Wednesday, 12 June 2024

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY | PROPOSED BIG VALLEY RANCHERIA COMMERCIAL CENTER PROJECT EA AND FONSI

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY | PROPOSED BIG VALLEY RANCHERIA COMMERCIAL CENTER PROJECT  EA AND FONSI 

Notice is hereby given that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Pacific Regional Office, has  received an Environmental Assessment (EA), dated August 2022, to comply with the National  Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended [Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title  40, Section 1500); Department of the Interior (DOI) NEPA regulations (43 CFR Part 46); and the  United States DOI, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 59 IAM 3-H NEPA Guidebook Instructions. 

The EA analyzes the potential effects of a proposal by the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of  the Big Valley Rancheria ("BVR" or the "Tribe") to develop a commercial center (the "Project" or  "Commercial Center") that will lease operating space to tribally owned businesses and other third party retail entities. The anticipated cost of the Project is $18 million.  

The Project will be located on approximately 14 acres of raw land at 1135 Soda Bay Road in  Lakeport, California, on BVR Tribal land. Approximately 5 acres of the BVR land will be  developed with the commercial center and associated parking/driveways, and approximately 1.6  acres will be solar panels.

The regional location, general location, proposed Site, and Site  Drawings can be seen in Figures 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, and 1-4. The BVR land is designated for the  exclusive use of and governance by the Tribe. It is located in Lake County in Northern California,  is adjacent to the small community of Lakeport, California, and sits on the southern waterfront of  Clear Lake.

Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in California, with 68 square miles of  surface area. The Tribe has the highest quality marina on Clear Lake and has historically hosted up to 25 televised ESPN bass fishing tournaments annually. The location is also located near water  infrastructure needed for Project development.  

With the favorable location near Clear Lake on one of the most frequented thoroughfares in Lake  County, CA, the Project location has been strategically chosen to capitalize on its proximity to  local and tourist traffic.

The Tribe is seeking to improve local accessibility to needed services and  to further encourage additional business growth, creating new jobs by developing this modern,  environmentally friendly (with solar systems and a storm water basin), and well-equipped  commercial center.

Excluding jobs created by construction, it is anticipated the commercial center  will create 20 to 30 permanent full- and part-time jobs.  

In addition to the positive community impacts, the Project's need is directly related to increasing  the recovery and resilience of the Tribe's local economy. Lake County was designated as a disaster  area in 2017 by three separate Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Major Disaster  Declarations: California Wildfires (DR-4344), California Severe Winter Storms, Flooding,  Mudslides (DR-4308), and California Severe Winter Storms, Flooding, and Mudslides (DR-4301).  These natural disasters suppressed tourism, which had a significant negative impact on the local  economy, evidenced by a rise in unemployment claims.

The Tribe's goal is to build economic  resilience through the new commercial center by providing jobs that capitalize on tourism but are  sustainable in the event of future natural disasters. The design of the Project includes a solar  capable micro-grid, which will allow the tenants to operate during power outages or other disasters. 

The local utility company has implemented frequent power outages to avoid fire hazards during  fire season, which has negatively impacted commercial activity in the surrounding areas.

Based on the analysis and impacts in the EA, any input received during this public review period,  and the entire administrative record, the BIA will decide whether to reach a Finding of No  Significance Impact (FONSI), direct further work on the EA, or initiate the preparation of an  Environmental Impact Statement. A draft, unsigned FONSI has been prepared and is available for  review along with the EA.  

The EA and unsigned FONSI are available for review as of March 3, 2023 on the Big Valley  Rancheria Website: https: www.bvrancheria.com/economic-development. No further action  will be taken on the environmental process for at least 30 days after the publication of this notice. 

For more information, please contact Eddie Dominguez, Environmental Protection Specialist,  Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central California Agency, 650 Capitol Mall Suite 8-500, telephone  (916) 517-6340. Written comments should be emailed to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Superintendent.

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