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Army Corps of Engineers amends Willits Bypass Project permit regulations

WILLITS- The Army Corps of Engineers met with Caltrans on Wednesday, after suspending the permit for the Willits Bypass Project last month. At the meeting, updated requirements for the permit were discussed.  

The Army Corps of Engineers submitted a letter to Caltrans on Tuesday, amending the 2012 permit, which outlines three conditions for lifting the suspension. Caltrans must complete preparation work on its mitigation properties in the area, and provide full documentation of the first four contracts being issued for seed collection and plant propagation.  Officials say those requirements will be met by the end of July. However, the last condition, of providing a plan for reducing impacts to wetlands, or adding a new mitigation plan, cannot be met for at least six months. Officials say this delay would hurt the environment.

"Any long delay in this project will cause additional impacts to streams and to fish and to water quality, because every season that we're out there, there's just more soil disturbances, which could potentially cause issues," said Phil Frisbie, Jr., the Public Information Officer for Caltrans, District 1.

At the meeting on Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers informed Caltrans they will make a decision on Thursday to either lift the suspension or keep it in effect.  First, the Army Corps of Engineers will review a formal letter, written by Caltrans, detailing what was discussed at Wednesday's meeting.