existing dugouts (at each of the three fields),
  • Renovations of turf and infields (at each of the three fields), and
  • Repair and adjustment of existing irrigation systems and installation of some new irrigation.

For additional details associated with the proposed action, refer to the description of the Preferred Alternative below.

ALTERNATIVES

a.  No Action – Under the No Action Alternative, the Corps would not provide approval of the renovations to the City under the terms of the lease. This alternative would not meet the City’s stated purpose and need, and it is considered equivalent to the baseline condition (general park use) in this EA. The City operates the baseball fields at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area, including their use by a Little League baseball team organization (i.e., Pacoima Little League) and the general public. Under this alternative, the fields would continue to be used without any improvements, and the use of portable restrooms would continue as funds allow.

b. Preferred Alternative – As shown in Figures 2, 3a, and 3b, under the Preferred Alternative, the City would renovate the existing three baseball fields (two Little League fields and one standard field) at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area within the Basin. The existing baseball fields were built of turf and grass over 20 years ago (constructed in 1991) and have not been improved since. The Preferred Alternative would also install two new prefabricated restroom structures to replace the portable toilets that are periodically placed at the site by Pacoima Little League when funds allow. The renovations include:

  • Two new restrooms with sewer connections,
  • New ADA-compliant asphalt parking spaces,
  • New bleachers (at each of the three fields),
  • New chain-link fencing (at each of the three fields),
  • Landscaping improvements including mulched area and shade trees ,
  • Renovations of existing dugouts (at each of the three fields),
  • Renovations of turf and infields (at each of the three fields), and
  • Repair and adjustment of irrigation systems and installation of some new irrigation.

When completed, the two Little League field diamonds would measure 60-feet between bases, and the standard field diamond would measure 90-feet between bases.

Because Dronfield Avenue separates the fields (the two Little League fields are located to the west of Dronfield Avenue and the standard field is located to the east), two restrooms are needed, one adjacent to the Little League fields and the other adjacent to the standard field. The two new restrooms and sewer connections would replace the portable restrooms that are periodically placed at the fields when funds allow. The three baseball fields and improvements are shown in Figures 2, 3a and 3b.

The baseball field renovations would include removal of existing turf, baseball lip removal, pitcher’s mound renovations, replacing grades around the four points on each diamond, plate and base improvements, infield skin repairs and replacement, and replacing turf with natural grass. Grading of the fields could result in disturbance depths up to 12-inches. In addition, new bleachers will be added at each field, and existing sprinkler systems will be repaired and adjusted. Some new irrigation will also be installed at depths of up to 2 feet below ground surface. Excavations for fencing posts could be up to 6 feet below the ground surface for the backstop fence post.

The two restrooms (each about 10 feet x 19 feet) would be floodable prefabricated structures brought to the site via trucks, and installed on new concrete pads (excavation for the pads could be up to seven [7] feet deep). Short 6-inch diameter sewer sections would be installed by open cut construction between the restrooms and an existing 24-inch sewer line, where a maintenance hole/chimney structure would be installed to make the connections. The farthest restroom (adjacent to the Little League fields) would be located about 335 feet from the existing sewer line, and the other about 20 feet. The sewer sections would be installed in trenches about 2 to 3 feet wide and up to 20 feet deep. The new maintenance hole structure would be approximately 32 feet below ground surface. Installation of the sewer line to the west restroom would cross Dronfield Avenue, and would occur by staged open trench methods (staged to keep one lane open during construction).

All construction work areas would be restored to existing conditions, including existing grade, or better.  Construction of the improvements would take approximately nine (9) months, with six (6) months needed for the field renovations and restroom installation, and three (3) months needed for maintaining new landscaping. Construction is expected to start in fall 2012. Under the City’s noise provisions, construction is allowed to occur during the week between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., and construction within 500 feet of a residence is restricted to the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and National Holidays, and prohibited on Sundays. Therefore, this analysis assumes that construction would occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (most likely, daily construction would not occur after 6:00 p.m.) and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

During construction, the existing fields would be temporarily closed. Construction material and equipment would be staged at either of the two west baseball fields, which are furthest from the nearest residences. As the renovation work is completed, equipment and materials would be removed from the site. Landscaping would be the last phase of the renovation before the improved fields are reopened for public use.

Construction of the proposed action would require removal of three non-native trees: two (2) Arizona Ash and one (1) Silk Oak. The trees removed would be replaced with new trees (native species) on a 2:1 basis.

The baseball field renovations and improvements are located in areas where the ground elevation exceeds 1,060 feet above sea level, which is the spillway crest elevation for the Hansen Dam, but are located within the Project Maximum Flood (PMF) zone. The PMF is the largest flood that may be expected to occur at a given point on a stream from the most severe combination of critical meteorologic and hydrologic conditions that are reasonably possible on a particular watershed. For the Basin, the PMF elevation is 1,081.2 feet above mean sea  level. For purposes of tracking and oversight of flood control volume capacity by the Corps, the changes in flood control volume capacity (due to excavation and regrading) have been accounted for and are summarized in Table 1. The area in Table 1 represents the footprint area above or below the existing grade, and the volume represents the change in space that would result from proposed improvements. The table shows that the Preferred Alternative would have a decrease in filled space resulting in a net increase in flood control volume capacity, which is considered beneficial from a flood control standpoint. Because the improvements  would increase flood control capacity under the PMF, the improvements would not require compensatory excavation of soil elsewhere in the Basin.

Table 1: Footprint Area and Storage Capacity Changes (Volume) by Elevation

 

 

Elevation (ft)

 

Without Project

 

With Project

Flood Storage Gain (-Loss)

Footprint Area (ft2)

 

Volume (Ac-ft)

Footprint Area (ft2)

 

Volume (Ac-ft)

 

Volume (ft3)

1081.2

4,755.04

0.11

4,760.04

0.11

-5.00

1081

17,731.70

0.41

17,767.31

0.41

-35.61

1080

22,090.16

0.51

22,103.86

0.51

-13.70

1079

23,688.61

0.54

23,705.38

0.54

-16.77

1078

21,944.42

0.50

21,965.08

0.50

-20.66

1077

20,016.3

0.46

20,041.30

0.46

-25.00

1076

20,996.46

0.48

21,021.46

0.48

-25.00

1075

19,737.31

0.45

19,762.31

0.45

-25.00

1074

17,944.26

0.41

17,969.26

0.41

-25.00

1073

15,770.06

0.36

15,795.06

0.36

-25.00

1072

15,269.93

0.35

15,294.93

0.35

-25.00

1071

15,067.85

0.35

15,092.85

0.35

-25.00

1070

16,503.51

0.38

16,503.51

0.38

0

1069

18,460.23

0.42

18,460.23

0.42

0

1068

17,549.67

0.40

17,549.67

0.40

0

1067

21,212.88

0.49

21,212.88

0.49

0

1066

21,198.87

0.49

21,198.87

0.49

0

1065

21,514.74

0.49

21,214.74

0.49

300

1064

542.95

0.01

542.95

0.01

0

TOTAL VOLUME

 

7.621555326

 

7.620791781

 

33.26

Source: City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, 2012.

Note: Positive flood storage represents an increase in flood storage capacity. Increases in flood control capacity are primarily attributed to excavation and rebalancing of soil at the given elevations. Negative flood storage represents a decrease in flood control storage capacity volume. Decreases in flood control capacity volume are primarily attributed to re-grading and to features added to the site within the PMF, such as the restroom facilities, fences, bleachers, and other field improvements.

Currently, the Pacoima Little League uses the baseball fields in the spring (January to June) and fall (August to November) during daytime hours, with games generally on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The fields are also used for practices and for pick-up games by the general public. With the improvements, the Pacoima Little League may extend games and practices through the summer (June to August). This would essentially represent a continuation of the spring season into the summer season, which could serve an additional 150 Little League members for additional months, with games on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

The Corps action would be the approval of the recreational amenities described herein. All uses of lands under Corps administrative control are secondary to the authorized primary purpose for flood risk management.

 c. Alternatives considered but eliminated from further consideration -

One alternative was considered that included the same renovations and improvements as the Preferred Alternative, but also included lighting of the three baseball fields. However, because the use of the recreational facility is within close proximity of residences to the east field, and the operation of the facility remains limited to between dawn and dusk, no lighting is currently being considered and this alternative was eliminated from further consideration.

No other alternative was considered due to restrictions on the use of funds provided by the approved Proposition K grant. An offsite alternative was not considered because the proposed action is the renovation of the three existing baseball fields at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area. Funding for the renovation activities described under the Preferred Alternative has been received under the Proposition K program. The issued grant does not allow for use of funds at any other location or for any other purpose. Without the grant, no funds would be available to perform the improvements (which is the No Action Alternative). Because of this, no offsite alternatives are considered reasonable or feasible.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

  • GEOLOGY AND SOIL QUALITY, STABILITY AND MOISTURE

The criteria for significant adverse effects to this resource include substantial effects to people or structures from geologic conditions, including expansive soils, liquefaction, earthquakes, landslides, substantial erosion, depletion of groundwater supplies or interference with groundwater recharge; loss in farmland; direct or indirect destruction of unique geologic features; unique geologic or mineral resources rendered inaccessible; significantly alters the physical or chemical quality of sediments or soils; triggers or accelerates erosion or sedimentation; or otherwise adversely affected; triggering of landslides or erosion or other substantial alteration of topography.

Baseline

The site is not located within a Fault Rupture Study Area or an Alquist-Priolo Special Study Zone area or landslide area. Portions of the site are located within a liquefaction zone defined as “recent alluvial deposits; groundwater less than 30 feet deep” (Safety Element of the City of Los Angeles General Plan).

According to the 1998 California Department of Conservation Division of Mines and Geology Seismic Hazard Evaluation for the USGS San Fernando Quadrangle, the area’s geologic setting is as follows:

Tujunga Wash has a drainage basin of about 90 square miles in rugged mountainous terrain that includes peaks up to 5,000 feet in altitude. There are two main tributaries- Little Tujunga Canyon to the west and Big Tujunga Canyon to the east. These two streams merge in the Tujunga Valley, where they form a broad wash. Alluvial  deposits in the wash are comprised of sandy gravel with boulders. The Tujunga Wash drains into the Basin, built where the wash had cut through the northwestern end of the Verdugo Mountains. Hansen Dam marks the apex of the main Tujunga Wash portion of the Pacoima-Tujunga fan, which is located in the San Fernando Quadrangle (page [p.] 8).

The geologic map units of the Hansen Dam area are considered “younger alluvial fans of Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Canyons” (Qyf1 and Qyf2), alluvial basin or valley deposits (Qal), which are mainly deposits in man-made flood control basins, e.g., behind the Upper and Lower San Fernando Dams and Hansen Dam, and artificial fill (af). The area of the proposed action is primarily composed of younger alluvial fan (Qyf2, Qa, and B), which are silty sand, sand, and minor clay that is loose- to moderately-dense and considered high in liquefaction potential where groundwater is within 40 feet of the ground surface (pp. 11-12, 15). Gravelly deposits are also found in the wash areas within the vicinity.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would not be improved, so there would be no physical changes relative to baseline conditions that could result in impacts to soils and geology.

Preferred Alternative

Under the Preferred Alternative, new restroom facilities and associated sewers would be added to the site, which would require excavations up to approximately 30-feet deep. In addition, minor excavation would occur for placement of fence posts and other improvements, as well as minor grading of the baseball fields. Although excavations at the site would occur, they would be backfilled and compacted to prevent geotechnical impact such as damage that could be caused by liquefaction. In addition, proper shoring would be employed to ensure safety during construction. Therefore, no significant adverse effect to geology and soils would occur and no environmental commitments are required.

  • HYDROLOGY AND WATER QUALITY

The criteria for significant, adverse effects to this resource include damage to existing water resources including to water quality, streamflow, wetlands, groundwater recharge, or other floodplain-related management issues; violations to any water quality standard or waste discharge requirement, or otherwise substantially degrades water quality; changes in streambed scour or long-term channel degradation; causes an impairment of beneficial uses of any inland waters; or substantially alters existing drainage pattern of the site/area.

Baseline

The site is located within a designated flood control basin on Federally-owned land, which would subject the proposed action to the requirements of Executive Order 11998 (Floodplain Management). This order requires all federal agencies to take actions to reduce the risk of flood loss, to restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values in floodplains, and to minimize the adverse effects of floods on human safety, health, and welfare.

The City of Los Angeles Floodplain Management Plan (FMP) assures the City’s compliance with this and other floodplain management objectives. The FMP is considered a “future-oriented approach to planning in flood risk areas” reflecting a “pre-disaster planning approach that is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the City to continue to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, Community Rating System (NFIP/CRS)” (2001 FMP, p. 1). In particular, the FMP was developed to (1) identify the City’s known flood problem areas, (2) establish goals, objectives, policies and implementation programs to reduce flooding and flood-related hazards, and (3) ensure the natural and beneficial functions of its floodplains are protected (p. 1).  The legal implementation of the FMP is enacted as follows:

The City Charter sets forth the authority for the establishment of specific plans as may be required to ensure the implementation of the General Plan and to comply with programs such as the NFIP. The City’s Specific Plan for the Management of Flood Hazards (Specific Plan) was originally established by Ordinance No. 154,405 and amended most recently in July 1998 by Ordinance No. 172,081. Ordinance No. 172,081 designates the City Engineer as the Flood Hazard Mitigation Coordinator for the City. The Flood Hazard Mitigation Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the implementation of this ordinance among the Planning, Building and Safety, and Public Works Departments. The Specific Plan is the key component of the City’s  participation in  the  NFIP.    The  City  Engineer  has  primary  responsibility  for  implementing    and managing the activities required within the NFIP. This authority is delegated to the City’s NFIP - CRS Coordinator, who is also certified as a Floodplain Manager. In addition, FEMA continually modifies and updates NFIP requirements for local agencies with the long-range goal of public safety and reduced flood damage (2001 FMP, p. 3).

With the exception of a small portion of the western-most Little League field, most of the site is located just outside a 100-year flood plain zone, which encompasses the majority of the Basin. The site is also located within the PMF. Because of the nature of the area as a flood control basin, it is within a potential inundation area for upstream flows, which would be intercepted and directed to the Hansen Dam spreading grounds. The entire area is within the Los Angeles River Watershed boundary, situated approximately one-mile below the confluence of the Big and Little Tujunga Washes at the base of the Verdugo Mountains of the San Gabriel Mountain range and within the foothills of the Angeles National Forest (Hansen Dam Soccer Complex EA/FONSI 2002, p. 1).

From Hansen Dam, the Tujunga Wash flows southward through the Communities of Arleta, Sun Valley, and Valley Glen to the Los Angeles River. The Los Angeles River collects most of the San Fernando Valley’s runoff. The highly urbanized nature of the region contributes contaminants such as oil, grease, particulates, metals, and solvents to the runoff stream, which eventually empties into the Pacific Ocean. The City and County of Los Angeles are subject to compliance with the 1987 Federal Water Pollution Control Act (or Clean Water Act) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit and its Section 402(p) that established a framework for regulating municipal, industrial, and construction stormwater discharges. The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) administers water quality control policy as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated agency. Under the California Water Code, the State is divided into nine administrative regions, whereby the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) has jurisdiction over the area of the proposed action and the County of Los Angeles is the designated NPDES Principal Permittee for the area.

Runoff and water quality are important issues for projects within the Basin. All flows drain toward the Basin floor in its south central area, which also contains the richest riparian habitat and wetland resources. Since the proposed action would not border these areas directly, the potential effects to water quality would primarily come from their contributions to runoff. The Basin is within the San Fernando Valley drainage basin and groundwater within the area is known to be vulnerable as both depleted and contaminated (GeoTracker 2005). Groundwater use within the drainage basin is balanced with groundwater recharge through a program that uses natural flow and imported water (2002 EA/FONSI, p. 35).

The existing baseball fields are used by the Pacoima Little League, which occasionally places portable restrooms at the fields to accommodate visitors, when funds allow.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would not be improved, so there would be no physical changes relative to baseline conditions that could result in adverse impacts to water quality, streamflow, wetlands, groundwater recharge, or other floodplain management.

With regards to use of portable restrooms at the existing fields, the Pacoima Little League places portable restrooms at the baseball fields, when funds allow, which would intermittently continue under the No Action Alternative. In the event of flooding, should  the  portable restrooms be present, adverse impacts to water quality could occur if the flood conditions cause the portable restrooms to tip or otherwise spill their contents. If fund availability does not allow for the placement of the portable restrooms at the baseball fields under the No Action Alternative, visitors to the fields could end up violating “civility laws,”1 which could also have adverse affects on water quality in the Basin. Although potentially adverse, these impacts to water quality are considered a baseline conditions under NEPA. In addition, with the continued use of the portable restrooms, no wastewater or water consumption would continue at the site.

Preferred Alternative

Under the Preferred Alternative, grading and excavation would occur at the site. In addition, new features and improvements would be added to the site, including restroom facilities, bleachers, and fencing. These improvements would result in a net increase in flood control volume capacity over current conditions, as shown in Table 1 above. Because there would be an increase in flood control volume capacity relative to baseline conditions, significant impacts to the flood control basin would not occur.

The Preferred Alternative would require excavation and grading, which could occur within the rainy season. Runoff management and construction best management practices (BMPs) would be employed during construction to minimize sediment and pollutant runoff from the site to keep potential runoff and water quality impacts to a level below significance.

In addition, two new restroom structures and sewer connections would be added at the baseball fields under the Preferred Alternative, which would replace the use of portable restrooms. In the event of flooding, the Preferred Alternative would represent a potential improvement to water quality due to the elimination of the portable restrooms or the elimination of civility law violations. The new restrooms are anticipated to generate wastewater and consume water. Currently, the Pacoima Little League uses the baseball fields in the spring (January to June) and fall (August  to November) during daytime hours, with games generally on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. With the improvements, the Pacoima Little League may extend games and practices through   the   summer   (June   to   August),  also   on   Mondays,  Wednesdays, and                 Saturdays.  The fields are also used for practices and for pick-up games by the general public. In the absence of a site- or land use-specific wastewater usage factor associated with the prefabricated restroom facilities, the area associated with each baseball field that would be designated for spectator/public use (i.e., bleacher area) was used as the area that would generate wastewater (approximately 500 square feet assumed for each of the three baseball fields, for a total of 1,500 square feet). Using the City of Los Angeles usage factors, the most similar usage factor associated with the baseball fields was the “gymnasium” land use type, which considers recreational activity that includes large open space with low occupational density (i.e., the baseball fields).  Based on the City’s usage factor (250 gallons per day per 1,000 square feet), and the area being used by the public, the estimated wastewater generation associated with the Preferred Alternative is 375 gallons per day. In the absence of site-specific water usage factors, or standard water usage factors for specific on-site uses, current water consumption estimates were assumed to be about 10 percent greater than wastewater for an estimated 413 gallons per day of water consumption for the new restrooms. Because the proposed action is the renovation of existing baseball fields, the water under the Preferred Alternative is considered to be the same as under the No Action Alternative. The increase in wastewater and water consumption from the Preferred Alternative is minor and would not substantially affect demand of wastewater treatment or potable water resources.

1 The lack of public restrooms is a concern as it forces even the most law-abiding person to find relief in the wrong place, which causes odors and outdoor sanitation can spread disease.

The site is not used for active groundwater recharge and no streams would be affected by the Preferred Alternative.

Therefore, no significant adverse effect to hydrology and water quality would occur and no environmental commitments are required.

  • AIR QUALITY

The criteria for significant, adverse effects to this resource include causing or contributing to new air quality violation of any standard or increasing the frequency/severity of any existing violations; delaying timely attainment of any local standards, reductions, or other air quality milestones; exceeding any of the following South Coast Air Quality Management District construction emission criteria (ROG - 75 lbs/day; CO – 550 lbs/day; NOx – 100 lbs/day; Sox – 150 lbs/day; PM10 – 150 lbs/day).

Baseline

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control district with jurisdiction over the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB), which includes the site.  The SCAQMD is responsible for the Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) for the SoCAB, which is a comprehensive air pollution control program for attaining the state and federal ambient air quality standards. The proposed action is therefore subject to the AQMP. The City has an adopted Air Quality Element that is part of the General Plan. The Air Quality Element contains policies and goals for attaining state and federal air quality standards, while simultaneously facilitating local economic growth, and it includes implementation strategies for local programs contained in the AQMP. Adverse impacts would occur if the proposed action was inconsistent with the AQMP or the Air Quality Element of the City’s General Plan.

The climate of the SoCAB is determined primarily by terrain and geography. Regional meteorology is dominated by a persistent high pressure area that commonly resides over the eastern Pacific Ocean. Seasonal variations in strength and position of this pressure cell cause changes in area weather patterns. Local climactic conditions are characterized by warm summers, mild winters, infrequent rainfall, moderate daytime on-shore breezes, and moderate humidity. The SoCAB’s normally mild climate is occasionally interrupted by periods of hot weather, winter storms, and hot easterly Santa Ana winds.

The SoCAB area has high levels of air pollution, particularly from June through September. Factors leading to high levels of pollution include a large amount of pollutant emissions, light winds, and shallow vertical atmospheric mixing. These factors reduce pollutant dispersion, exacerbating elevated air pollution levels. Pollutant concentrations in the SoCAB vary by location, season and time of day. Concentrations of ozone (O3), for example, tend to be lower along the coast and in far inland areas of the Basin and adjacent desert and higher in and near inland valleys.

Over the past 30 years, substantial progress has been made in reducing air pollution levels in Southern California. Previously, the EPA designated SoCAB as a nonattainment area for all National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) except sulfur dioxide (SO2). The EPA now designates SoCAB as in attainment for 1-hour nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and SO2 and maintenance for carbon monoxide (CO) and annual NO2. Inhalable particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 microns (PM10), fine particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 microns (PM2.5), and O3 levels, while reduced substantially from their previous peaks, remain above relevant NAAQS.  Also, the lead  NAAQS was lowered on January 12, 2009 (73 Federal Register [FR] 66964) and the Los  Angeles County portion of the SoCAB was designated as nonattainment for lead, effective December 31, 2010 (75 FR 71033).

Air quality conditions for an area are typically the result of meteorological conditions and existing emission sources. Air quality data from a monitoring station near the area of analysis is summarized in Table 2. This analysis used monitoring data from the Burbank station (California Air Resources Board [CARB] Number 70069 or EPA Site ID 060371002),  which is approximately 8 miles southeast of the site. This station best represents air quality conditions in the area.

Table 2. Summary of Pollutant Monitoring Data from Burbank, California

Criteria Air Pollutant/Averaging Time1

 

Annual Monitoring Data

 

2009

2010

2011

Ozone (O3)

8-Hour Federal Design Value (ppm)

0.088

0.084

0.081

Inhalable Particulate Matter (PM10)

2nd High 24-Hour Concentration (µg/m3)

105.5

50.0

64.0

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)

24-Hour Federal Design Value (µg/m3)

41

34

34

Annual Federal Design Value (µg/m3)

15.4

14.0

13.9

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

2nd High 1-Hour Concentration (ppm)

3.1

2.6

2.7

2nd High 8-Hour Concentration (ppm)

2.5

2.33

2.33

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

1-Hour Federal Design Value (ppb)

69

64

56

Annual Average (ppb)

27

24

*

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

1-Hour Federal Design Value (ppb)

11

10

5

2nd High 24-Hour Concentration (ppb)

3

4

2

Source: CARB 2012b; EPA 2012a

Note:

1 Design value presents the concentration in the same statistical manner as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, allowing for a direct comparison to the standards.

Key:

µg/m3 = micrograms per cubic meter                                                ppb = parts per billion ppm = parts per million

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would not be improved, so there would be no physical changes relative to baseline conditions that could result in adverse impacts to air quality from construction. In addition, the existing baseball fields would continue to be used by Pacoima Little League, and no changes relative to baseline conditions would occur. As a consequence, operation of the No Action Alternative would not result in significant adverse air quality impacts.

Preferred Alternative

Construction of the Preferred Alternative would generate some criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to equipment exhaust, ground-disturbing activity, and installation of the restroom buildings. During operation, the majority of emissions would be generated by vehicles entering and exiting the facility (Pacoima Little League staff, baseball field users, and visitors). Emissions were estimated using the California Emissions  Estimator  Model (CalEEMod) version 2011.1.1. CalEEMod is a statewide land use emissions computer model that estimates construction and operational emissions from a variety of land use projects. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), CO, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5 were estimated for criteria pollutants. O3 is a secondary pollutant, meaning that it is formed in the atmosphere from reactions of other precursor compounds under certain conditions. Primary precursor compounds that lead to formation of O3 include VOC and NOx. PM2.5 can be emitted directly from sources (e.g., engines) or can form in the atmosphere from other precursor compounds. PM2.5 precursor compounds in the SoCAB include sulfur oxides (SOx), NOx, VOC, and ammonia. Lead emissions were not estimated because  no major sources of lead would be used at the site.

Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) were  also estimated to evaluate GHG impacts. Non-CO2 pollutants have global warming potential (GWP) factors that reflect the degree to which these pollutants affect climate change, as compared to CO2. The product of each GHG emissions and its GWP is known as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The value of GWPs is continually being modified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as climate change science is refined. Most mandatory and voluntary reporting registries require the use of the GWPs published in the Second Assessment Report (IPCC 1996); therefore, the GWPs from the Second Assessment Report (i.e. 21 for CH4 and 310 for N2O) were used to maintain consistency with the international standard.

Emissions from construction activities were modeled using an estimated construction schedule (6 months starting in fall 2012). Default data from CalEEMod for equipment size (i.e. horsepower), load factor, and daily hours of operation was used. Consistent with SCAQMD fugitive dust control measures in Rule 403, water trucks were assumed to control fugitive dust emissions. Construction emissions also include 34 haul trips during the grading  and construction phase and 68 haul trips during the paving phase, commute trips by 15 construction workers,  fugitive  dust  (PM10   and  PM2.5)  from  soil  hauling  and  grading,  and  fugitive   VOC emissions from paving.2

Default parameters for a park land use type were used in CalEEMod to estimate operational emissions. Operational emissions were assumed to occur beginning in mid-2013. Although an expansion of use could occur (i.e., expansion of length of time of baseball season for Pacoima Little League and their use of the site), there would remain only the existing three baseball fields; therefore, the daily use would remain similar to the baseline conditions. In addition, it was assumed that any increase in water or electricity use as a result of the proposed action is negligible.

Appendix A provides copies of the CalEEMod output files.

Regional Emission Thresholds

The SCAQMD developed significance thresholds for mass daily emission rates of criteria pollutants for both construction and operational sources in the CEQA Air Quality Handbook (SCAQMD 1993). Regular updates are published on the SCAQMD website (SCAQMD 2011b). These thresholds are summarized in Table 3.

2 For the purposes of the traffic analysis, the daily air quality construction assumptions would consist of 11 truck round trips and 15 worker round trips would occur on a worst-case day. When the truck trips are converted to passenger car equivalents (each truck is assumed to represent 2.5 passenger cars), 40 trips per day would be made to the site during worst-case construction.

Table 3. SCAQMD Mass Daily Significance Thresholds

Pollutant

Construction

Operation

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

100 lbs/day

55 lbs/day

Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

75 lbs/day

55 lbs/day

Inhalable particulate matter (PM10)

150 lbs/day

150 lbs/day

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)

55 lbs/day

55 lbs/day

Sulfur oxides (SOx)

150 lbs/day

150 lbs/day

Carbon monoxide (CO)

550 lbs/day

550 lbs/day

Lead

3 lbs/day

3 lbs/day

Source: SCAQMD 2011b

Key:

lbs/day = pounds per day

Table 4 summarizes unmitigated emissions associated with the construction  activities that would occur during construction of the Preferred Alternative.

Table 4. Unmitigated Peak Daily Construction Emissions Inventory

Emission Source

Peak Daily Emissions (pounds per day)

CO

NOx

VOC

SOx

PM  1,2

10

PM   1,2

2.5

Site Preparation

51

86

11

<1

12

8

Grading

38

62

8

<1

8

5

Paving

24

36

6

<1

7

3

Threshold

550

100

75

150

150

55

Adverse?

No

No

No

No

No

No

Source: SCAQMD 2011b

Note:

1    SCAQMD Rule 403 requires the use of water trucks to control fugitive dust emissions; therefore, unmitigated PM10 and PM2.5

emissions assume that watering is being conducted.

2 Emissions include fugitive dust from grading activities, off-road construction equipment exhaust, exhaust emissions from construction workers, haul trucks, and vendors and fugitive paved road dust emissions.

Key:

CO = carbon monoxide                                                               PM2.5  = fine particulate matter

NOx = nitrogen oxides                                                                SO2  = sulfur dioxide

PM10  = inhalable particulate matter                                             VOC = volatile organic compounds

As shown in the air quality calculations, construction emissions would not exceed the significance criteria. Thus, no significant adverse air quality effects from peak daily construction emissions would occur; and no environmental commitments are required.

Operational emissions were also estimated as part of this analysis. Operational emission sources that would contribute to criteria pollutant emissions include mobile source emissions from employees and visitors visiting the facility, reapplication of architectural coatings, consumer product usage, and landscaping. Table 5 summarizes unmitigated emissions associated with the operational activities that would occur under the Preferred Alternative.

Table 5. Unmitigated Peak Daily Operational Emissions Inventory

Emission Source

Peak Daily Emissions (pounds per day)

CO

NOx

VOC

SOx

PM10

PM2.5

Mobile1

8

2

1

<1

1

<1

Threshold

550

55

55

150

150

55

Adverse?

No

No

No

No

No

No

Source: SCAQMD 2011b

Note:

1 Mobile sources include trips from employees, visitors, and vendors. Key:

CO = carbon monoxide                           PM2.5  = fine particulate matter

NOx = nitrogen oxides                            SO2  = sulfur dioxide

PM10  = inhalable particulate matter         VOC = volatile organic compounds n/a = not applicable

As shown in Table 5, emissions from all criteria pollutants would not exceed the significance criteria. Thus, no significant adverse operational air quality effects would occur and no environmental commitments are required.

Localized Significance Thresholds

The SCAQMD developed thresholds for local air quality impacts from construction activity (SCAQMD 2008b and SCAQMD 2009). Localized significance thresholds (LSTs) are only applicable to the following criteria pollutants: NOx, CO, PM10, and PM2.5. LSTs are analogous to NAAQS and California Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS); pollutant levels below LSTs would not necessarily be expected to violate the NAAQS or CAAQS. LSTs consider ambient concentrations of pollutants for each source receptor area and distances to the  nearest sensitive receptor.

LST emission tables were developed by the SCAQMD for project sizes up to five (5) acres. SCAQMD recommends using the equipment type to determine the maximum daily disturbed acreage when analyzing air emissions with CalEEMod (SCAQMD 2011a).  The CalEEMod User’s Guide, Appendix A indicates that each crawler tractor, grader, or rubber tired dozer operating at the site could disturb 0.5 acres per workday; a scraper could disturb one acre per workday. The equipment list for the Preferred Alternative assumes that three rubber  tired dozers would operate during site preparation activities; therefore, 1.5 acres could be disturbed per day.  This phase would thus fall between the one and two acre LSTs. LSTs were scaled to 1.5   acres. During the grading phase, it is anticipated that one grader and one dozer would operate; therefore one acre could be disturbed per day and the one acre LST is applicable. The one acre LST was also applied to the paving phase.

Table 6 summarizes the allowable emissions for construction emissions for a project located in the East San Fernando Valley Source-Receptor Area (SRA). The closest sensitive receptor would be located in the residential area near the standard baseball field, which is less than 82 feet (or 25 meters) from the site; therefore, the thresholds for 82 feet were used.

As described in the SCAQMD’s LST Methodology (SCAQMD 2008b), only onsite emissions, which include fugitive dust and off-road construction equipment, were included the LST analysis and not offsite mobile emissions from the proposed action (e.g., construction worker commuting).  Onsite operational emissions are anticipated to be negligible.  Table 6 summarizes the results of the LST analysis for this alternative.

Table 6. Localized Significance Thresholds for Construction Emissions

Phase/Pollutant

Maximum Daily Onsite Emissions, lbs/day1,2

Threshold, lbs/day3

Adverse?

Site Preparation

CO

48

642

No

NOx

85

97

No

PM10

11

5.5

Yes

PM2.5

8

2.5

Yes

Grading

CO

34

498

No

NOx

61

80

No

PM10

6

4

Yes

PM2.5

5

1

Yes

Paving

CO

21

498

No

NOx

34

80

No

PM10

3

4

No

PM2.5

3

1

Yes

Source: SCAQMD, 2009

Notes:

1 SCAQMD Rule 403 requires the use of water trucks to control fugitive dust emissions; therefore, unmitigated PM10 and PM2.5 emissions assume that watering is being conducted.

2    Onsite emissions include fugitive dust and offroad construction equipment exhaust.

3 LSTs for Site Preparation were scaled for 1.5 acre site using the published one and two acre LSTs for sources located approximately 82 feet (or 25 meters) from the sensitive receptor were used for the Site Preparation phase. One acre LST for

sources located approximately 82 feet from the sensitive receptor were used for the other phases. Key:

CO = carbon monoxide                           PM10  = inhalable particulate matter

lbs/day = pounds per day                       PM2.5  = fine particulate matter NOx = nitrogen oxides

As shown in Table 6, construction emissions would exceed the PM10 and PM2.5 LSTs and localized peak daily emissions could be adverse; environmental commitments AQ-1 and AQ-2 would need to be implemented to reduce the emissions to levels below the LSTs, 

AQ-1               Diesel particulate filters (DPF) that reduce particulate matter emissions by 85 percent would be installed on all heavy diesel equipment (CARB 2012a).

AQ-2               Chemical  soil  stabilizers  would  be  used  on  inactive  construction  areas  with disturbed soil that have not been used initially for at least 4 consecutive days to mitigate at least 30 percent of fugitive dust emissions. Polymer or synthetic products are preferred because they are environmentally safe and will not contribute to adverse effects in other resource areas. Examples of soil stabilizers include products developed by Soilworks or G.M. Boston Company International. Most soil stabilizers are applied by simply spraying on the areas in which fugitive dust emissions need to be controlled, similar to watering a lawn, or via water trucks (SCAQMD 2007; WGA 2006; Soilworks n.d.; G.M. Boston n.d.).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Although there is currently no federal regulation in place to govern the effects of climate change and GHG emissions, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) provided draft guidance in a February 2010 memorandum that outlines how Federal agencies may better  consider the effects of GHG emissions and climate change in their NEPA evaluations of proposed Federal actions (CEQ, 2010). The analysis for this proposed action followed the draft guidance voluntarily, recognizing that it is not final and is subject to change.  In this draft guidance,   CEQ proposes the consideration of opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and to adapt to climate change impacts throughout the NEPA process.

In the context of NEPA, CEQ proposes that the following climate change issues be considered:

  • The GHG emission effects of a proposed action and alternative actions; and
  • The relationship of climate change effects to a proposed action or alternatives, including the relationship to proposal design environmental impacts, mitigation, and adaptation measures.

For the GHG emission analysis, the draft guidance from CEQ outlines when to evaluate GHG emissions and offers a protocol on how to evaluate GHG emissions. Although the draft NEPA guidance does not provide a quantitative significance criterion, it states that if a proposed action would cause direct emissions of 25,000 metric tons of CO2e per year (MTCO2e/yr), then a quantitative and qualitative assessment of both direct and indirect GHG emissions should be completed.

On December 5, 2008, the SCAQMD Governing Board adopted its staff proposal for an interim CEQA GHG significance threshold of 10,000 MTCO2e/yr for industrial projects (SCAQMD 2011b). The SCAQMD Board has not yet adopted any significance thresholds for other types of projects, such as residential and commercial development; however, SCAQMD staff included preliminary recommendations for such uses in the supporting documentation for the interim threshold. Staff recommended that 3,000 MTCO2e/yr be used by lead agencies as a screening level threshold for residential and commercial developments, including industrial parks, warehouses, etc. (SCAQMD 2008a).

The SCAQMD GHG significance threshold combines construction and operational emissions. Construction GHG emissions are amortized over the expected lifetime of the proposed action and then added to the operational GHG emissions. The SCAQMD recommends that construction GHG emissions be amortized over a 30-year project lifetime (SCAQMD 2008a). For a conservative analysis, the staff recommended 3,000 MTCO2e/yr threshold was used in this analysis.

Vehicle exhaust from onsite and offsite construction activities could increase GHG emissions. Additionally, indirect operational emissions could occur from additional solid waste disposal. GHG emissions for both construction activities and operations of the proposed action were estimated using CalEEMod.

Table 7 summarizes annual construction and operational GHG emissions associated with the Preferred Alternative. Increased emissions associated with this alternative are well below the threshold for disclosure established by the CEQ and the significance criterion established by the SCAQMD. Therefore, no significant adverse GHG emissions would occur  and  no environmental commitments are required.

Table 7. Unmitigated Annual GHG Emissions Inventory

 

Annual Emissions (metric tons per year)

CO2

CH4

N2O

Total

Construction emissions

354

<1

<1

n/a

Amortized construction emissions

 

12

<1

<1

n/a

Operational emissions

204

<1

<1

n/a

Total Emissions

216

<1

<1

n/a

GWP

1

21

310

n/a

CO2e Emissions

216

<1

<1

216

Key:

CO2  = carbon dioxide                                                             GWP = global warming potential

CH4  = methane                                                                       CO2e = carbon dioxide equivalent

N2O = nitrous oxide                                                                n/a = not applicable

General Conformity

The EPA developed emission levels that identify major stationary sources in nonattainment areas (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 51.165), and these same levels are used to define the de minimis thresholds for general conformity evaluations (40 CFR 93.153). For the purposes of this study, the proposed action would create an adverse effect if construction and/or operation would exceed the general conformity de minimis thresholds for pollutants in which the region is designated as nonattainment or maintenance. Table 8 summarizes the thresholds that are applicable to this proposed action.

Table 8. General Conformity De Minimis Thresholds

Pollutant

Federal Attainment Status

De     Minimis    Threshold(tpy)

Volatile    organic    compounds (VOC)1

Nonattainment, extreme (O3)

10

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)2

Nonattainment, extreme (O3)

10

Inhalable    particulate     matter (PM10)

Nonattainment, serious

70

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)

Nonattainment

100

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)3

Attainment

100

Ammonia4

 

N/A (PM2.5 precursor)

 

100

 

Carbon monoxide (CO)

 

Maintenance

 

100

 

Lead (Pb)

 

Nonattainment

 

25

Source: 40 CFR 93.153

Notes:

1    As a precursor to PM2.5, VOC also has a threshold of 100 tpy. Since the 10 tpy threshold for VOC as an O3

precursor is more conservative, that value is used in the analysis.

2 As a precursor to both NO2 and PM2.5, NOx also has a threshold of 100 tpy. Since the 10 tpy threshold for NOx as an O3 precursor is more conservative, that value is used in the analysis.

3    Although the South Coast Air Basin is in attainment of SO2, any precursors to nonattainment pollutants are also

subject to de minimis thresholds; therefore, since SO2 is a precursor to PM2.5, which is in nonattainment, it is subject to the given emissions threshold.

4    Ammonia, although not a criteria pollutant, is a precursor to PM2.5, and as such has a de minimis threshold.

Key:

O3  = ozone                                 tpy = tons per year

The site is located on land that is leased from the Corps and Federal approval is necessary to construct the Preferred Alternative; therefore, general conformity is applicable. Table 9 summarizes annual emissions from construction activities.

 

Table 9 Unmitigated Annual Criteria Pollutant Emissions Inventory

Emission Year1

Annual Emissions (tons per year)

CO

NOx

VOC

SOx

PM  2

10

PM   2

2.5

2012

1

2

<1

<1

<1

<1

2013

2

2

<1

<1

<1

<1

2014 and beyond

 

1

 

<1

 

<1

 

<1

 

<1

 

<1

Threshold

100

10

10

100

70

100

Adverse?

No

No

No

No

No

No

Source: 40 CFR 93.153

Note:

1 Emissions from 2012 include construction emissions. In 2013, emissions would be from construction and operation. Emissions from 2014 and beyond only include operational emissions.

1    SCAQMD Rule 403 requires the use of water trucks to control fugitive dust emissions; therefore, unmitigated PM10 and PM2.5

emissions assume that watering is being conducted. Key:

CO = carbon monoxide                                                             PM2.5  = fine particulate matter

NOx = nitrogen oxides                                                              SO2  = sulfur dioxide

PM10  = inhalable particulate matter                                           VOC = volatile organic compounds

 

As shown in Table 9, unmitigated emissions for all pollutants would be less than the general conformity de minimis thresholds. As a result, a general conformity determination is  not required.

  • VEGETATION COVER, QUANTITY AND QUALITY

The criteria for significant, adverse effects to this vegetation cover, quantity and quality include alteration to valuable vegetative communities and/or include substantial loss of regionally unique or designated habitat; damage to rare plants or that of their habitat or any riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, regulations or by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) or the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Baseline

Vegetation at the site consists of turf grass on the playing fields surrounded by landscaped lawn and approximately six (6) ornamental trees. Weedy vegetation also occurs along the edges of the gravel driveways and parking areas. A shallow drainage channel located just west of the site may contain surface water during the rainy season; however, it does not support native vegetation.

None of the trees at the site are protected oaks or other native California species, and there is no riparian habitat or other sensitive natural communities on the site. The nearest natural vegetation communities are located approximately 1,000 feet southeast of the site.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, there would be no construction or changes to the baseball fields or the existing vegetation at the site. Therefore, the No Action Alternative would not result in significant adverse effects to vegetation.

Preferred Alternative

Construction of the Preferred Alternative would require disturbance of turf grass and landscaped lawn areas and removal of three trees: two (2) Arizona Ash and one (1) Silk Oak. These trees would be replaced with new trees (native species) on a 2:1 basis, which would be a benefit associated with the Preferred Alternative. These tree species are not rare and are not part of a natural vegetation community. The Preferred Alternative would also  entail  rehabilitation of areas disturbed by construction, replanting landscaped areas, and replacing turf on the baseball playing fields with natural grass. There would be no disturbance of natural vegetation communities. Therefore, the Preferred Alternative would not result in significant adverse effects to vegetation and no environmental commitments are required.

  • WILDLIFE

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to wildlife include significant disruption of wildlife corridors; substantial interferences with the movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species or with established native resident or migratory wildlife corridors, or impede the use of native wildlife nursery sites; and damage to wildlife or their habitat.

Baseline

The Hansen Dam Recreational Area provides several habitat types that support a variety of wildlife. Habitats include open water, riparian, grassland, and scrub/shrub communities, and the wildlife habitat is connected via the Tujunga Wash to large areas of habitat located within the Verdugo Mountains and continuing to the San Gabriel Mountains (Los Angeles County 2012). The area has been designated a Significant Ecological Area (SEA), known as the Tujunga Canyon/Hansen Dam SEA, by the County of Los Angeles (Los Angeles County 2012).

Over 280 species have been observed at Hansen Dam Recreational Area (San Fernando Valley Audubon Society 2012). Common bird species include several species of waterfowl and wading birds, lesser goldfinch, black phoebe, Anna’s hummingbird, California towhee, western scrub jay, American crow, and red-tailed hawk. Other common wildlife includes western fence lizard, rabbit, raccoon, coyote, several species of bats, and fish.

The site does not support native wildlife habitat and is located adjacent to an urban, developed area which does not provide habitat. The shallow drainage channel located adjacent to the site does not support native wildlife habitat. Wildlife adapted to urban areas, such as crows, raccoons, and opossums, may traverse the site to reach habitat located across Osborne Street, but would not be likely to utilize the site itself for nesting or denning. The site is adjacent to the Tujunga/Hansen Dam SEA, but is not part of the SEA and does not function as a wildlife corridor.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields will remain in their current conditions and there would be no construction that would impact wildlife or changes to existing habitat for wildlife at the site. Therefore, no significant adverse effects on wildlife would occur under the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

Construction of the Preferred Alternative would entail disturbance of the limited vegetation at the site, including removal of three trees as described above. Although unlikely, these trees may provide limited nesting habitat for migratory birds, which are protected under the Migratory  Bird

Treaty Act. In order to avoid impacts to migratory birds during the nesting season, the following environmental commitments would be incorporated:

BR-1:               Construction activities that involve tree removal or trimming would be timed as much as possible to occur outside the migratory bird nesting season, which occurs generally from March 1 through August 31, and as early as February 1 for raptors.

BR-2:               If  construction must  occur  during the migratory bird nesting  season that   would remove or disturb suitable nesting habitat, two biological surveys would be conducted, one 15 days and a second 72 hours prior to construction, or if observed during construction activities. The surveys would indicate the presence or absence of any protected native birds in the habitat to be removed and any other habitat within 300 feet of the construction work area. If a protected native bird is found, surveys would be continued in order to locate any nests. If an active nest is found, construction within 300 feet of the nest (500 feet for raptor nests) would be postponed until the nest is vacated and juveniles have fledged (minimum of six weeks after egg-laying), and there is no evidence of a second attempt at nesting.

Since the three trees to be removed would be replaced on a 2:1 basis, the Preferred Alternative would result in a long-term neutral or positive effect on wildlife habitat at the site. There would be no change with respect to the site’s lack of function as a wildlife corridor.  With implementation of environmental commitments BR-1 and BR-2 for avoidance of effects on nesting migratory birds, less than significant adverse effects on wildlife from the Preferred Alternative would result.

  • THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES:

Baseline

A search of the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) identified 10 wildlife and plant species federally-listed as endangered, threatened, or candidate, with potential to occur within the San Fernando, Sunland, Van Nuys, and Burbank U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangles, as presented in Table 10 (CNDDB 2012).

High-quality habitat for some federally-listed species exists elsewhere within the Hansen Dam Recreational Area and several federally-listed species have been documented within the Basin and Recreational Area (CNDDB 2012). As many as 15 nesting pairs of least Bell’s vireo, a federal endangered species, may utilize habitat in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area (Los Angeles Times 2007).

Given the disturbed nature of the site and the lack of suitable habitat, no federally-listed wildlife or plant species have the potential to use the site. As described above, migratory birds, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, may utilize the trees at the site for nesting, but this is considered unlikely given the limited habitat, the high level of human activity nearby, and the fact that the trees are not native tree species.

Table 10: Federally-Listed Species Documented in the Area of the Proposed Action

Species

Status

Habitat Requirements

Likelihood of Occurrence

Amphibians

 

Sierra Madre yellow-legged frog

Rana muscosa

 

 

FE

Federal listing refers to populations in the San Gabriel, San Jacinto, and San Bernardino Mountains only. Always encountered within a few feet of water. Tadpoles may require 2 - 4 years to complete their aquatic development.

 

 

Not present.

Fish

Santa Ana sucker

Catostomus santaanae

 

FT

Habitat generalists, but prefer sand-rubble- boulder bottoms, cool, clear water, and algae.

 

Not present.

Birds

 

Western yellow-billed cuckoo Coccyzus americanus occidentalis

 

 

FC

Riparian forest nester, along the broad, lower flood-bottoms of larger river systems. Nests in riparian jungles of willow, often mixed with cottonwoods, with lower story of blackberry, nettles, or wild grape.

 

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

Southwestern willow flycatcher

Empidonax traillii extimus

 

FE

 

Riparian woodlands in southern California.

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

 

Coastal California gnatcatcher Polioptila californica californica

 

 

FT

Obligate, permanent resident of coastal sage scrub below 2500 feet in southern California. Low, coastal sage scrub in arid washes, on mesas, and slopes. Not all areas classified as coastal sage scrub are occupied.

 

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

 

Least Bell’s vireo

Vireo bellii pusillus

 

 

FE

Summer resident of southern California in low riparian in vicinity of water or in dry river bottoms below 2000 feet. Nests placed along margins of bushes or on twigs projecting into pathways, usually willow, Baccharis, mesquite.

 

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

Plants

 

Nevin’s barberry

Berberis nevinii

 

FE

Chaparral, cismontane woodland, coastal scrub, riparian scrub. On steep, north-facing slopes or in low grade sandy washes. 290-1575m.

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

San Fernando Valley spineflower Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina

 

FC

 

Coastal scrub. Sandy soils. 3-1035m.

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

 

Slender-horned spineflower

Dodecahema leptoceras

 

FE

Chaparral, coastal scrub (alluvial fan sage scrub). Flood deposited terraces and washes; associations include Encelia, Dalea, Lepidospartum, etc. 200-760m.

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

 

California Orcutt grass

Orcuttia californica

 

FE

 

Vernal pools. 15-660m.

Unlikely to occur. No suitable habitat in the project area.

Source: California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) search of the San Fernando, Sunland, Van Nuys, and Burbank 7.5-minute USGS quadrangles. Accessed May 17, 2012.

FC – Federal Candidate FE – Federal Endangered FT – Federal Threatened

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would remain in their existing condition and there would be no construction or changes to existing conditions for federally-listed species at the site. Therefore, no significant adverse effects to threatened or endangered species would occur under the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The site does not support habitat for federally-listed species, and there would be no change in these conditions under the Preferred Alternative. In the unlikely event that a federally- threatened or endangered species is observed prior to or during  construction, construction would be halted and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be consulted to determine the appropriate action required such that construction can resume. Therefore, no  significant adverse effects to threatened or endangered species would occur under the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

  • WETLANDS

Criteria for determining significant, adverse effects to wetlands include disturbance or alteration to a wetland area from its original context, or direct removal, filling, draining or purposeful water reduction or introduction of organisms or fill that would be incompatible  to a naturally occurring wetland area as defined by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, marsh, vernal pool, and coastal wetlands) whether it be temporal or permanent.

Baseline

The baseball fields are located in the westernmost portion of the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin, immediately adjacent to a residential community. The baseball fields have existed at this site since 1991 on land classified as Recreation in the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin Master Plan; no wetlands exist within the vicinity of the baseball fields.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the baseball fields in their existing condition. Given that no wetlands exist at the site, no significant adverse effects on wetlands would occur under the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would involve the restoration of the existing baseball fields while maintaining their current configuration, the erection of two prefabricated restroom facilities, and enhancement to landscaping. Given that no wetlands exist at the site, no significant adverse effects on wetlands would occur under the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

CULTURAL RESOURCES

The criteria for significant, adverse effects to this resource include disturbance, alteration or otherwise diminishing of the integrity of a property’s location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling or association, from original context, or introduction of culturally incompatible elements to a property considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Baseline

The Federal government’s 1966 National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) to assist federal and state officials regarding matters related to historic preservation. Section 106 of the Act requires federal agencies to consider the effect of an action on cultural resources in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The administering agency (ACHP) has authored regulations to implement Section 106. Because the proposed action is considered an undertaking, it must comply with the NHPA; three steps are required for this:

(1)   identification of substantial resources that may be affected;

(2)   assessment of the proposed action’s effects on those resources; and

(3)   development and implementation of mitigation measures to offset or eliminate adverse effects.

The District Corps’ Archaeologist will work with the City of Los Angeles and the SHPO to identify, preserve and protect cultural resources at the site. The ensuing discussion of cultural resources incorporates information from a survey and literature review that were conducted as part of the investigative work for the Draft EA/MND that was prepared for the “Hansen Dam Soccer Complex” project in 2002 as well as the June 2005 Archaeological and Historic Architectural Resources Evaluation report conducted by EDAW, Inc. for the Hansen Dam Phase II Ranger Station and Trail Improvements Project.

The general region encompassing the proposed action has hosted human activity for more than 10,000 years. The County’s prehistory may be divided into four broad  periods:  (1) early (hunting cultures including the San Dieguito tribe); (2) middle (food-collecting cultures including the La Jolla, Pauma, Oak Grove, Topanga, and Sayles tribes); (3) intermediate (Shoshonean tribe of the Takic language family); and (4) late prehistoric (600 A.D. through European contact, which led to establishment of Spanish mission culture).

The Hansen Dam Recreational Area is considered the ethno-linguistic ancestral home of the Tong-va and Tobikhar (also known as Gabrielino) people who were present during the time of European contact and currently exist in a population that is dispersed throughout the Los Angeles area. The Gabrieliño lived in “domed, circular structures covered with plant material,” followed patrilineal kinship networks, were politically organized under a village chief, and spiritually directed by community shamans. The Gabrieliño manufactured cooking utensils, hunting instruments, and boats that enabled their deep-sea fishing and access to the Santa Catalina Islands where they quarried steatite for their manufacturing activities. The Basin is home to two Gabrieliño communities: Tohuunga and Muuhonga. These villages were depopulated due to impacts from the Spanish mission settlement at San Fernando Rey (which inducted the Gabrieliño into its community) and diseases that were introduced by the Spanish.

The first European presence in the area was the 1769 expedition of Spaniard Gaspar de Portola. Mission San Fernando Rey was established in 1797 - the mission site is approximately four (4) miles away from the Basin. The Spanish missions became secularized in 1835 and resulted in land grants including Rancho Tujunga, which is believed to have possibly included a 1830s-era adobe ranch house along the Big Tujunga Wash area of the Basin and the Rancho Ex-Mission de San Fernando, incorporated the western portion of the Basin. Land in the vicinity was eventually developed as small farms and fruit orchards with a Tujunga post office established around 1885. A 1938 flood of the Big Tujunga Wash “decimated” the valley and resulted in the construction of the Hansen Dam in 1940.

A search of the City of Los Angeles Planning Department’s list of Historical and Cultural Resources by Community Planning Area (which includes properties on the national and state registers) indicated that no such designated structures exist within the area. A review of the cultural resources analysis (performed for the 2002 EA/FONSI) indicated that the CA-LAN-300 resource is located within the Hansen Dam area; nevertheless, it is not in the immediate vicinity of the site (approximately 0.7 mile to the east/northeast). Archaeological trenching and monitoring that were conducted near the soccer complex project did not uncover any resources connected with CA-LAN-300 (located immediately to the south). An initial records search by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Archaeological Information Center in 1997 revealed that, in addition to CA-LAN-300, the nearest recorded find to the proposed site is CA-LAN-167, known as “Big Tujunga Village,” approximately 1.5 miles to the east/northeast.  This investigation also indicated that the entire area of the previous Ranger Station project was within an “unmarked area” of “unknown cultural resource sensitivity.”

A previous records review conducted by the District Corps’ Archaeologist (Killeen, March 2005) identified a historic resource (CA-LAN-2090H) within 0.25 mile of the Ranger Station/Visitor Center site (to the east). The report’s author found no resources listings for the Ranger Station site. Although this resource would be outside of the area of potential effect, its discovery, in conjunction with the above conclusions, warranted further archaeological investigation. In May 2005, a Phase I archaeological survey of the sites east of Osborne Street and both north and south of Dronfield Avenue was conducted in order to determine the likelihood of cultural resources being present. A program of pre-construction trenching was also conducted in an effort to determine the potential for buried cultural resources within the area.

The archaeological field survey was conducted on May 25, 2005, and trenching took place in early June of that year. One mid-20th-century recreational site was identified in the EDAW, Inc. report, but this site was recommended as not being eligible for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources (California Register) or the National Register of Historic Places (National Register). No cultural resources were found during trenching. The report also concluded  that “no further archaeological work is recommended for the current project area unless cultural resources are found during ground-disturbing construction activities.”

A historic architectural resources survey was also conducted on May 25 and June 1, 2005 and it identified two potentially eligible resources: (1) the Ranch style maintenance building and yard built in 1950 with an addition in 1954-55; and (2) Hansen Dam Park itself, developed between about 1952-1955. The maintenance building and yard were originally designed as a comfort station (restroom) by City staff, a design that is ubiquitous in City parks. It was therefore recommended as not eligible, and needed no further consideration under Section 106, CEQA, or Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (LACHM). However, the setting  for  the maintenance building and Hansen Dam Park was recommended as potentially eligible under National Register criteria (A and C) for its historical and architectural significance as a historic landscape in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area.

The EDAW, Inc. report concluded that the previous Ranger Station/Visitor Center component “would not result in any direct impacts to a historic property or a significant historical resource within the APE.” In addition, “[o]nly one potential eligible resource,  Hansen  Dam  Park, is located within the APE for the proposed project.” However, because the project “has been designed to avoid physical damage or destruction to existing mature trees and would utilize existing parking and roads[...and] Primary land disturbance would occur in existing un- landscaped open space fronting on Kagel Canyon Road and would not significantly alter the characteristics of the surrounding park setting.” The “form and scale of the proposed project would be compatible with other facilities within the Hansen Dam Recreational Area” and there “would be no adverse change to the existing landscape of Hansen Dam Park” (p. vi). Therefore, the Ranger Station project was not expected to “adversely affect or materially alter the contributing features and characteristics of Hansen Dam Park within the boundaries of the APE” and no further consideration under Section 106, CEQA, or LACHM was required for Hansen Dam Park under the Ranger Station project.

Hansen Dam Baseball Fields Literature Review

A review of the records at the South Central Coastal Information Center (SCCIC) at California State University – Fullerton was conducted on May 15, 2012, which included all recorded archaeological sites within a 50-foot radius of the site, as well as a review of cultural resource reports on file (included as Appendix B of this EA). In addition, the California Points of Historical Interest (SPHI), the California Historical Landmarks (SHL), the California Register of Historical Resources (CAL REG), the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the California State Historic Resources Inventory (HRI), and the City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments (LAHCM) listings were reviewed for the site.

No above-ground historic resources have been identified on SCCIC maps within a 50-foot radius of the site, and no aboveground historic resources are located within the site.

No archaeological sites have been identified on SCCIC maps within a 50-foot radius of the site, and no archaeological sites are located within the site. However, the lack or recorded archaeological resources on the SCCIC maps does not preclude the potential for archaeological sites to be identified during project activities. No isolates have been identified within a 50-foot radius of the site.  No isolates are located within the site.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the baseball fields in their existing condition, and no construction or excavation would occur. Given that no excavation would occur at the site, no adverse impacts to archaeological resources that could be present at the site would occur under the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

Construction of the improvements under the Preferred Alternative would necessitate  site grading and excavation which could encounter unknown/unrecorded archaeological resources. Ground-disturbing activities could include shallow excavations such as the installation of fence posts and minor grading, to deeper excavations such as for the restroom  foundation pads, sewer trenches, and maintenance hole/chimney structure. Because there is a potential for the presence of currently unknown archaeological resources at the site that could be encountered during construction, the following environmental commitment would be implemented to prevent damage to such resources.

CR-1:              Any earthmoving that will involve previously undisturbed soil will be monitored  by a qualified archaeologist who meets the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for an archaeologist (see 36 CFR Part 61). Earthmoving includes grubbing and ground clearing, grading, and excavation activities. If a previously unidentified cultural or archaeological resource is encountered, all earthmoving activities in the vicinity of the discovery shall be  diverted until the  Corps  complies  with 36 CFR    Section 800.13(a)(2),    including    evaluation    and    recommendations   by    a    qualified archaeologist.

AESTHETICS

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to aesthetic resources include direct or permanent impacts to the landscape by changing important existing scenic characteristics of a landscape in a manner that permanently and significantly degrades an existing view-shed, or alters the character of a view-shed by adding incompatible structures. Additional considerations for adverse effects to aesthetic resources include the presence of prominent topographic features, proximity to scenic areas, and whether or not excessive light would result from the proposed action.

Baseline

The existing baseball fields are located in the western portion of the Basin, immediately east of a residential neighborhood; no unique topographic features exist at the site. As discussed in the EA prepared for the Hansen Dam Master Plan (September 2011), the visual resources within and around the Basin are moderately natural. The dominant aesthetic features of the Basin include the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, the Verdugo Mountains to the east, and southeast, disturbed, unmanaged vegetation, well maintained lawns and trees, and the Hansen Dam itself.

The existing baseball fields, constructed in 1991, are located in the western portion of the Basin and are in a deteriorated condition. Views of the fields are experienced by the residential community to the west and from individuals within the Basin to the east. Views of the surrounding open space associated with the Dam, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Verdugo Mountains exist from the site. Additionally, within the vicinity of the baseball fields are a handful of mature trees, which do add aesthetic value to the site. No nighttime lighting currently exists at the site.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the existing baseball fields in their current, somewhat deteriorated condition. The aesthetics of the project area would remain completely unchanged (including use of portable restrooms when funds allows), and the existing mature trees at the site would remain. Therefore, no significant adverse aesthetic effects would result from the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would involve the restoration of the existing deteriorated baseball fields. The baseball fields would remain in their current configuration, two new prefabricated restrooms would be erected at the site, and landscaping would be enhanced. With the construction of the new restroom facilities, the portable restrooms would no longer be needed and would be removed, which would result in a positive change in aesthetics (in addition to other positive changes). No nighttime lighting would be introduced at the site as part of the refurbishment of the baseball fields; however, the prefabricated restroom facilities would have minimal security lighting that would be low in illumination and directed downward at the building. Neither the improvements nor the new restroom facilities affect views of, surrounding, or from the site. Additionally, no scenic vistas would be affected by the proposed action. Baseball field improvements would require the removal of three mature trees, two Arizona Ash and one Silk Oak, at the site; however, following field improvements and the construction of the restroom facilities,  additional  landscaping  would  be  done  at  the  site,  and  additional  trees  would be planted. Therefore, while three existing mature trees would be removed from the site, ultimately the restored baseball fields and the enhanced landscaping would result in aesthetic improvements to the site. No significant adverse aesthetic effects would result from the proposed action and no environmental commitments are required.

NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES

Criteria for determining significant, adverse effects to navigable waters of the U.S. include substantial impediments to the navigation or beneficial uses of the water; or activities that degrade water quality.

Baseline

According to the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin Master Plan (September 2011), the existing baseball fields are located in the westernmost portion of the Basin on land designated for “Recreation” purposes. The baseball fields do not contain any waters that constitute navigable waters of the U.S.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the existing baseball fields in their current, somewhat deteriorated condition. The area would remain completely unchanged, and navigable waters of the U.S. would remain unaltered. Therefore, no significant adverse effects to navigable  waters of the U.S. would result from the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would involve the restoration of the existing deteriorated baseball fields. The baseball fields would remain in their current configuration, two new prefabricated restrooms would be erected at the site, and landscaping would be enhanced. No navigable waters of the U.S. are located at the site, and implementation of baseball field improvements would not affect any navigable waters of the U.S. Therefore, no significant adverse effects to navigable waters of the U.S. would result from the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

NOISE

The criteria to evaluate significant adverse effects to ambient noise include an increase of 10 dBA above background levels during the daytime or nighttime increase of 5 dBA. Thus, a perceived daytime doubling of noise levels is considered significant, while a lower threshold is used for nighttime noise analysis to reflect people’s increased sensitivity to nighttime noise impacts.

Baseline

The area of the proposed action is occupied by three existing baseball fields (two Little League fields and one standard field) that are used by Pacoima Little League during daytime hours. Residential uses are located to the north of the fields across Terra Bella Street, and to the west of the standard field. The nearest residences are across Osborne Street and to the east of the standard field. Due to the low intensity of land uses in the area, noise from traffic on nearby streets such as Osborne Avenue and Foothill Boulevard are the primary noise sources.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the existing baseball fields in their current, somewhat deteriorated  condition.     The  area  would  remain  completely  unchanged,   and  the      noise environment would remain unchanged relative to baseline conditions. Therefore, no significant adverse noise impacts would result from the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

Construction of facilities and structures requires the use of equipment, which may generate high noise levels. Stationary and mobile vehicular noise sources associated with the operation of a project may also increase existing noise levels. A significant adverse effect would occur if the proposed action resulted in or exposed people to noise levels in excess of  standards established in the general plan and/or noise ordinance of the municipal code.

Construction of the improvements under the Preferred Alternative would result in temporary higher-than-average noise levels in the immediate area from construction equipment. However, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering Standard Project Specifications for public works construction are designed to comply with the City’s General Plan Noise Element and related Los Angeles Municipal Code Noise Ordinance which sets time restrictions on when construction can occur when sensitive receptors such as residences are located within 500 feet. Given that the Preferred Alternative would be implemented in accordance with the City’s Noise Ordinance significant adverse impacts to noise levels are not expected. The baseball fields would be closed during construction, and the Pacoima Little League would temporarily utilize other existing baseball fields. Park visitors to other nearby locations within the Hansen Dam Recreational Area could occur, and they may be temporarily exposed to noise during construction (particularly during the more active six month construction period and not as much during the passive three month period associated the maintaining the new landscaping). However, these elevated levels of noise would be intermittent, would occur within the hours allowed for in the City’s Noise Ordinance, and are not expected to prevent visitor use of other areas of the recreational area.

Although significant adverse effects from noise are not expected, there are residences located to the west of the standard baseball field. Therefore, to minimize elevated noise levels in close proximity to those residences, the following environmental commitment will be implemented:

NOI-1:             To minimize the effects of construction noise on nearby residences,   construction equipment and materials will be staged at the west end of the standard field or at one of the Little League fields during construction.

IMPACTS TO EXISTING FEDERAL FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT

Baseline

The site is located within a designated flood control basin on federally-owned land, which would subject the proposed action to the requirements of Executive Order 11998 (Floodplain Management). This order requires all federal agencies to take actions to reduce the risk of flood loss, to restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values in floodplains, and to minimize the adverse effects of floods on human safety, health, and welfare. The site is also located within the Project Maximum Flood zone.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would not be improved, so there would be no physical changes relative to baseline conditions that could result in adverse impacts to floodplain management.

Preferred Alternative

Under the Preferred Alternative, grading and excavation would occur on the site. In addition, new features and improvements would be added to the site, including restroom facilities, bleachers, and fencing. These improvements would result in a net increase in flood control volume capacity over current conditions, as shown in Table 1 above (page 13). Because there would be an increase in flood control volume capacity, significant adverse effects to the flood control basin would not occur and no environmental commitments are required.

HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to human health and safety include any existing criteria or established thresholds for human health and safety.

Baseline

The existing baseball fields area located within the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin and adjacent to a residential community. The baseball fields are currently utilized by the Pacoima Little League and the general public. As described under Section 2, Hydrology and Water Quality, the Pacoima Little League places portable restrooms at the baseball fields, when funds allow. If fund availability does not allow for the placement of the portable restrooms at the baseball fields, visitors to the fields could end up violating civility laws (i.e. resorting to outdoor sanitation), which could also have adverse affects on human health and safety in the Basin. Although potentially adverse, these impacts are considered a baseline conditions under NEPA. No unique conditions exist that pose human health and/or safety issues at the baseball fields due to surrounding or historic land uses.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the existing baseball fields in their current condition. In the event of flooding, should the portable restrooms be present, adverse impacts to water quality could occur if the flood conditions cause the portable restrooms to tip or otherwise spill their contents. If fund availability does not allow for the placement of the portable restrooms at the baseball fields, visitors to the fields could end up violating civility laws (i.e. resorting to outdoor sanitation), which could also have adverse affects on human health and safety in the Basin. Although potentially adverse, these impacts to human health and safety are  considered a baseline conditions under NEPA. No unique conditions exist that pose human health and/or safety issues at the baseball fields due to surrounding or historic land uses.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would result in the rehabilitation of the existing baseball fields, the erection of two prefabricated restroom facilities, and enhancements to landscaping.  The baseball field configurations would remain unchanged, and the new restroom facilities would replace existing portable toilets utilized at the site. The Preferred Alternative would represent a potential improvement to human health and safety due to the elimination of the portable restrooms or the elimination of civility law violations. No unique conditions exist that pose human health and/or safety issues at the baseball fields due to surrounding or historic  land uses. Therefore, no significant adverse human health or safety effects would occur under the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

  1. QUANTITY AND DISTRIBUTION OF EMPLOYMENT

 

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to employment include a substantial permanent loss or gain in local employment.

 

Baseline

The existing baseball fields located within the Basin are utilized by the Pacoima Little League and the general public for recreational purposes. A minimal number of people are employed by the Pacoima Little League, as it is predominantly a volunteer organization. The baseball fields provide an employment opportunity for the City.

 

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the existing baseball fields in their current condition; no employment opportunities would be gained or lost under this alternative. Therefore, no significant adverse effects on employment would occur under the No Action Alternative.

 

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would result in the rehabilitation of the existing baseball fields, the erection of two prefabricated restrooms, and enhancements to landscaping.  During construction, some temporary construction employment opportunities would exist. Upon completion of construction, the baseball fields would resume current  operations.  As such, during operation no new employment opportunities would be generated, and the existing maintenance completed by the City would be maintained. Due to the minimal number of short- term employment opportunities during construction and that there would be no employment gains or losses during operation of the Preferred Alternative, no significant adverse effects on employment would result from this alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

ACCESS TO AND QUALITY OF RECREATIONAL AND WILDERNESS ACTIVITIES

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to recreational and wilderness activities include a significant disruption to access of recreational facilities or areas and/or construction or operational activities that substantially conflict with recreational uses.

Baseline

The existing site is located in the western area of the Basin where public recreational facilities are available to and accessible by the public. Although the baseball fields are in a deteriorated condition they are regularly used by Pacoima Little League, as well as the general public. Access to the site is provided by Dronfield Avenue, Terra Bella Street, and Osborne Street.

Recreational activities in the Basin are governed by the Hansen Dam Basin Master Plan (September 2011), which provides guidance for balancing flood risk management requirements, recreation opportunities, and preservation of natural resources for current and future generations. Land use categories listed in the Master Plan include Project Operations, Recreation, Environmentally Sensitive, Multiple Resource Management – Recreation, Multiple Resource Management – Vegetative Management, and Multiple Resource Management – Inactive/Future Recreation. The Pacoima Little League baseball fields are specifically recommended in the Master Plan for inclusion in the Recreation land use category.  In particular, the Master Plan states:

“The Pacoima Little League Fields are in need of rehabilitation. These fields are in poor condition. There is visible trash, vandalism, bent and broken benches, and rusted chain link fencing. There are only portable toilets and "dugouts" are extremely small and in poor condition. This facility should receive grass rejuvenation, new fencing, new dugouts, new signage, and permanent restrooms, preferably with locker rooms. Landscaping should utilize a native plant palette including areas that provide shade cover.”

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the current baseball fields in their existing, deteriorated condition. The site and baseball fields would continue to be accessible to, and utilized by, the Pacoima Little League and the general public. Access would continue to be maintained via Dronfield Avenue, Terra Bella Street, and Osborne Street. Therefore, no significant adverse effects to the accessibility of recreational resources would occur under the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would involve the rehabilitation of the existing baseball fields, the erection of two prefabricated restroom facilities, new fencing, improved parking areas, and enhancements to landscaping. During the construction period, the baseball fields would be closed for public use; however, following the completion of construction, the restored baseball fields would provide improved recreational facilities for use by the Pacoima Little League and the general public.  Once the improvements are completed, not only would the baseball  fields be rehabilitated, but there is the positive benefit that the use of the baseball fields could potentially extend the summer season (June to August). This would essentially represent a continuation of the spring season into the summer season, which could serve an additional 150 Little League members for additional months, with games on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Additionally, the provision of permanent, ADA-compliant restroom facilities would constitute an improvement over the temporary (potable) toilets at the baseball fields that are currently used, as funding allows. Access to the fields would continue to be provided via Dronfield Avenue, Terra Bella Street, and Osborne Street. As such, no significant adverse effects to the accessibility of recreational resources would occur under the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required. In addition, the improvements under the Preferred Alternative are consistent with the Hansen Dam Basin Master Plan.

TRAFFIC

The criteria for significant, adverse effects to this resource include closures to major roadways (arterial or collector classification) without suitable alternative routes; restricting access to or from adjacent land uses without suitable alternative access; increases in roadway wear as a result of heavy truck or equipment movements, resulting in noticeable deterioration of roadway surfaces; decreases in roadway capacity caused by approval/granting of the Proposal; vehicle trips associated with additional commuter and truck trips would result in an unacceptable reduction in level of service of local jurisdictions on roadways in the vicinity of construction or would result in safety problems for vehicular traffic, transit operations, or trains; conflicts with planned transportation improvements in the area; results in safety problems for vehicular traffic, transit operations, or trains; or results in an unacceptable reduction in the level of service standards of local jurisdictions.

Baseline

As discussed above, the Pacoima Little League currently uses the baseball fields in the spring (January to June) and fall (August to November) during daytime hours, with games generally on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The baseball fields are also used for practices and for pick-up games by the general public. The primary roadways serving the site  are  Osborne Street, Foothill Boulevard, and Glenoaks Boulevard. Other local or collector streets serving the site include Dronfield Avenue and Terra Bella Street.

No Action Alternative

Under the No Action Alternative, the baseball fields would not be improved, so there would be no physical changes relative to baseline conditions that could result in adverse traffic impacts due to construction. In addition, under the No Action Alternative, existing baseball field usage would continue and would not result in additional traffic impacts relative to baseline conditions.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative would involve construction of improvements to the baseball fields and possible expansion of use of the baseball fields once the improvements are completed. During construction, the baseball fields would be temporarily closed to the Pacoima Little League and the general public. Construction would require establishing a staging area at the site, delivering materials and equipment, constructing the improvements, and finish work such as landscaping. Construction trips include supply trucks (for asphalt, concrete, and materials) haul trucks (for haul away of small amounts of soil and construction debris), and worker trips.

During construction, approximately 11 truck round trips and 15 worker round trips would occur on a worst-case day. When the truck trips are converted to passenger car equivalents (each truck is assumed to represent 2.5 passenger cars), 40 trips per day would be made to the site during worst-case construction.

The City’s Department of Transportation (LADOT) has established guidelines for the preparation of traffic studies for projects in the City of Los Angeles. These guidelines indicate whether or not a project has the potential to result in significant traffic impacts; and LADOT requires traffic studies to be prepared if:

1)            The project is likely to add 500 or more daily trips or likely to add 43 or more PM peak hour trips and,

2)            The project is likely to significantly impact nearby intersection(s) which are presently believed to be operating at Level of Service (LOS) C, D, E or F.

The guidelines do not apply to construction because construction traffic is  temporary and ceases once the proposed action is completed. Nonetheless, since construction of  the proposed action would not result in greater than 43 trips in the peak hour, significant adverse effects on traffic would not result from construction and no environmental commitments are required.

In addition, installation of the sewer line from the restroom to be located to the west of Dronfield Avenue (near the Little League Field) to its connection east of Dronfield Avenue (near the standard field) would occur using cut-and-cover methods that would necessitate a trench across Dronfield Avenue. Installation of the section across Dronfiled would occur in a staged manner such that one lane of Dronfield Avenue would remain open to through traffic at  all time. Flagmen would be employed to direct  traffic during  construction.   Because Dronfield   Avenue would remain open during construction, significant adverse effects on traffic would not result from construction and no environmental commitments are required.

Once the improvements are completed, there is the potential to extend the use of the baseball fields to the summer season (June to August). This would essentially represent a  continuation of the spring season into the summer season, which could serve an additional 150 Little League members for additional months, with games on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Assuming that each member represents one traffic trip and that the 150 trips would be divided between the 3 days over a given week, there could be 50 trips per day during the summer. Given that the increased trips during the summer season would be spread across daytime hours, it is not likely that trips during AM or PM peak hours would exceed the 43 trips established by the LADOT. In addition, although an expansion of use could occur (i.e., expansion of length of time of baseball season for Pacoima Little League and their use of the site), there would remain only the existing three baseball fields; therefore, the daily use would remain similar to the baseline conditions. As a consequence, operation of the Preferred Alternative is not expected to result in a significant adverse effect on traffic from operation and no environmental commitments are required.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Criteria for significant, adverse effects to environmental justice include impacts to a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, prices, or jobs; impacts on the welfare of minority or low- income populations (in accordance with Executive Order 12898); changes on the availability  of a public service; detriments to fiscal and physical ability of the local governmental agencies to meet the needs of the public following the project-related changes in the local population; a substantial long-term decrease in local employment due to direct loss of jobs or an adverse effect on the local economy that results in an indirect long-term loss of jobs; creates an unacceptable spike in demand for temporary housing caused by construction needs that displace or prevent normal users from being able to obtain temporary housing in the area; or causes disproportionately high and adverse impacts on minorities, low-income residents, or children.

Baseline

The site is located in the western portion of the Basin. Immediately west of the baseball fields is a residential neighborhood. Additionally, residential communities are located north, northwest, southwest, and south of the baseball fields and Basin. The baseball fields are currently utilized by the Pacoima Little League, as well as the general public. Employment generated by the baseball fields is minimal; landscaping and field upkeep is done by the City. The site is within Census Tract 9800.21, and several Census Tracts are located immediately adjacent to the Basin. Tables 11 and 12 below summarize demographic characteristics (ethnicity and income) of the Census Tracts surrounding the portion of the Basin where the site is located.

Table 11 - Demographic Characteristics Adjacent to Baseball Fields (2010 Census) – Ethnicity

 

Tract 1041.03

Tract 1041.08

Tract 1041.24

Tract 1047.03

Tract 1047.04

Tract 1211.02

Tract 9800.21

Summary

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Total Population

4,085

100%

5,256

100%

4,175

100%

2,397

100%

4,218

100%

2,721

100%

33

100%

22,885

100%

One Race

3,914

95.8%

4,978

94.7%

4,016

96.2%

2,295

95.7%

4,076

96.6%

2,642

97.1%

30

90.9%

21,951

95.9%

White

1,538

37.6%

2,003

38.1%

2,198

52.6%

1,152

48.1%

1,731

41.0%

1,710

62.8%

21

63.6%

10,353

45.2%

Black or African American

 

527

 

12.9%

 

623

 

11.9%

 

593

 

14.2%

 

55

 

2.3%

 

584

 

13.8%

 

26

 

1.0%

 

-

 

0.0%

 

2,408

 

10.5%

American Indian and Alaska Native

 

10

 

0.2%

 

63

 

1.2%

 

41

 

1.0%

 

22

 

0.9%

 

28

 

0.7%

 

18

 

0.7%

 

-

 

0.0%

 

182

 

0.8%

Asian

292

7.1%

168

3.2%

231

5.5%

6

0.3%

146

3.5%

154

5.7%

9

27.3%

1,006

4.4%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

 

 

1

 

 

0.0%

 

 

-

 

 

0.0%

 

 

8

 

 

0.2%

 

 

-

 

 

0.0%

 

 

18

 

 

0.4%

 

 

4

 

 

0.1%

 

 

-

 

 

0.0%

 

 

31

 

 

0.1%

Some Other Race

1,546

37.8%

2,103

40.0%

945

22.6%

1,060

44.2%

1,569

37.2%

730

26.8%

-

0.0%

7,953

34.8%

Two or More Races

171

4.2%

278

5.3%

159

3.8%

102

4.3%

143

3.4%

79

2.9%

3

9.1%

935

4.1%

Hispanic or Latino

2,918

71.4%

4,169

79.3%

2,122

50.8%

2,264

94.5%

3,238

76.8%

1,574

57.8%

2

6.1%

16,287

71.2%

Table 12 - Demographic Characteristics Adjacent to Baseball Fields (2010 Census) – Income

 

Tract 1041.03

Tract 1041.08

Tract 1041.24

Tract 1047.03

Tract 1047.04

Tract 1211.02

Summary

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Total Households

750

100%

1,306

100%

1,167

100%

528

100%

1,075

100%

832

100%

5,658

100%

Less than $10,000

7

0.9%

101

7.7%

45

3.9%

18

3.4%

30

2.8%

44

5.3%

245

4.3%

$10,000 to $14,999

9

1.2%

166

12.7%

9

0.8%

30

5.7%

75

7.0%

18

2.2%

307

5.4%

$15,000 to $24,999

35

4.7%

72

5.5%

130

11.1%

101

19.1%

129

12.0%

120

14.4%

587

10.4%

$25,000 to $34,999

53

7.1%

160

12.3%

85

7.3%

54

10.2%

180

16.7%

117

14.1%

649

11.5%

$35,000 to $49,999

45

6.0%

221

16.9%

139

11.9%

89

16.9%

155

14.4%

96

11.5%

745

13.2%

$50,000 to $74,999

198

26.4%

342

26.2%

173

14.8%

113

21.4%

226

21.0%

191

23.0%

1,243

22.0%

$75,000 to $99,999

49

6.5%

130

10.0%

252

21.6%

79

15.0%

143

13.3%

32

3.8%

685

12.1%

$100,000 to $149,999

285

38.0%

82

6.3%

280

24.0%

44

8.3%

111

10.3%

145

17.4%

947

16.7%

$150,000 to $199,999

61

8.1%

7

0.5%

43

3.7%

-

0.0%

5

0.5%

47

5.6%

163

2.9%

$200,000 or more

8

1.1%

25

1.9%

11

0.9%

-

0.0%

21

2.0%

22

2.6%

87

1.5%

Median household income

 

$88,167

 

N/A

 

$40,893

 

N/A

 

$75,179

 

N/A

 

$45,167

 

N/A

 

$47,099

 

N/A

 

$54,310

 

N/A

 

$57,643

 

N/A

Mean household income

$90,975

N/A

$51,053

N/A

$74,546

N/A

$49,148

N/A

$55,819

N/A

$67,701

N/A

$66,461

N/A

As shown in Table 11 above, the ethnic distribution within the vicinity of the western portion of the Basin is 45.2 percent White, 10.5 percent Black or African American, 0.8 percent American Indian and Alaskan Native, 4.4 percent Asian, 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 34.8 percent Some Other Race, 4.1, percent Two or More Races, and of the population, 71.2 percent consider themselves Hispanic or Latino.

As shown in Table 12 above, the median household income for the six Census Tracts on the western side of the Basin is $57,643, and the mean household income is $66,461. The Federal poverty line, for a family of four, is just over $22,000. Based on the estimates in Table 12, a total of 20.1 percent of the households within the six Census Tracts neighboring the area earn less than $25,000 annually.

Currently, all populations, regardless of ethnicity or income, have access to the baseball fields.

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative would maintain the baseball fields in their current, deteriorated condition. The baseball fields would continue to be utilized by the Pacoima Little League and the general public. Because no changes would occur, no minority or low-income populations would be disproportionately affected by this alternative, no jobs would be lost, and no housing would be displaced; therefore, no environmental justice effects would result from the No Action Alternative.

Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative involves the rehabilitation of the existing baseball fields utilized by the Pacoima Little League and the general public. The demographics of  the  population living closest to these recreational facilities, characterized in Tables 11 and 12 above, is compared to the demographics of the overall Los Angeles County population in Tables 13 and 14 below. As shown in Table 13, the Census Tracts in the immediate vicinity of the baseball fields consist of few Whites and Asian populations, more Black or African Americas, Some Other Race and Hispanic or Latino populations, and comparable American Indian and Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations. As far as income and the percentage of the population at or below the poverty line, in Los Angeles County, an estimated 24 percent of the population makes less than $25,000, while in the project area an estimated 20.1 percent of the population makes less than $25,000, as shown in Table 14 below.

Table 13 - Demographics Comparison (2010 Census) – Ethnicity

 

Los Angeles County

Total Near Project

#

%

#

%

Total Population

9,818,605

100.0%

22,885

100.0%

One Race

9,379,892

95.5%

21,951

95.9%

White

4,936,599

50.3%

10,353

45.2%

Black or African American

856,874

8.7%

2,408

10.5%

American Indian and Alaska Native

72,828

0.7%

182

0.8%

Asian

1,346,865

13.7%

1,006

4.4%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

26,094

0.3%

31

0.1%

Some Other Race

2,140,632

21.8%

7,953

34.8%

Two or More Races

438,713

4.5%

935

4.1%

Hispanic or Latino

4,687,889

47.7%

16,287

71.2%

Table 14 - Demographics Comparison (2010 Census) – Income

 

Los Angeles County

Total Near Project

#

%

#

%

Total Households

3,202,353

100.0%

5,658

100.0%

Less than $10,000

217,877

6.8%

245

4.3%

$10,000 to $14,999

195,876

6.1%

307

5.4%

$15,000 to $24,999

356,831

11.1%

587

10.4%

$25,000 to $34,999

310,049

9.7%

649

11.5%

$35,000 to $49,999

432,541

13.5%

745

13.2%

$50,000 to $74,999

558,675

17.4%

1,243

22.0%

$75,000 to $99,999

374,274

11.7%

685

12.1%

$100,000 to $149,999

409,932

12.8%

947

16.7%

$150,000 to $199,999

170,487

5.3%

163

2.9%

$200,000 or more

175,811

5.5%

87

1.5%

Median household income

$           52,684

N/A

$       57,643

N/A

Mean household income

$           75,982

N/A

$       66,461

N/A

Following the completion of construction, the improved baseball fields will resume being available for use by the Pacoima Little League and the general public. During construction, temporary construction-related jobs may be generated by the proposed action. Following the completion of construction, no new jobs will be generated. However, no jobs will be displaced by the proposed action. Additionally, no housing would be temporary or permanently lost by the project. While the area population does consist of a higher percentage of minority (Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino) populations and does consist of 20 percent of households at or below the poverty line, the populations surrounding the site would not be permanently, negatively affected by the proposed action; rather, project implementation would result in enhancements and improvements to this existing recreational facility  and would provide recreational amenities to members of the Pacoima Little League, many of which are considered disadvantaged. As such, no minority or low-income populations would be disproportionately affected by this alternative, no jobs would be lost, and no housing would be displaced; therefore, no significant adverse impacts to environmental justice populations would result from the Preferred Alternative and no environmental commitments are required.

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS

Cumulative impacts of a proposed action must be assessed according to CEQ regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508). A cumulative impact is an “impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions” (40 CFR Section 1508.7). Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant, actions taking place over time (40 CFR Section 1508.7). CEQ’s guidance for considering cumulative effects states that NEPA documents “should compare the cumulative effects of multiple actions with appropriate national, regional, state, or community goals to determine whether the total effect is significant” (CEQ 1997).

Cumulative impacts are evaluated in the context of the Hansen Dam Basin Master Plan, which provides the frameworks for all improvements in the Basin.

  • PAST CONDITIONS

The Basin was constructed in the San Fernando Valley, an area of continually increasing urbanization that has significantly altered the natural environment.  The communities surrounding the Basin have become densely urbanized over the past century, marked by extensive automobile traffic, highly developed industrial and residential areas, numerous noise sources, and dense population. The construction of Hansen Dam and development within the Basin has also contributed to cumulative environmental impacts to the area. Following construction of the Basin, ongoing operation and maintenance of the Basin and its recreation amenities has continued to impact environmental conditions. As a result, the Tujunga Washes and floodplains have become highly altered, and along with surrounding urbanization, contributed to the overall physical alteration of the San Fernando Valley.

Cumulative impacts of development within and around the Basin have adversely affected water quality and quantity, air quality, noise levels, biological resources, recreation opportunities, esthetics, and social and environmental sustainability. Dense urbanization has adversely affected the presence of culturally valuable resources, as well as the native fish, wildlife and vegetative habitats that were historically present in the Basin. Development both within and around the Basin has increased the possibility for introduction of pollutants, toxic materials, wastes, and non-native plant and animal species to the Basin. The overall quality of the natural environment at the Basin has diminished significantly since industrialization and urbanization of Los Angeles County.

The construction of Hansen Dam in 1940 necessitated clearing the land that is now the Dam embankment and spillway. In contrast to the land surrounding the Basin, which has undergone an intense urbanization process, the native plant communities and wildlife habitats have re- established and the Basin is now an increasingly rare piece of naturalized open space in a highly urbanized region. In comparison with the surrounding area, sources of noise and air pollution within the Basin have remained fewer and of lower intensity, natural habitats have matured since construction of the Dam, and traffic within the Basin is much less than the surrounding area. The Basin’s aesthetic value is higher due to its natural character and environmental quality that has evolved over time while urbanization outside the Basin has destroyed much of the natural environment. The Basin offers a retreat from densely urbanized surroundings and provides the community a place to enjoy nature and recreate safely.

Though the creation of the Basin initially contributed to cumulative adverse impacts on the natural and human environment of the San Fernando Valley, over time, it has  become a valuable community resource, with natural habitats and much needed open space. As environmental conditions around the Basin have continued to worsen, the Basin has begun to provide benefits that temper urbanization, including increasing the availability of diverse public recreational opportunities.

  • PRESENT CONDITIONS

By tailoring management of the Basin to its current conditions and needs, the approval of the updated Master Plan would continue to temper some of the effects of urbanization and may improve some of them to a small degree. The approved and updated Master Plan, which is hereby incorporated by reference, provides a review of current conditions within the Basin, and allows the Corps and the City to manage the Basin in a way that fosters sustainability. The existing baseball fields are deteriorated and are specifically discussed and identified in the Master Plan as in need of rehabilitation.

  • FUTURE CONDITIONS

The updated Master Plan is intended to provide the baseline for future, sustainable management of the Basin. The updated Master Plan has resulted in the reclassification of several hundred acres of land within the Basin, but has not resulted in the construction of additional recreation amenities, roadways, structures, or utilities. The  updated  Master Plan does not advocate unnecessary development or development of natural areas.

As the updated Master Plan does not contain recommendations for specific projects to be constructed or implemented, there are no potential future impacts to assess in combination with impacts of other ongoing or future projects in the nearby vicinity.

The proposed land use classification plan prescribes a set of land uses that is intended to protect the natural and human environments for future generations. The land use classification plan set forth in the updated Master Plan reduced high intensity land uses (Recreation) from nearly 500 acres to 229.9 acres. MRM – Inactive and/or Future Recreation acreage has been reduced from 460 acres to 78.5 acres. Reclassification of these lands would not result in immediate changes to land management. Changing the designation of high intensity recreation (Recreation) to low density recreation (MRM – Recreation – Low Density) will not necessarily alter the current activities taking place on that land. However, in the future, the potential development on MRM – Recreation – Low Density lands will be limited to recreation activities that have the least impact on Basin resources.

Many of those previous recreation use acres within the Basin will be reallocated to classifications that protect the environment to the greatest extent possible. The total area of Environmentally Sensitive land has increased from 480 acres to 721.2 acres. Environmentally Sensitive land has the greatest use restrictions and protection of resources. Establishment of protected habitats within the Basin may not cumulatively improve the condition of biological resources of the region, as the area is small in size and fragmented from larger natural habitats. However, it will not contribute to cumulative adverse impacts to the region’s biological resources.

By continuing to restrict the potential for development in the Basin, the updated Master Plan contributes to reducing the overall cumulative adverse impacts of the continually developing areas surrounding the Basin into the future. Retaining the area as both a relatively naturalized open space area and recreation oasis will continue to mitigate the impacts of increasing traffic, noise, air and light pollution, loss of natural habitats and open space, to minority populations that may grow within the surrounding community, and the crowding associated with greater infill of surrounding urban areas over time.

The Preferred Alternative is consistent with the updated Master Plan and therefore would not make a cumulatively considerable contribution to a significant cumulative impact.

SUMMARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENTS OF THE PREFERRED ALTERNTIVE

The Preferred Alternative includes the following environmental commitments to avoid or minimize potential significant adverse effect. 

AIR QUALITY

AQ-1:              Diesel particulate filters (DPF) that reduce particulate matter emissions by 85 percent would be installed on all heavy diesel equipment.

AQ-2:              Chemical  soil  stabilizers  would  be  used  on  inactive  construction  areas   with disturbed soil that have not been used initially for at least 4 consecutive days to mitigate at least 30 percent of fugitive dust emissions. Polymer or synthetic products are preferred because they are environmentally safe and will not contribute to adverse effects in other resource areas. Example soil stabilizers include products developed by Soilworks or G.M. Boston Company International. Most soil stabilizers are applied by simply spraying on the area in which fugitive dust emissions need to be controlled, similar to watering a lawn, or via water truck.

BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES

BR-1:               Construction activities that involve tree removal or trimming would be timed as much as possible to occur outside the migratory bird nesting season, which occurs generally from March 1 through August 31, and as early as February 1 for raptors.

BR-2:               If construction must occur during the migratory bird nesting season that would remove or disturb suitable nesting habitat, two biological surveys would be conducted, one 15 days and a second 72 hours prior to construction, or if observed during construction activities. The surveys  would  indicate the presence or absence of any protected native birds in the habitat to be removed and any other habitat within 300 feet of the construction work area.  If  a protected native bird is found, surveys would be continued in order to locate any nests. If an active nest is found, construction within 300 feet of the nest (500 feet for raptor nests) would be postponed until the nest is vacated and juveniles have fledged (minimum of six weeks after egg-laying), and there is no evidence of a second attempt at nesting.

CULTURAL RESOURCES

CR-1:              Any earthmoving that will involve previously undisturbed soil will be monitored  by a qualified archaeologist who meets the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for an archaeologist (see 36 CFR Part 61). Earthmoving includes grubbing and ground clearing, grading, and excavation activities. If a previously unidentified cultural or archaeological resource is encountered, all earthmoving activities in the  vicinity of the discovery shall be diverted until the Corps complies with 36 CFR Section 800.13(a)(2), including evaluation and recommendations by a qualified archaeologist.

NOISE

NOI-1:             To minimize the effects of construction noise on nearby residences,   construction equipment and materials will be staged at the west end of the standard field or at one of the Little League fields during construction.

 AGENCY COORDINATION

A public notice of the proposed action was made available September 21, 2012  through October 20, 2012.  Comments received will be evaluated.

 RESPONSE TO COMMENTS

Applicable Environmental Laws and Compliance

The EA was prepared to comply with the requirements of the laws and regulations discussed below:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 United States Code [USC] 4321 et seq.)

Under NEPA, a Federal agency must prepare an EA describing the environmental effects of any proposed action having a significant impact on the environment. The EA identifies measures necessary to avoid or minimize adverse impacts resulting from the proposed action  or determine if further analysis is required and prepare an EIS. This EA was prepared to comply with the Act.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 USC 661)

 The proposed action considered in this EA does not involve impoundment, diversion, or other modification to bodies of water.  A Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report is not required.

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA), as amended (16 USC 1531 et seq.)

The Corps determined on September 17, 2012, that the proposed action will not impact any listed species.  Consultation was not required.  The proposed action complies with the ESA. 

  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 USC 715- 715s)

The MBTA prohibits the taking or harming of any migratory bird, its eggs, nests, or young without an appropriate Federal permit. Almost all native birds are covered by this Act. A “migratory bird” includes the living bird, any parts of the bird, its nests, or eggs. The take of all migratory birds is governed by the MBTA’s regulation of taking migratory birds for educational, scientific, and recreational purposes and requiring harvest to be limited to levels that prevent over-utilization. Section 704 of the MBTA states that the Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed to determine if, and by what means, the take of migratory birds should be allowed and to adopt suitable regulations permitting and governing take. Disturbance of the nest of a migratory bird requires a permit issued by the USFWS pursuant to Title 50 of  the  CFR. Although the proposed action is not anticipated to result in the harming of any migratory bird, its eggs, nests, or young with appropriate Federal permit, environmental commitments have been included to avoid significant adverse effect on MBTA birds; therefore, the proposed action complies with the Act.

  • Clean Water Act (33 USC 1251 et seq.)

The proposed action is limited to an approval for use/occupation of Federal land within the Basin that will be conditioned upon the City complying with all  required permitting requirements; therefore, Section 401 certification and acquisition of a Section 402 permit by the Corps is not required.

For Corps actions, the Corps does not issue permits, but demonstrates compliance, or “equivalency,” with Section 404 through a Section 404(b)(1) analysis. In addition, the requirements and conditions of nationwide permits and regional permits may be applied for Corps actions and thus considered when addressing compliance with Section 404. All other entities must obtain a Section 404 permit from the Corps before undertaking any discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters of the United States, unless determined to be exempt from this regulation.

  • Clean Air Act (CAA) (42 USC 7401 et seq.)

1970 Amendments to the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 USC 7401 et seq.) enacted legislation to control seven toxic air pollutants. EPA adopted National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), which has been designed to control Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) emissions to prevent adverse health effects in humans.

1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act determine the attainment and maintenance of NAAQS (Title I), motor vehicles and reformulation (Title II), hazardous air pollutant (Title III), acid deposition (Title IV), operating permits (Titles V), stratospheric ozone protection (Title VI), and enforcement (Title VII). The proposed action would be required to comply with rules and regulations used to regulate sources of air pollution; therefore, the alternatives would be consistent with this Act. In addition, environmental commitments have been added to reduce emissions during construction to below localized significance thresholds levels.

  • National Historic Preservation Act (16 US. 460b, 470l-470n)

Since the proposed action is limited to the existing Pacoima Little League baseball fields within the Basin, the Corps has determined that the proposed action will have no effect on historic properties. In addition, an environmental commitment has been added in the unlikely event that archaeological resources are encountered during construction. As such, the proposed action is in compliance with Section 106 of the Act and its implementing regulations (36 CFR Part 800).

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (42 USC 9601 et seq.)

As there are no known hazardous waste sites within the Basin, this Act is not applicable to this proposed action.

  • Noise Control Act of 1972, as amended (42 USC 4901 et seq.)

Noise generated by any activity, which may affect human health or welfare on Federal, state, county, local, or private lands must comply with noise limits specified in the Noise Control Act. The proposed action would not result in impacts to noise and is therefore cconsistent with this act.

  • Archeological Resources Protection Act, as amended

The Archeological Resources Protection Act requires that when cultural resources may be impacted when working on Federal lands or there is another Federal connection. The Act allows for the preservation of historical and archeological data (including relics and specimens) which might otherwise be irreparably lost or destroyed. Although no cultural resources are expected to be impacted, the proposed action includes an environmental commitment to avoid significant adverse effect on unknown archeological resources; therefore, the proposed action complies with the Act.

  • Executive Order 11988: Floodplain Management

Signed May 24, 1977, this order requires that government agencies, in carrying out their responsibilities, provide leadership and take action to restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values served by floodplains. Before proposing, conducting, supporting or allowing an action in the floodplain, each agency is to determine if planned activities will affect the floodplain and evaluate the potential effects of the intended action on its functions. In addition, agencies shall avoid locating development in a floodplain to avoid adverse effects in the floodplains. As shown in Table 1, the Preferred Alternative (proposed action) would have a decrease in filled space resulting in a net increase in flood control volume capacity, which is considered beneficial from a flood control standpoint.

  • Executive Order 11990: Protection of Wetlands

Federal agencies shall take action to minimize the destruction, loss, or degradation of wetlands, and to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands in carrying out the agencies responsibilities. The baseball fields have existed at this site since 1991 on land classified as Recreation in the Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin Master Plan; no wetlands exist within the vicinity of the baseball fields. Therefore, this Act is not applicable to this proposed action.

  • Executive Order 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards

Federal agencies are responsible for ensuring that all necessary actions are taken for the prevention, control, and abatement of environmental pollution with respect to Federal facilities and activities under control of the agency. Enactment of environmental commitments to minimize pollution impacts during implementation would meet the standards of this Executive Order. The proposed action includes environmental commitments to avoid significant adverse effects, including environmental pollution; therefore, the proposed action complies with the Act.

  • Executive Order 12898, Environmental Justice Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, February 11, 1994

Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low- Income Populations) was signed on February 11, 1994. This order was intended to direct Federal agencies “To make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing ... disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the [U.S.] ...” To comply with the Executive Order, minority and poverty status in the vicinity of the project was examined to determine if any minority or low-income communities would potentially be disproportionately affected by implementation of the proposed action. This EA includes an environmental justice analysis that determined no minority or low-income populations would be disproportionately affected by the proposed action, no jobs would be lost, and no housing would be displaced; therefore, no significant adverse impacts to environmental justice populations would result from the Preferred Alternative and the proposed action is in compliance with the requirements and policies pertaining to environment justice.

REFERENCES

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CARB. 2012b. iADAM: Air Quality Data Statistics. June. Accessed on: June 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/adam/index.html

California Department of Conservation. 1998. Seismic Hazard Evaluation of the USGS 7.5- Minute Series Topographic Map, San Fernando Quadrangle. Open File Report 98-06. Division of Mines and Geology, Sacramento, CA.

California Department of Fish and Game. 2012. California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB). Available at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata/cnddb/. Accessed May 17, 2012.

Children’s Museum of Los Angeles. 2005. Cultural Resources Assessment of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles Hansen Dam Site. July 2005

Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). 2010. Draft NEPA Guidance on Consideration of the Effects of Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. February 18.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 1996. Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group I to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, Great Britain: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works. 2000. Final Mitigated Negative Declaration: Los Angeles Children’s Museum Hansen Dam Site. May 19, 2000. Prepared by Impact Sciences, 30343 Canwood Street, Suite 210, Agoura Hills, CA 91301.

City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works. 2005.Archaeological and  Historic Architectural Resources Evaluation for the Hansen Dam Phase II Ranger Station and Trail Improvements Project. June 2005.

City of Los Angeles City, Department of Public Works. 2008. Environmental Assessment/Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study for the Hansen Dam Phase II Ranger Station and Trail Improvements. June 26, 2008.

City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 2002. Final Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact: Hansen Dam Soccer Complex. November 2002. City Hall, 200 North Main Street, Room 709, CHE, Los Angeles, CA 90012 and USACE Los Angeles District, 911 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Prepared with the assistance of The Planning Center, 1580 Metro Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks. 2009. Proposal for the Hansen Dam Baseball Fields project. July 10, 2009.

City of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation. 2002. Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Traffic Study Policies and Procedures. Revised March 2002.

G.M. Boston Company International. n.d. PX300 for Dust and Erosion Control Homepage. Available online at: http://www.gmbostoncompany.com/Dust%20and%20Erosion%20conrol.htm.  Accessed on: July 9, 2012.

Los  Angeles  County  Department  of  Regional  Planning  Website.  Accessed  June  4,  2012. Available at: http://planning.lacounty.gov/view/tujunga_canyon_hansen_dam_sea/.

Los Angeles Times. 2007. Rare birds living on the edge at Hansen Dam park. May 21, 2007. San  Fernando  Valley  Audubon  Society  Website.  Accessed  June  4,  2012.  Available      at: http://www.sfvaudubon.org/birding-spots/

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). 1993. CEQA Air Quality Handbook. April (with Errata May 1993).

SCAQMD.  2007.  Mitigation  Measure  Examples:  Fugitive  Dust  from  Storage  Piles.     April. Accessed on: June 29, 2012. Available at: http://www.aqmd.gov/ceqa/handbook/mitigation/fugitive/MM_fugitive.html

SCAQMD. 2008a. Draft Guidance Document – Interim CEQA Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Significance Threshold. October.

SCAQMD. 2008b. Final Localized Significance Threshold Methodology. July.

SCAQMD. 2009. 2006-2008 Mass Rate Localized Significance Threshold Lookup Table. October 21. Accessed on: June 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.aqmd.gov/ceqa/handbook/lst/appC.pdf.

Soilworks.        n.d.        Product        Information        Homepage.        Available        online        at: http://www.soilworks.com/product-information.aspx. Accessed on: July 9, 2012.

United States Army Corps of Engineers. 1968. Lease No. DCAW09-1-69-45. April 25, 1968. United States Army Corps of Engineers. 2002. Lease No. DCAW09-1-69-45 – Supplemental Agreement No. 3. September 24, 2002.

United States Army Corps of Engineers. Hansen Dam Flood Control Basin Master Plan, September 2011.

United States Census Bureau. www.factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml, Accessed May 31, 2012.

Western Governors’ Association. 2006. WRAP Fugitive Dust Handbook. Prepared by Countess Environmental. Available online at: http://www.wrapair.org/forums/dejf/fdh/content/FDHandbook_Rev_06.pdf. Accessed on: July 9, 2012.

 LIST OF PREPARERS AND REVIEWERS

This EA was prepared for:

United States Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District

915 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90017

Terri Kaplan

Chief, Asset Management Division

City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering

Environmental Management Group 1149 South Broadway, Suite 600 Los Angeles, CA 90015

Jim Doty, Manager

Maria Martin, Environmental Supervisor

This EA was prepared by:

CDM Smith Inc.

523 West 6th Street, Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dorothy Meyer, Project Manager/Planner Nicole Cobleigh, Planner

Louis Utsumi, EnviCraft

This EA was reviewed by:

United States Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District

915 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90017

Phyllis Trabold, Outdoor Recreation Planner Carvel Bass, Ecologist

John Killeen, Senior Archaeologist

City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering

1149 South Broadway, Suite 860 Los Angeles, CA 90015

Gary Lam, Project Engineer City of Los Angeles

Department of Recreation and Parks 221 N. Figueroa Street, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90012

David Attaway, Environmental Supervisor

RECOMMENDATION: Because no outstanding significant adverse impacts have been identified with respect to the proposed action, the Corps recommends the preparation  of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this proposal.

Conclusion:

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