Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement To Evaluate Construction of Authorized Improvements to the Federal Gulfport Harbor Navigation Project in Harrison County, MS, 16294-16296 [06-3146]

Download as PDF 16294 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Notices dsatterwhite on PROD1PC76 with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Proposed Action: The Alaskan Way Seawall extends for a distance of approximately 7900 feet along Seattle’s central waterfront, between Washington Street to the south and Bay Street to the north. The proposed action would involve an extensive structural rebuild or replacement of the seawall in order to reduce damage resulting from storms and erosion. The proposed action is closely related to the proposed replacement of the State Route (SR) 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, which runs parallel to a portion of the seawall. The SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AWVSRP DEIS) was issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and City of Seattle on April 9, 2004 (69 FR 18898). The AWVSRP DEIS evaluated the rebuilding of the Alaskan Way Seawall because it is essential to the function of transportation facilities and is at risk of collapsing in a large earthquake. The geographic area covered in the AWVSRP DEIS is virtually the same as the Corps study area. However, the Corps’ EIS will evaluate the seawall from a storm damage reduction perspective; the seawall will be the primary focus of the analysis rather than a secondary project element, as in the AMVSRP DEIS. The Corps is reviewing the existing body of work and coordinating closely with the city of Seattle, FHWA, and WSDOT to incorporate all relevant material from their NEPA efforts, share information, and reduce duplication of efforts. 2. Alternatives: There are currently four alternatives which will receive consideration in the EIS: (1) The no action alternative; (2) construction of a vertical face wall with structural frame; (3) construction of a drilled shaft wall with soil improvements; and (4) replacing the portion of the seawall adjacent to the Alaskan Way viaduct with the outer wall of the new tunnel identified as the preferred alternative for the AWVSRP. These alternatives are the same as the rebuild, frame, and tunnel wall seawall alternatives evaluated in the AWVSRP DEIS. The development of seawall study alternatives has been and will continue to be closely coordinated with the AWVSRP through the City of Seattle, WSDOT, and FHWA. The selection of the Corps tunnel wall alternative could not occur unless FHWA signed a record of decision for the AWVSRP selecting the tunnel alternative. Opportunities will be sought to incorporate measures for improvement of habitat values, as well VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:35 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 as recreation and public access. Public input is specifically invited regarding the reasonableness of the build alternatives and whether any additional alternatives are appropriate for consideration. 3. Scoping and Public Involvement: This notice of intent formally commences the scoping process under NEPA. As part of the scoping process, all affected Federal, State and local agencies, Native American Tribes, private organizations, and the public are invited to comment on the scope of the EIS. To date, the following issues of concern have been identified for in depth analysis in the draft EIS: (1) Construction impacts, particularly those related to noise, water quality, transportation, and effects to businesses and residences within/adjacent to the construction zone; (2) impacts associated with potential deviation of the existing seawall alignment; and (3) potential impacts to historical properties. 4. Scoping Meetings: Two public Scoping meetings will be held to identify issues of major concern, identify studies that might be needed in order to analyze and evaluate impacts, and obtain public input on the range and acceptability of alternatives. Both meetings will be conducted on April 18, 2006 in the Lopez Room at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109. The first meeting will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. An informal open house will be held between 1 and 2 p.m. A brief presentation will be made between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Then testimony will be taken between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The second meeting will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Another informal open house will be held between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The presentation will be made again between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Then testimony will be taken between 6 and 7 p.m. Verbal or written comments will be accepted at the Scoping meetings, or written comments may be sent by regular or electronic mail to Aimee Kinney (see ADDRESSES). Ongoing communication with agencies, Native American tribes, public interest groups, and interested citizens will take place throughout the EIS development through the use of public meetings, mailings, and the Internet. Additional meetings will be scheduled upon completion of the DEIS. 5. Other Environmental Review, Coordination and Permit Requirements: The environmental review process will be comprehensive and will integrate and satisfy the requirements of NEPA, and other relevant Federal, State and local environmental laws. Other PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 environmental review, coordination, and permit requirements may include preparation of a Clean Water Act, Section 404 evaluation by the Corps. Dated: March 17, 2006. Debra M. Lewis, Colonel, Corps of Engineers, District Commander. [FR Doc. 06–3140 Filed 3–30–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710–ER–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement To Evaluate Construction of Authorized Improvements to the Federal Gulfport Harbor Navigation Project in Harrison County, MS Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), intends to prepare a Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) to address the potential impacts associated with construction of authorized improvements to the Federal Gulfport Harbor Navigation Project in Harrison County, MS. The DSEIS will be used as a basis for ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and evaluating the following two alternative plans: ‘‘No Action’’ and widening to the authorized project dimensions. Gulfport Harbor is authorized to (a) A channel 38 feet deep by 400 feet wide and about 8 miles long across Ship Island Bar; (b) a channel 36 feet deep by 300 feet wide and about 12 miles long through Mississippi Sound; and (c) a stepped anchorage basin at Gulfport Harbor 32 to 36 feet deep by 1,120 feet wide and 2,640 feet long. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the proposed action and the DSEIS should be addressed to Dr. Susan Ivester Rees, Coastal Environment Team, Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 2288, Mobile, AL 36628 by telephone (251) 694–4141 or e-mail her at susan.i.rees@sam.usace.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Gulfport Harbor is located in Harrison County, MS, on Mississippi Sound about equidistant (80 miles) from New Orleans, LA, and Mobile, AL. The existing project was adopted by the River and Harbor Act approved July 3, 1930 (House Document Number 692, 69th. Congress, 2nd. Session) and the E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 dsatterwhite on PROD1PC76 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Notices River and Harbor Act approved June 30, 1948 (House Document Number 112, 81st. Congress, 1st Session). Construction of the existing federal project commenced in 1932, and was completed in 1950. The River and Harbor Act approved July 3, 1958 (Senate Document Number 123, 84th. Congress, 2nd. Session) adopted the small boat harbor as part of the existing federal project. Deepening improvements to the existing Federal project at Gulfport Harbor was authorized in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1985 (Pub. L. 99– 88), which was approved on August 15, 1985. The project was also authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Pub. L. 99–662), which was approved November 17, 1986, and provided for development to deepen and widen the existing ship channel 36 by 300 feet in Mississippi Sound, and 38 by 400 feet across the bar, with changes in the channel alignment and entrance to the anchorage basin for safe and unrestricted navigation. The 1976 Feasibility Report considered a number of improvement plans, such as widening the Mississippi Sound channel to 300 feet at the existing 30-foot depth and deepening the channel in 2-foot increments to a maximum depth of 36 feet. In addition, widening the channel across the bar into the Gulf of Mexico to 400 feet at the existing 32-foot depth and deepening the channel in 2-foot increments to a maximum depth of 38 feet were also evaluated. The Corps analyzed realignment of the Ship Island channel, adjustment of the turning basin’s width, and enlargement of the channel entrance into the turning basin. A number of disposal options were considered including: open-water alongside of the channels, island creation within Mississippi Sound, and use of specially designed equipment to transport the dredged material to sites within the Gulf of Mexico. The 1976 Feasibility Report recommended enlarging the Bar channel to 38 feet by 400 feet from the 38-foot depth contour in the Gulf of Mexico for a distance of about 9.1 miles to a point in Mississippi Sound near the western end of Ship Island; enlarging the channel through Mississippi Sound near the western end of Ship Island; and enlarging the Mississippi Sound channel to 36 feet by 300 feet for a distance of about 11.8 miles between the inner end of the Gulf Entrance channel and the turning basin at Gulfport; realigning the Bar channel through Ship Island Pass to a location generally parallel to and about 1,000 feet west of that presently authorized, VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:35 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 with a deposition basin for littoral drift 38 feet deep, 300 feet wide and 2,000 feet long adjacent to the east side of the channel at the west end of Ship Island; and enlarging and adjusting the dimensions of the turning basin and channel entrance by extending the southern limits of the basin seaward about 1,180 feet along the west pier and 2,300 feet along the west side of the Ship channel, decreasing the width of the turning basin from 1,320 feet, as presently authorized, to 1,120 feet, and deepening the basin and adjusted channel approach to 36 feet. Improvements of the Gulfport Harbor navigation project was initially authorized by the Fiscal Year 1985 Supplemental Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 99–88) in accordance with the 1976 Feasibility Report. As a result of this authorization, studies were initiated relative to the island construction within the Sound and the impacts of thin-layer disposal of new work material. This initial authorization was subsequently modified by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986. A revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), circulated in 1988, considered widening and deepening the existing Gulfport Harbor navigation channel to the authorized dimensions. In addition, five alignments for the channel segment through Ship Island Pass were also considered. Material from the construction and maintenance of the project were to be disposed of in the ocean sites. The WRDA of 1988 further modified the authorized project to include disposing of construction material via thin-layer disposal in Mississippi Sound under a demonstration program. The maintenance material would be disposed of in Mississippi Sound under a plan developed by the Secretary and approved by the Administrator of the Environmental Project Agency. The Corps published an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in June 1989 evaluating deepening and widening Gulfport Harbor with subsequent placement via thin-layer and ocean disposal. The proposed Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) uses the 1989 EIS as a reference during its evaluation of constructing Gulfport Harbor to authorized project dimensions. The DSEIS will evaluate any new conditions that were not previously addressed in the 1989 EIS. 2. Alternative scenarios to be considered include the ‘‘No action’’ alternative and widening to the federally authorized dimension of 300 feet in the Mississippi Sound channel PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16295 and 400 feet in the Bar channel. In addition, an array of disposal options are also being evaluated for the new work as well as for the maintenance material including island creation, littoral zone disposal, disposal in the existing Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS), and disposal in a new ODMDS. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing an EIS for the ‘‘Designation of a New Gulfport Harbor Offshore ODMDS.’’ 3. Scoping: a. The Corps invites full public participation to promote open communication on the issues surrounding the proposal. All Federal, State, and local agencies, and other persons or organizations that have an interest are urged to participate in the NEPA scoping process. Public meetings will be held to help identify significant issues and to receive public input and comment. b. The DSEIS will analyze the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts to the local area resulting form construction of authorized improvements. Specifically, the following major issues will be analyzed in depth in the DSEIS: Hydrologic and hydraulic regimes, threatened and endangered species, essential fish habitat and other marine habitat, air quality, cultural resources, wastewater treatment capacities and discharges, drainage discharges, transportation systems, alternatives, secondary and cumulative impacts, socioeconomic impacts, environmental justice (effect on minorities and lowincome groups) (Executive Order 12898), and protection of children (Executive Order 13045). c. The Corps will serve as the lead Federal agency in the preparation of the DSEIS. It is anticipated that the following agencies will be invited and will accept cooperating agency status for the preparation of the DSEIS: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior—Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, U.S. Department of Commerce— National Marine Fisheries Service, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport, City of Gulfport, and State Historic Preservation Officer. 4. It is anticipated that the first scoping meeting will be held in the April 2006 time frame in the local area. Actual time and place for the meeting and subsequent meetings or workshops will be announced by the Corps by E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 16296 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Notices issuance of a public notice and/or notices in the local media. 5. It is anticipated that the DSEIS will be made available for public review in May 2006. Curtis M. Flakes, Chief, Planning and Environmental Division. [FR Doc. 06–3146 Filed 3–30–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710–CR–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report for the Proposed BNSF Cajon Subdivision Third Main Track Project Keenbrook to Summit, San Bernardino County, CA Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of Intent. dsatterwhite on PROD1PC76 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Los Angeles District intends to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) to analyze the environmental effects of, and support the permit decision related to, the proposed construction of a third main track through a 15.9 mile section of the Cajon Subdivision, between Keenbrook (the southerly entrance to Cajon Pass) and Summit. The third track would be constructed on either the east or the west side of the existing tracks, depending on constraints at any given location, and would parallel the western/northern track alignment (Main Track 1), between Cajon and Summit. The purpose of the EIS/EIR is to evaluate alternative approaches to increase sustainable daily capacity of train movement along the portion of the mainline through Cajon Pass to meet demand for freight movement for the present and the future. The benefits of the additional third main track include increasing operational flexibility, increasing operational efficiency, reducing severe congestion during peak travel periods, and allowing for sufficiently frequent movements of trains and goods through the Cajon Pass. Alternatives include the addition of a third main track adjacent to the existing BNSF Main 1 through Cajon Pass with the installation of retaining walls and improvements to culverts and wildlife linkages; construction of a third main track within the existing BNSF right-ofway without environmentally sensitive design features; and the No Action/No Federal Action Alternative. The EIS/EIR will analyze the potential direct, VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:41 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 indirect and cumulative impacts of the environmental range of alternatives, including the proposed project. DATES: Submit comments on or before May 1, 2006. ADDRESSES: Ms. Susan A. Meyer, Senior Project Manager, Regulatory Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, P.O. Box 532711, Los Angeles, CA 90053–2325. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Susan A. Meyer, (213) 452-3412; or email: susan.a.meyer@usace.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to prepare a joint EIS/EIR to assess the environmental effects associated with the proposed BNSF Cajon Subdivision Third Main Track project Keenbrook to Summit, San Bernardino County, CA. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the County of San Bernardino is the state lead agency for the EIR pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 1. Project Description. The applicant, BNSF, now maintains two tracks that travel northerly from Keenbrook through Cajon Pass towards Barstow (Cajon Subdivision). The proposed third main track would be installed from Keenbrook to Summit, a distance of approximately 15.9 miles. Presently, there are three main tracks at Keenbrook and south the BNSF rail yards in San Bernardino. There are three main tracks at Summit and north for approximately 14,671 feet, or 2.77 miles. The applicant, BNSF, proposes to install the new track from Keenbrook to Summit on a 15-foot center (15 feet from the center line of the existing track to the center line of the new track), except for alignments on bridges. At bridges, the centerline would be set 25 feet from the centerline of the adjacent track. Most of the new track would be installed on either side of the existing tracks, depending on the existing right-of-way (ROW) and topographic constraints. Crossover points would be installed at Keenbrook, Cajon, Alray, and Silverwood/Summit. Most of the realignment would occur within the existing BNSF right-of-way on previously disturbed areas. The proposed project has been designed to minimize the footprint and minimize or avoid potential impacts to floodplains and wetlands, by using retaining wall structures along portions of the rail embankment. Most of the new track alignment would follow existing cleared areas and maintenance roads. A new access road would be built adjacent to the new track for maintenance activities and to protect PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the track against rock fall and erosion. Existing maintenance roads would be maintained in areas where construction does not impact the current road, reestablished adjacent to the new track in impacted areas where possible, or eliminated where topography limits the footprint. 2. Corps Action. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has received an application from BNSF for a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The proposed project includes activities (to widen existing culverts and some bridges), which are expected to result in the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. There are approximately 67 crossings subject to Section 404 jurisdiction included in the proposed project area. A number of these crossings are along Cajon Creek, which is a tributary to Lytle Creek, and which is a tributary to the Santa Ana River. 3. Alternatives. Three alternatives including the ‘‘No Action/No Federal Action’’ are currently being considered. The alternatives initially being considered for the proposed project include: a. Alternative 1 (Environmental Optimal). Alternative 1 would be constructed from Summit (Milepost 55.82) to Keenbrook (Milepost 69.4), a distance of approximately 15.9 miles. BNSF is proposing to install the new track on a 15-foot center. The new track would be installed on either side of the existing Main Track 1 (west or east), depending upon the availability of the existing ROW and topographic constraints, including the 2.2% grade. Most of the realignment would occur within the existing BNSF ROW on previously disturbed areas. Retaining wall structures would be places in environmentally sensitive areas to reduce the footprint of disturbance to biological resources, including jurisdictional waters of the U.S. In addition, design features would be installed to enhance existing drainage structures for increased wildlife movement through existing linkages. b. Alternative 2 (Engineering Optimal). The Engineering Optimal alternative would be similar in configuration to Alternative 1. However, optimal rail engineering and design methods would be utilized that do not include the more extensive, complex, and environmentally sensitive design features that are proposed with Alternative 1. Construction of the Engineering Optimal alternative would be less expensive and less difficult to implement than the Proposed Project, but would increase impacts to wetlands, floodplains, and other sensitive environmental resources. Alternative 2 E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 62 (Friday, March 31, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16294-16296]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-3146]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers


Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact 
Statement To Evaluate Construction of Authorized Improvements to the 
Federal Gulfport Harbor Navigation Project in Harrison County, MS

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), 
intends to prepare a Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact 
Statement (DSEIS) to address the potential impacts associated with 
construction of authorized improvements to the Federal Gulfport Harbor 
Navigation Project in Harrison County, MS. The DSEIS will be used as a 
basis for ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) and evaluating the following two alternative plans: ``No 
Action'' and widening to the authorized project dimensions. Gulfport 
Harbor is authorized to (a) A channel 38 feet deep by 400 feet wide and 
about 8 miles long across Ship Island Bar; (b) a channel 36 feet deep 
by 300 feet wide and about 12 miles long through Mississippi Sound; and 
(c) a stepped anchorage basin at Gulfport Harbor 32 to 36 feet deep by 
1,120 feet wide and 2,640 feet long.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the proposed action 
and the DSEIS should be addressed to Dr. Susan Ivester Rees, Coastal 
Environment Team, Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. 
Box 2288, Mobile, AL 36628 by telephone (251) 694-4141 or e-mail her at 
susan.i.rees@sam.usace.army.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    1. Gulfport Harbor is located in Harrison County, MS, on 
Mississippi Sound about equidistant (80 miles) from New Orleans, LA, 
and Mobile, AL. The existing project was adopted by the River and 
Harbor Act approved July 3, 1930 (House Document Number 692, 69th. 
Congress, 2nd. Session) and the

[[Page 16295]]

River and Harbor Act approved June 30, 1948 (House Document Number 112, 
81st. Congress, 1st Session). Construction of the existing federal 
project commenced in 1932, and was completed in 1950. The River and 
Harbor Act approved July 3, 1958 (Senate Document Number 123, 84th. 
Congress, 2nd. Session) adopted the small boat harbor as part of the 
existing federal project. Deepening improvements to the existing 
Federal project at Gulfport Harbor was authorized in the Supplemental 
Appropriations Act of 1985 (Pub. L. 99-88), which was approved on 
August 15, 1985. The project was also authorized in the Water Resources 
Development Act of 1986 (Pub. L. 99-662), which was approved November 
17, 1986, and provided for development to deepen and widen the existing 
ship channel 36 by 300 feet in Mississippi Sound, and 38 by 400 feet 
across the bar, with changes in the channel alignment and entrance to 
the anchorage basin for safe and unrestricted navigation.
    The 1976 Feasibility Report considered a number of improvement 
plans, such as widening the Mississippi Sound channel to 300 feet at 
the existing 30-foot depth and deepening the channel in 2-foot 
increments to a maximum depth of 36 feet. In addition, widening the 
channel across the bar into the Gulf of Mexico to 400 feet at the 
existing 32-foot depth and deepening the channel in 2-foot increments 
to a maximum depth of 38 feet were also evaluated. The Corps analyzed 
realignment of the Ship Island channel, adjustment of the turning 
basin's width, and enlargement of the channel entrance into the turning 
basin. A number of disposal options were considered including: open-
water alongside of the channels, island creation within Mississippi 
Sound, and use of specially designed equipment to transport the dredged 
material to sites within the Gulf of Mexico. The 1976 Feasibility 
Report recommended enlarging the Bar channel to 38 feet by 400 feet 
from the 38-foot depth contour in the Gulf of Mexico for a distance of 
about 9.1 miles to a point in Mississippi Sound near the western end of 
Ship Island; enlarging the channel through Mississippi Sound near the 
western end of Ship Island; and enlarging the Mississippi Sound channel 
to 36 feet by 300 feet for a distance of about 11.8 miles between the 
inner end of the Gulf Entrance channel and the turning basin at 
Gulfport; realigning the Bar channel through Ship Island Pass to a 
location generally parallel to and about 1,000 feet west of that 
presently authorized, with a deposition basin for littoral drift 38 
feet deep, 300 feet wide and 2,000 feet long adjacent to the east side 
of the channel at the west end of Ship Island; and enlarging and 
adjusting the dimensions of the turning basin and channel entrance by 
extending the southern limits of the basin seaward about 1,180 feet 
along the west pier and 2,300 feet along the west side of the Ship 
channel, decreasing the width of the turning basin from 1,320 feet, as 
presently authorized, to 1,120 feet, and deepening the basin and 
adjusted channel approach to 36 feet. Improvements of the Gulfport 
Harbor navigation project was initially authorized by the Fiscal Year 
1985 Supplemental Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 99-88) in accordance with 
the 1976 Feasibility Report. As a result of this authorization, studies 
were initiated relative to the island construction within the Sound and 
the impacts of thin-layer disposal of new work material. This initial 
authorization was subsequently modified by the Water Resources 
Development Act (WRDA) of 1986. A revised Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (DEIS), circulated in 1988, considered widening and deepening 
the existing Gulfport Harbor navigation channel to the authorized 
dimensions. In addition, five alignments for the channel segment 
through Ship Island Pass were also considered. Material from the 
construction and maintenance of the project were to be disposed of in 
the ocean sites. The WRDA of 1988 further modified the authorized 
project to include disposing of construction material via thin-layer 
disposal in Mississippi Sound under a demonstration program. The 
maintenance material would be disposed of in Mississippi Sound under a 
plan developed by the Secretary and approved by the Administrator of 
the Environmental Project Agency. The Corps published an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) in June 1989 evaluating deepening and widening 
Gulfport Harbor with subsequent placement via thin-layer and ocean 
disposal. The proposed Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement (DSEIS) uses the 1989 EIS as a reference during its 
evaluation of constructing Gulfport Harbor to authorized project 
dimensions. The DSEIS will evaluate any new conditions that were not 
previously addressed in the 1989 EIS.
    2. Alternative scenarios to be considered include the ``No action'' 
alternative and widening to the federally authorized dimension of 300 
feet in the Mississippi Sound channel and 400 feet in the Bar channel. 
In addition, an array of disposal options are also being evaluated for 
the new work as well as for the maintenance material including island 
creation, littoral zone disposal, disposal in the existing Ocean 
Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS), and disposal in a new ODMDS. 
Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing 
an EIS for the ``Designation of a New Gulfport Harbor Offshore ODMDS.''
    3. Scoping: a. The Corps invites full public participation to 
promote open communication on the issues surrounding the proposal. All 
Federal, State, and local agencies, and other persons or organizations 
that have an interest are urged to participate in the NEPA scoping 
process. Public meetings will be held to help identify significant 
issues and to receive public input and comment.
    b. The DSEIS will analyze the potential social, economic, and 
environmental impacts to the local area resulting form construction of 
authorized improvements. Specifically, the following major issues will 
be analyzed in depth in the DSEIS: Hydrologic and hydraulic regimes, 
threatened and endangered species, essential fish habitat and other 
marine habitat, air quality, cultural resources, wastewater treatment 
capacities and discharges, drainage discharges, transportation systems, 
alternatives, secondary and cumulative impacts, socioeconomic impacts, 
environmental justice (effect on minorities and low-income groups) 
(Executive Order 12898), and protection of children (Executive Order 
13045).
    c. The Corps will serve as the lead Federal agency in the 
preparation of the DSEIS. It is anticipated that the following agencies 
will be invited and will accept cooperating agency status for the 
preparation of the DSEIS: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. 
Department of the Interior--Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, U.S. Department of Commerce--
National Marine Fisheries Service, Mississippi Department of 
Environmental Quality, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, 
Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport, City of Gulfport, and 
State Historic Preservation Officer.
    4. It is anticipated that the first scoping meeting will be held in 
the April 2006 time frame in the local area. Actual time and place for 
the meeting and subsequent meetings or workshops will be announced by 
the Corps by

[[Page 16296]]

issuance of a public notice and/or notices in the local media.
    5. It is anticipated that the DSEIS will be made available for 
public review in May 2006.

Curtis M. Flakes,
Chief, Planning and Environmental Division.
[FR Doc. 06-3146 Filed 3-30-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3710-CR-M