The Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS was published in theFederal Registeron September 7, 2010. Public engagement was initiated through wide distribution of a newsletter. An article regarding pending release of the Draft EIS was published September 1, 2010, in the Journal of the San Juan Islands. A public open house was hosted by the Park in the town of Friday Harbor on October 26, 2010 (approximately three dozen persons attended). During the 60 day public comment period, 40 comment letters were received (23 by mail and 17 were submitted at the open house); of this total, seven were from agencies and organizations, and the remainder were received from individuals. No substantially new information was received.
Proposal and Alternatives: Alternative A:No Action--The existing use, maintenance, and management associated with the road would continue without change. This alternative provides a baseline of current conditions to aid comparison and analysis of the action alternatives. Unless current management changes, erosion eventually could cause the road to fail, disrupting vehicular access to residential properties in the Cattle Point Estates and Cape San Juan neighborhoods and to public lands east of the eroding bluff. Since measurements began in 2002, erosion has moved approximately 14 feet closer to the guard rail and is currently 32 feet from the guard rail at its closest point. The continued life span of the road is difficult to predict, however large storm events could potentially make the road unsafe in a few years.
Life expectancy (relative to coastal erosion) of each of the three action alternatives is estimated at approximately 100 years.Alternative C:Long Tunnel on Minor Realignmentinvolves a short realignment (2,830 feet) relatively low on the slope of Mt. Finlayson. Sixteen hundred feet of the realignment would be within a bored tunnel. Maximum slope would be 7% gradient.Alternative D:Mid-Slope Alignment with Short Tunnel involves mid-slope realignment to the north of the existing road, utilizing a short tunnel near the ridge line of Mt. Finlayson. Realignment length would be 4,700 feet, 775 feet of which would be within the tunnel. Maximum slope would be 8% gradient.
The "agency preferred" alternative isAlternative B:Hybrid Mid-Slope Realignment. This involves mid-slope realignment to the north of the existing road, traversing the south-facing slope of Mt. Finlayson. At its highest point, this alignment curves slightly south of the Mt. Finlayson summit. The approximately 4,950 foot long realignment would be entirely on the surface (no tunnel), with a short slope of 10.5% gradient on the eastern end. This also is deemed to be the "environmentally preferred" course of action.
Not sooner than 30 days after publication by the Environmental Protection Agency of its notice of filing of the Final EIS in theFederal Register, a Record of Decision will be prepared. Because this is a delegated EIS, the official responsible for the NPS decision is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region. Subsequently the official responsible for implementation of the approved road relocation project is the Superintendent, San Juan Island National Historical Park.