Padre prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), on behalf of the County of Ventura for the proposed Major Modification to the Conditional Use Permit for the Agromin Composting and Soil Amendment Facility (Project) located off Arnold Road, in the unincorporated area of Ventura County. The Project would allow for continued use of the facility until March 2019, an increase in the volume of feedstock and compost that can be present on the Project site from 10,000 cubic yards to 17,500 cubic yards, and the installation of various facility improvements. The proposed facility improvements include: SmartFerm dry anaerobic digestion system; 30-foot high mesh screen on the eastern boundary; fire access and hydrants; and three retention basins.
The County of Ventura Planning Division prepared an lnitial Study which revealed that the project has the potential to create a significant impact to endangered, threatened, or rare species; therefore, an ElR was determined to be the appropriate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance document. The EIR focuses on biological resource issues, primarily the attraction of predatory birds by food material and resulting impacts on the nearby nesting population of western snowy plover, California least tern, light-footed clapper rail and Belding’s savannah sparrow.
Padre developed a multi-faceted, Integrated Predatory Bird Management Plan to minimize the attraction of predatory birds to the Agromin Facility and resulting impacts to listed bird species. The Plan included bird deterrence features (mylar flagging, flight diverters, air dancers, spike stripping, effigies), a hazing dog program, a full-time falconry program, lethal control, and monitoring and adaptive management plan.
In mid-2018, the applicant proposed substantial project modifications prompted by expiration of the permit authorization for a research food material composting operation. These modifications focused on replacing the proposed dry anaerobic digestion system with a Bio-Drum aerobic composting system and extending the permit termination date to December 31, 2020. In response to these modifications, the Draft EIR was revised and recirculated for public comment. A Final EIR was prepared in April 2019 and is anticipated to be approved by the Board of Supervisors in May 2019.