Alternatives:The restoration of the CMP will occur within the Public Domain lands associated with the CMP Maritime Terrestrial Zone, as per Commonwealth Law 489 of September 24, 2004. The alternative interventions within the restoration area include no action, rectangular section 100 feet wide x 10 feet deep channel width with earth bottom and sheet piles; hybrid section 100 feet x 10 feet channel width with earth bottom and sheet piles in some areas and slopes in others; rectangular section 75 feet wide x 10 feet deep channel with articulated cement bottom and sheet piles; and hybrid section 75 feet wide x 10 feet deep canal with articulated cement bottom and sheet piles in some areas and slopes in others.
All the alternatives may restore open water resources and improve the wetland and benthic habitat functional value. The Corps will consider other project measures such as in-bay sediment disposal and the relocation of infrastructure.
Issues:The DEIS will consider impacts on benthic communities, protected species, public health and safety, water quality, aesthetics and recreation, fish and wildlife resources, cultural resources, conservation resources, environmental justice, and other impacts identified through scoping, public involvement and interagency coordination.
Scoping:Scoping has been conducted by ENLACE, the non-Federal sponsor and leading local expert, over the past 10 years. ENLACE conducted a scoping meeting and interagency review in 2003, and created varied mechanisms to ensure continued participation of all concerned parties. The scoping process has involved federal, state, and municipal agencies, residents along the CMP, as well as other interested persons and organizations.
Public Involvement:We invite the participation of affected federal, state and local agencies, and other interested private organizations and individuals. There will be a public meeting on the DEIS following its preparation. The exact location, date, and time of the public meeting will be announced in a public notice and local newspapers.
Coordination:The proposed action is being coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) [under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act] and with the National Marine Fisheries Service [under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (on Essential Fish Habitat)] and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The proposed action is also being coordinated with the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Other Environmental Review and Consultation:The proposed action would involve evaluation for compliance with guidelines pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act, water quality certification (application to the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board) pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, certification of state lands, easements, and rights-of-way, and determination of Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency.
Agency Role:As the cooperating agency, non-Federal sponsor and leading local expert, ENLACE will provide information and assistance on the resources to be impacted and construction mitigation measures and alternatives. Additionally, other agencies with either regulatory authority or special expertise have been incorporated and are participating in an interagency Technical Dredge Committee coordinated by ENLACE. These agencies may be called upon in preparation of the DEIS.
DEIS Preparation:It is anticipated that the DEIS will be available for public review in the 3rd quarter of 2013.
Dated: November 2, 2012.
Eric P. Summa,
Chief, Environmental Branch.