2.Alternatives.Alternatives recommended for consideration presently include the construction of the HNC lock complex and associated structures as described in the MtoG programmatic FEIS. Additionally, various levee alignments, as well as structure locations, depth, and sizes will be investigated.
3.Scoping.Scoping is the process for determining the scope of alternatives and significant issues to be addressed in the EIS. A letter will be sent to all parties believed to have an interest in the analysis. The letter will also notify interested parties of public scoping meetings that will be held in the local area and request their input on alternatives and issues to be evaluated. Notices will also be sent to local news media. All interested parties are invited to comment at this time, and anyone interested in this study should request to be included in the study mailing list.
A public scoping meeting will be held around September of 2005. The meeting will be held in the vicinity of Houma, LA. Additional meetings could be held, depending upon public interest and if it is determined that further public coordination is warranted.
4.Significant Issues.The tentative list of resources and issues to be evaluated in the EIS includes tidal wetlands (marshes and swamps), aquatic resources, commercial and recreational fisheries, wildlife resources, essential fish habitat, water quality, air quality, threatened and endangered species, recreation resources, and cultural resources. Socioeconomic items to be evaluated in the EIS include navigation, flood protection, business and industrial activity, employment, land use, property values, public/community facilities and services, tax revenues, population, community and regional growth, transportation, housing, community cohesion, and noise.
5.Environmental Consultation and Review.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will assist in the documentation of existing conditions and assessment of effects of project alternatives through Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act consultation procedures. The USFWS will provide a Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act report. Consultation will be accomplished with the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concerning threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat. The NMFS will be consulted regarding the effects of this proposed action on Essential Fish Habitat. The draft EIS (DEIS) or a notice of its availability will be distributed to all interested agencies, organizations, and individuals.
6.Estimated Date of Availability.Funding levels will dictate the date when the DEIS is available. The earliest that the DEIS is expected to be available is May of 2006.
Dated: August 16, 2005.
Richard P. Wagenaar,
Colonel, U.S. Army, District Engineer.