News: Corps clarifies intent of draft environmental assessment
Story by Michelle Helms
PORTLAND, Ore. - Based on early feedback on a recent public notice regarding a draft environmental assessment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is clarifying a portion of the document.
The purpose of the draft environmental assessment is to identify three locations that may be used for dredged material placement.The footprint of the South Jetty Nearshore and Benson Beach Sites has been proposed for the sake of assessing the impact throughout the area. The intent of the North Head Nearshore Site proposed footprint is to select site boundaries somewhere within the area. This area is subject to public comments and coordination with resource agencies and stakeholders. The intent is to gather feedback during the public comment period to refine the exact area to be used for operational placement.
The overall purpose of the proposed action is to add additional, long-term dredged material placement sites to the existing network of disposal sites for the MCR project. Additional nearshore sites are needed to address significant erosion issues and divert a sand resource that is otherwise "lost" if it goes to deep-water disposal rather than to beneficial use in the MCR system. Incorporating intertidal and nearshore sites within the already established sediment disposal network gives the Corps maximum flexibility in their dredging program and is one element of the Corps' beneficial use plan which focuses on keeping sediment within the littoral zone.
Two public meetings are scheduled to explain the draft environmental assessment and proposed locations and to provide stakeholders and interested members of the public an opportunity to ask questions. The meetings will be held March 15, 2012 at the Port of Ilwaco, 165 Howerton Ave., Ilwaco, Wash., and March 22, 2012 in the Port of Astoria council chambers, 422 Gateway Ave., Astoria, Ore. Both meetings will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; doors open at 5:30 p.m.
The draft environmental assessment addressing the impacts associated with the activity is available for public review and comment on the Portland District web site at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil. Comments must be postmarked by March 30, 2012, and should reference Public Notice Number CENWP- PM-E-03-01.