Record of Decision for Restoration of Clear Zones and Stormwater Drainage Systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, FL, 53538-53542 [E7-18383]

Download as PDF 53538 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 181 / Wednesday, September 19, 2007 / Notices containing the public version of those comments. Unless the deadline is extended pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act, the Department will issue the final results of this administrative review, including the results of our analysis of the issues raised by the parties in their comments, within 120 days of publication of the preliminary results. The assessment of antidumping duties on entries of merchandise covered by this review and future deposits of estimated duties shall be based on the final results of this review. Assessment Rates Upon completion of this administrative review, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.212(b), the Department will calculate an assessment rate on all appropriate entries. For the two mandatory respondents, East Sea and QVD, we will calculate importerspecific duty assessment rates on a perunit basis.26 Where the assessment rate is de minimis, we will instruct CBP to assess duties on all entries of subject merchandise by that importer. For the respondents receiving dumping rates based upon AFA (i.e., CATACO, and Lian Heng for the period October 22, 2004, through July 31, 2005), the Department, upon completion of these reviews, will instruct CBP to liquidate entries for the POR as specified above in the ‘‘Period of Review’’ section of this notice pursuant to 19 CFR 351.212(b). The Department will issue appraisement instructions directly to CBP upon the completion of the final results of these administrative reviews. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Cash-Deposit Requirements The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For the exporters listed above, the cash deposit rate will be that established in the final results of this review (except, if the rate is zero or de minimis, no cash deposit will be required); (2) for previously investigated or reviewed Vietnam and non-Vietnam exporters not listed above 26 We divided the total dumping margins (calculated as the difference between NV and EP or CEP) for each importer by the total quantity of subject merchandise sold to that importer during the POR to calculate a per-unit assessment amount. We will direct CBP to assess importer-specific assessment rates based on the resulting per-unit (i.e., per-kilogram) rates by the weight in kilograms of each entry of the subject merchandise during the POR. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Sep 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 that have separate rates, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) for all Vietnam exporters of subject merchandise which have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the Vietnam-wide rate of 63.88 percent, and (4) for all non-Vietnam exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the Vietnam exporters that supplied that non-Vietnam exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice. Notification to Interested Parties This notice serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary’s presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties. We are issuing and publishing this determination in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act. Dated: August 31, 2007. David M. Spooner, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E7–18490 Filed 9–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration may be examined between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Room 2104. Docket Number: 07–059. Applicant: Northwestern University, 633 Clark St., Evanston, IL 60208. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI Company, Czech Republic. Intended Use: The instrument is intended to be used by students at all levels of instruction, from academic courses to PhD candidates and will provide an analytical characterization instrumentation resource for hands–on microscope training and academic instruction. It will be used in courses such as microelectronic technology, mechanical engineering nanotechnology and for material science and engineering courses. The instrument will allow simultaneous FIB milling and SEM imaging. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: August 29, 2007. Docket Number: 07–061. Applicant: University of Pennsylvania, 415 South University Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104. Instrument: Electron Microscope, Model JEM–1011. Manufacturer: Jeol, Ltd., Japan. Intended Use: The instrument is intended to be used to investigate a broad range of biological samples, such as animal and plant tissues, eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, subcellular organelles, macromolecular complexes and individual biomolecules. Electron microscopy is needed to obtain structural information of biological samples at a high resolution level. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: August 29, 2007. Faye Robinson, Director, Statutory Import Programs StaffImport Administration. [FR Doc. E7–18471 Filed 9–18–07; 8:45 am] Applications for Duty–Free Entry of Scientific Instruments BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S Pursuant to section 6(c) of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials Importation Act of 1966 (Pub. L. 89–651, as amended by Pub. L. 106– 36; 80 Stat. 897; 15 CFR part 301), we invite comments on the question of whether instruments of equivalent scientific value, for the purposes for which the instruments shown below are intended to be used, are being manufactured in the United States. Comments must comply with 15 CFR 301.5(a)(3) and (4) of the regulations and be postmarked on or before October 9, 2007. Address written comments to Statutory Import Programs Staff, Room 2104, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. Applications DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Department of the Navy Record of Decision for Restoration of Clear Zones and Stormwater Drainage Systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, FL Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice of Record of Decision. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy announces its decision to restore clear zones and stormwater drainage systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida. Restoration actions include a combination of controlled woody vegetation removal, salt marsh E:\FR\FM\19SEN1.SGM 19SEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 181 / Wednesday, September 19, 2007 / Notices conversion, and future vegetation maintenance. Stormwater drainage system restoration includes the installation of aprons and wing walls on culverts and the replacement of several damaged undersized culverts. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jim Reed, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast (Code EVc2), 2155 Eagle Drive, North Charleston, SC 29406, telephone 843–820–5543. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the entire Record of Decision (ROD) is provided as follows: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality that implement NEPA procedures, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40, Parts 1500–1508, the Department of the Navy (Navy) announces its decision to restore the clear zones and stormwater drainage systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station Key West (NAS Key West). The proposed restoration activities will be accomplished as set out in Alternative 2, described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) as the Preferred Alternative. The Navy proposes to restore clear zones and stormwater drainage systems on Boca Chica Field to bring the airfield into compliance with Navy and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Regulations. NAS Key West’s primary mission is to provide pilot training facilities and services as well as access to superior airspace and training ranges for tactical aviation squadrons. As such, NAS Key West serves as the Navy’s premier East Coast pilot training facility for tactical aviation squadrons. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to ensure the safety of flight operations at Boca Chica Field. The need for the Proposed Action is to ensure continued Department of Defense (DoD) operation of Boca Chica Field through compliance with Airfield Safety Clearances (Naval Facilities P–80.3), Airfield and Heliport Planning and Design (Unified Facilities Criteria 3–260–01), and Objects Affecting Navigable Airspace (Federal Aviation Regulation 14 CFR Part 77). Because of the size and complexity of this action, the Navy will use a phased approach for the completion of this project, implementing it over several years and utilizing an adaptive management approach as the project goes forward. This phased approach will enable the Navy to incorporate lessons learned as the project evolves, and is consistent with natural resources management goals and objectives identified in the NAS Key West Integrated Natural Resources VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Sep 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 Management Plan. The project involves both restoration and long-term maintenance that will be completed in various locations at Boca Chica Field. Maintenance measures include trimming and/or removal of vegetation that protrudes into vertically controlled airfield surfaces or that should not be present in laterally controlled surfaces, clearing and grubbing, grading, filling low areas, replanting select areas with native salt marsh vegetation, and supplemental improvements to drainage conditions. Restoration methods will include the use of hand-clearing or mechanized methods (i.e., traditional construction equipment or specialized equipment). Maintenance methods may include mowing, hand-clearing, and prescribed burning where feasible. Use of the adaptive management approach will allow the Navy to restore and maintain safety of flight conditions in a manner that also provides protection to the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (LKMR) and minimizes impacts to wetland communities. The alternatives for analysis in the Final EIS were developed through a planning process and several internal Navy meetings involving pilots, airfield managers, public works, and environmental staff, as well as stakeholder meetings with the NAS Key West Natural Resources and Environmental Compliance Partnering Team (Partnering Team). The Partnering Team was created in order to protect and conserve the Florida Keys’ natural resources, maintain environmental compliance, and enhance the Navy’s ability to meet its mission critical objectives. Partnering Team members include representatives from the Navy, as well as from Federal, State, and local government agencies. Specifically, these include: NAS Key West; Commander Navy Region Southeast; Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast; United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS); the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Monroe County; and City of Key West. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), Florida Department of Community Affairs, South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Coast Guard are also part of this team, but are not core members. The Partnering Team will serve as an integral source of information prior to design and construction for each phase of the PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53539 project. At the conclusion of each phase, the Partnering Team will discuss the effectiveness of the specific components of the project and provide suggestions and input relative to the success of each phase based on the proposed monitoring plans. The Partnering Team was briefed on the Proposed Action during NAS Key West Partnering Team meetings and their input and concerns were solicited. These meetings included discussions on vegetation and wildlife present within the airfield safety clearance zones, specific airfield safety criteria, airfield safety waivers, and the identification of selection criteria to be used to determine the full range of alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS. The Navy determined that the project alternatives would be evaluated based on the following criteria: (1) Meets applicable airfield criteria for Class B runways to include permanent Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) waivers; (2) minimizes disturbance to wetlands and threatened and endangered species and their habitats; (3) is economically feasible; and (4) minimizes the amount of off-site mitigation. Initially the Navy identified four action alternatives for bringing Boca Chica Field into compliance with Navy and FAA criteria. Two of the potential alternatives (fill areas within airfield clearance zones, and dredge and fill select areas within airfield clearance zones) were eliminated from further consideration as candidate alternatives because they did not fulfill all of the aforementioned alternative evaluation criteria. A Draft and Final EIS were prepared to assess the impacts of the remaining two alternatives. The comparative analysis of the two alternatives was accomplished by evaluating the impacts associated with each approach. The EIS also evaluated the No-Action Alternative, which involves the continued performance of routine airfield grounds maintenance in mowed areas and maintenance of drainage features adjacent to runways and taxiways. Public Involvement: Public involvement commenced with the scoping process in August 2004 that included publication in the Federal Register of a Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS and one scoping meeting to actively solicit input from the public, local governments, Federal and State agencies, and environmental groups. The Draft EIS was filed with the EPA on November 9, 2006, followed by an extended 60-day public comment period. A public hearing was held in December 2006 which provided an opportunity for the public to evaluate E:\FR\FM\19SEN1.SGM 19SEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 53540 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 181 / Wednesday, September 19, 2007 / Notices the proposal and analyses contained in the Draft EIS. The Final EIS was filed with the EPA on August 3, 2007, followed by a 30-day no action period to allow public review of the Final EIS. The Final EIS included identification of the Preferred Alternative, conservation measures to reduce environmental consequences, and public and agency comments on the Draft EIS as well as responses to those comments. Alternatives Analyzed: Two action alternatives were identified and carried forward for detailed analysis in the EIS. Alternative 1, Restoration of Original Clear Zones, would return the airfield condition as originally constructed, including removal of all vegetation within clear zones and restoring drainage and elevations to meet existing safety criteria. NAVAIR-issued waivers would not be required. Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to Meet Permanent Waivers, would provide vegetation and drainage maintenance to meet permanent safety criteria waivers issued by NAVAIR, and would include management and conservation activities such as the conversion of mangrove wetlands to salt marsh wetlands. Use of the permanent waivers allows the Alternative 2 project footprint to be substantially smaller than the Alternative 1 footprint. The Navy identified Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to meet Permanent Waivers, as its Preferred Alternative in the Draft and Final EIS. Under Alternative 2, restoration measures would be completed in clear zones to meet airfield safety clearance criteria taking into account the permanent waivers, and including the conversion of 37.59 acres of area within LKMR habitat to high quality salt marsh (preferred habitat of the LKMR) and other conservation measures. As a result, fewer environmental impacts would result under implementation of this alternative than from Alternative 1. The No-Action Alternative would have the least potential for adverse environmental consequences, and therefore is the environmentally preferred alternative. Implementation of the No-Action Alternative, however, would only solve site-specific safety concerns for a short duration and would ultimately be labor and cost prohibitive. Consequently, the purpose of the Proposed Action, to ensure the safety of flight operations at Boca Chica Field, while at a minimum complying with NAVAIR permanent waivers, would not be met. Decision: After considering the potential environmental consequences of both Alternatives 1 and 2, and the No-Action Alternative, the Navy has VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Sep 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 decided to implement the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, to restore clear zones and stormwater drainage systems on Boca Chica Field. Environmental Consequences: In the EIS, the Navy analyzed the environmental impacts that could occur as a result of implementing each of the alternatives, as well as the No-Action Alternative. Chapter 4 of the Final EIS provides a detailed discussion of impacts and mitigation measures. This ROD, however, will focus on the impacts associated with the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to Meet Permanent Waivers. The EIS analyzed environmental impacts and the potential magnitude of those impacts relative to nine categories of environmental resources: biological resources; Earth resources; water resources; air quality; noise; cultural resources; Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH); socioeconomics; and environmental contamination. The Preferred Alternative presents no significant impacts to air quality, noise, BASH, socioeconomics or environmental contamination. Therefore, no mitigation or conservation measures are offered in those areas. A discussion of those resource categories where the potential for significant impacts was identified, or that were the subject of substantial comments, follows. Biological Resources: Approximately 260 acres of total wetland communities would be affected by the proposed action under the Preferred Alternative. Woody vegetation that is incompatible with airfield operations and airfield safety would experience the greatest impact, and includes 132.6 acres of mangrove forest, 25.4 acres of scrub mangrove, 27 acres of buttonwoods, and 5 acres of freshwater hardwoods. Grassy salt marsh, low salt marsh, and freshwater marsh would experience minimal impacts overall. Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would result in no loss of wetland habitat within the project area. This will be accomplished through the conversion of mangrove wetlands to salt marsh wetlands. Effects to the 15 species listed (including one candidate species) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that may occur or are known to occur at NAS Key West are addressed in the No Jeopardy Biological Opinion (BO) issued by the USFWS on March 7, 2007. Two of the 15 species addressed are plant species, the Garber’s spurge (a listed species), and the Blodgett’s wild mercury (a candidate species). The USFWS concluded the Navy’s Proposed Action would have ‘‘no effect’’ on either PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 plant. The BO also addressed thirteen listed animal species that may occur or are known to occur in the vicinity of Boca Chica Field. Of these, the USFWS concluded the Navy’s Proposed Action will have ‘‘no effect’’ on Eastern indigo snake, loggerhead sea turtle, green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and Stock Island tree snail. The USFWS BO determined that the Navy’s Proposed Action ‘‘may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect’’ Florida manatee, silver rice rat, bald eagle, roseate tern, and American crocodile. USFWS reached a determination of ‘‘may affect, likely to adversely affect’’ for the LKMR. In an Incidental Take Statement to the BO, the USFWS authorized incidental take of this species resulting from implementation of the Preferred Alternative. No significant adverse impacts to migratory birds or non-listed wildlife species are expected. Although there would be no net loss of wetland habitat with the conversion of mangrove wetland to salt marsh wetlands, the Preferred Alternative would result in the loss of 185.14 acres of mangrove habitat classified as Essential Fish Habitat. The Navy submitted an EFH Assessment in March of 2006 as part of consultation with NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries has provided programmatic comments on the overall project, noting they would continue to review and provide additional recommendations for each future phase of the project. The expanded consultation with NOAA Fisheries will continue through the remaining phases of the project. On March 30, 2007, NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources Division (PRD) concluded consultation regarding the impacts to the smalltooth sawfish and sea turtles (the ESA-listed species that fall under NOAA Fisheries PRD’s purview). Considering the Navy’s commitment to conduct advance mitigation of mangrove habitat and complete the remainder of the mitigation concurrent with each phase of the proposed mangrove removal in areas that are accessible to smalltooth sawfish, NOAA Fisheries PRD believed that smalltooth sawfish in or near the project area would have available refuge habitat during and after project completion. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries PRD believed indirect effects on smalltooth sawfish due to habitat loss would be insignificant. NOAA Fisheries PRD concurred with the Navy’s determination that the proposed activity is not likely to adversely affect any ESAlisted species under NOAA Fisheries PRD purview. E:\FR\FM\19SEN1.SGM 19SEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 181 / Wednesday, September 19, 2007 / Notices Mitigation and Conservation Measures: Specific conservation measures have been identified for the following biological resources: Wetlands, the LKMR, EFH and the smalltooth sawfish. For wetlands, the following measures have been identified: (1) Maintain permanent waivers at Boca Chica Field, which reduces the overall project footprint by 77.73 acres and reduces the effects to wetlands by 58.83 acres; (2) no loss of wetland habitat including 37.59 acres of area within LKMR habitat to be converted to high quality salt marsh; and (3) approximately 109 acres of select mangroves outside of LKMR habitat to be filled and converted to maintainable wetlands (e.g., salt marsh wetlands to be maintained by mowing, thereby retaining the hydrologic wetland function on Boca Chica Field while eliminating the flight hazard currently present on the airfield). For the LKMR, the following measures have been identified in addition to reducing the project footprint as described above: (1) Retain and enhance LKMR habitat; (2) utilize specialized equipment in select areas (i.e., customized or modified equipment that would minimize the amount of disturbance to the substrate, vegetation and wildlife); (3) utilize hand-held equipment in some areas (with a focus on LKMR habitat) which will eliminate heavy machinery and vehicles from those areas, minimizing impacts to substrate and existing herbaceous vegetation, and reducing the potential for wildlife mortality due to vehicular traffic; and (4) in total, convert 37.59 acres of area within LKMR habitat to high quality salt marsh vegetation planted to include species that are known to be preferred food sources of the LKMR, and that can be used as escape cover. Other wildlife found on Boca Chica Field would potentially utilize this marsh habitat as well, including shorebirds and small mammals. For EFH, the following conservation measures have been identified in addition to reduction in project footprint described above: (1) In some areas where mangrove forests must be removed to meet airfield safety requirements, create high salt marsh which will retain wetland functions and provide episodic support for marine species during periods of inundation; (2) several advanced mitigation projects are proposed on Big Coppitt Key and Geiger Key that will provide creation or enhancement of approximately 60 acres of mangrove habitat; and (3) the Navy has agreed to trim within the transitional surface of the airfield clear VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Sep 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 zone in an area that will not pose a safety of flight issue (south of the Runway 25 approach), thereby reducing impacts to EFH by 2.47 acres. For the smalltooth sawfish, conservation measures previously listed for ‘‘wetlands’’ and ‘‘EFH’’ (including reduction of project footprint and trimming of 2.47 acres south of the Runway 25 approach) have been identified. These conservation measures, while created specifically for each of these biological resources, will be beneficial to all other biological resources found on Boca Chica Field, including, but not limited to, listed and non-listed wildlife and plant species, seagrasses, and migratory birds. Earth Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would result in moderate short-term adverse impacts to existing Earth resources (topography, geology and soil resources) during clearing, grading, grubbing, and dredging and filling activities. No geologic features would be impacted. The Preferred Alternative would result in the disturbance of greater than 1 acre of soil, requiring a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Generic Permit for Storm Water Discharge from Large Construction Activities, Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 62–621.300(4)(a). Under the Preferred Alternative, the Navy would impact a total of 438.14 acres. This alternative would also use a combination of clearing and grading equipment and techniques to minimize soil disturbance within specific areas. Mitigation and Conservation Measures: Under the provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Navy would be required to apply for permits pursuant to sections 401 and 404. Prior to issuing its section 404 permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) would require the Navy to conduct turbidity and construction management and monitoring. Under the provisions of the NPDES permit, FAC 62–621.300(4)(a), the Navy would be required to complete a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) to reduce pollution at the construction site. The SWPPP would be used to identify and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) and measures to minimize erosion and sedimentation and properly manage stormwater. BMPs include, but are not limited to: Turbidity screens, silt fences, sediment traps, and storm drain inlet protection. These same measures would be used in order to prevent potential impacts to water resources, as discussed below. Water Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would result PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53541 in short-term minor adverse impacts on existing water resources (hydrology and water quality) during clearing, grading, and grubbing activities. No impacts on groundwater resources or floodplains would be expected. The Preferred Alternative would likely result in shortterm erosion due to the removal of vegetation during clearing activities. As a result, loose sediments may migrate into local coastal waters via stormwater runoff, thereby increasing the potential for turbidity. The proposed phasing of the project would minimize the amount of impacts at any one time. Additionally, during any clearing activities the Navy would implement BMPs to reduce the turbidity associated with this project. Over the long-term, the proposed drainage restoration activities to be completed would result in an overall improvement to airfield drainage and safety. Nearly all of the stormwater conveyances on Boca Chica Field drain into natural areas, wetland areas, and stormwater ponds prior to discharging to surrounding water bodies. This provides natural storage which results in increased retention times and functions to minimize stormwater and sedimentation impacts to surrounding surface water bodies. Cultural Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would not result in any impacts to historical or archaeological resources. The State Historic Preservation Official (SHPO) concurred with the Navy that the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, was the most appropriate option. In a January 5, 2007 letter, the SHPO identified 4 archaeological sites in and around the Area of Potential Effect. Although these 4 areas are located on the Boca Chica installation, none are within the project footprint. The Navy agreed in a letter dated February 8, 2007 to avoid all sites mentioned by the SHPO. Additionally, the Navy agreed to create contingency plans to stop ground disturbing work in case of inadvertent discoveries and to follow Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, and 36 CFR part 813: Post-Review Discoveries; Chapter 267, Florida Statutes, in the event of any inadvertent discovery during the construction phases. Response To Comments Received On the Final EIS: The Navy received comments on the Final EIS from one Federal agency and two state agencies. The Florida Department of Transportation’s comments on the Draft EIS were resolved in the Final EIS. EPA Region 4 recommended inclusion in the ROD of a commitment by the Navy to include turbidity and construction monitoring in the project’s SWPPP. This E:\FR\FM\19SEN1.SGM 19SEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 53542 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 181 / Wednesday, September 19, 2007 / Notices comment has been addressed within the Earth Resources section of this ROD by clarifying that the USACE permitting process requires turbidity and construction monitoring. The South Florida Water Management District indicated concern with turbidity and wetland impacts, including secondary wetland impacts. Such concerns are typically addressed through the permitting process, and accordingly the Final EIS indicates that the Navy will comply with permit requirements that implement appropriate pollution prevention techniques to minimize erosion and sedimentation and properly manage stormwater. Additionally the Final EIS states that Best Management Practices and the conditions of the NPDES and other permits will be followed and will limit potential adverse impacts. As part of the permitting process, Navy will apply for an Environmental Resource Permit from the State of Florida, and will be required to demonstrate that a reduction and elimination analysis of proposed wetland impacts has been conducted pursuant to the requirements of the appropriate state agency. Any potential mangrove habitat loss and conversion will be offset through Navy’s monitoring and mitigation plan, using a functional analysis (Uniform Mitigation Assessment Methodology) to determine, numerically, the existing wetland functions and proposed mangrove functional loss in affected areas. Specific mitigation will be identified concurrent with each phase of construction and discussed in meetings with the Partnering Team for appropriate input. The Navy’s monitoring and mitigation plan will address any secondary impacts that may occur. SUMMARY: In determining how best to restore the clear zones and stormwater drainage systems on Boca Chica Field, I considered impacts to the following areas: Biological resources; Earth resources; water resources; air quality; noise; cultural resources; BASH; socioeconomics; and environmental contamination. I have also taken into consideration the Navy’s consultation with the USFWS regarding endangered species, NOAA Fisheries regarding EFH, and NOAA Fisheries PRD regarding the smalltooth sawfish and sea turtles. I have also considered the comments sent to the Navy by the regulatory community, state and local governments, and the public. After carefully weighing all of these factors, I have determined that the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to Meet Permanent Waivers, VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Sep 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 will best meet the needs of the Navy while also minimizing the environmental impacts associated with airfield restoration. Dated: September 12, 2007. BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment). [FR Doc. E7–18383 Filed 9–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Closed Meeting of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The CNO Executive Panel will report on the findings and recommendations of the Iran Subcommittee to the Chief of Naval Operations. The meeting will consist of discussions of current and future Navy strategy, plans, and policies with respect to Iran, and discussions of future operating environments and force posture implications. DATES: The meeting will be held on November 29, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in CNA Corporation Building, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311, Boardroom. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: LCDR Lester Brown, CNO Executive Panel, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311, telephone: 703– 681–4939. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 2), these matters constitute classified information that is specifically authorized by Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense and are, in fact, properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order. Accordingly, the Secretary of the Navy has determined in writing that the public interest requires that all sessions of this meeting be closed to the public because they will be concerned with matters listed in section 552b(c)(1) of title 5, United States Code. Individuals or interested groups interested may submit written statements for consideration by the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel at any time or in response to the agenda of a scheduled meeting. All requests must be submitted to the PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Designated Federal Officer at the address detailed below. If the written statement is in response to the agenda mentioned in this meeting notice then the statement, if it is to considered by the Panel for this meeting, must be received at least five days prior to the meeting in question. The Designated Federal Officer will review all timely submissions with the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel Chairperson, and ensure they are provided to members of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel before the meeting that is the subject of this notice. To contact the Designated Federal Officer, write to Executive Director, CNO Executive Panel (NOOK), 4825 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846. Dated: September 12, 2007. T. M. Cruz, Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E7–18477 Filed 9–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Department of Education The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management invites comments on the submission for OMB review as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before October 19, 2007. ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Education Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street, NW., Room 10222, Washington, DC 20503. Commenters are encouraged to submit responses electronically by e-mail to oira_submission@omb.eop.gov or via fax to (202) 395–6974. Commenters should include the following subject line in their response ‘‘Comment: [insert OMB number], [insert abbreviated collection name, e.g., ‘‘Upward Bound Evaluation’’]. Persons submitting comments electronically should not submit paper copies. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 3506 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide interested Federal agencies and the public an early AGENCY: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19SEN1.SGM 19SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 181 (Wednesday, September 19, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53538-53542]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-18383]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Navy


Record of Decision for Restoration of Clear Zones and Stormwater 
Drainage Systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, FL

AGENCY: Department of the Navy, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of Record of Decision.

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SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy announces its decision to restore 
clear zones and stormwater drainage systems at Boca Chica Field, Naval 
Air Station, Key West, Florida. Restoration actions include a 
combination of controlled woody vegetation removal, salt marsh

[[Page 53539]]

conversion, and future vegetation maintenance. Stormwater drainage 
system restoration includes the installation of aprons and wing walls 
on culverts and the replacement of several damaged undersized culverts.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jim Reed, Naval Facilities 
Engineering Command Southeast (Code EVc2), 2155 Eagle Drive, North 
Charleston, SC 29406, telephone 843-820-5543.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the entire Record of Decision 
(ROD) is provided as follows: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), 
and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality that 
implement NEPA procedures, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40, 
Parts 1500-1508, the Department of the Navy (Navy) announces its 
decision to restore the clear zones and stormwater drainage systems at 
Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station Key West (NAS Key West). The 
proposed restoration activities will be accomplished as set out in 
Alternative 2, described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement 
(Final EIS) as the Preferred Alternative.
    The Navy proposes to restore clear zones and stormwater drainage 
systems on Boca Chica Field to bring the airfield into compliance with 
Navy and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Regulations. NAS 
Key West's primary mission is to provide pilot training facilities and 
services as well as access to superior airspace and training ranges for 
tactical aviation squadrons. As such, NAS Key West serves as the Navy's 
premier East Coast pilot training facility for tactical aviation 
squadrons. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to ensure the safety 
of flight operations at Boca Chica Field. The need for the Proposed 
Action is to ensure continued Department of Defense (DoD) operation of 
Boca Chica Field through compliance with Airfield Safety Clearances 
(Naval Facilities P-80.3), Airfield and Heliport Planning and Design 
(Unified Facilities Criteria 3-260-01), and Objects Affecting Navigable 
Airspace (Federal Aviation Regulation 14 CFR Part 77).
    Because of the size and complexity of this action, the Navy will 
use a phased approach for the completion of this project, implementing 
it over several years and utilizing an adaptive management approach as 
the project goes forward. This phased approach will enable the Navy to 
incorporate lessons learned as the project evolves, and is consistent 
with natural resources management goals and objectives identified in 
the NAS Key West Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan. The 
project involves both restoration and long-term maintenance that will 
be completed in various locations at Boca Chica Field. Maintenance 
measures include trimming and/or removal of vegetation that protrudes 
into vertically controlled airfield surfaces or that should not be 
present in laterally controlled surfaces, clearing and grubbing, 
grading, filling low areas, replanting select areas with native salt 
marsh vegetation, and supplemental improvements to drainage conditions. 
Restoration methods will include the use of hand-clearing or mechanized 
methods (i.e., traditional construction equipment or specialized 
equipment). Maintenance methods may include mowing, hand-clearing, and 
prescribed burning where feasible. Use of the adaptive management 
approach will allow the Navy to restore and maintain safety of flight 
conditions in a manner that also provides protection to the Lower Keys 
marsh rabbit (LKMR) and minimizes impacts to wetland communities.
    The alternatives for analysis in the Final EIS were developed 
through a planning process and several internal Navy meetings involving 
pilots, airfield managers, public works, and environmental staff, as 
well as stakeholder meetings with the NAS Key West Natural Resources 
and Environmental Compliance Partnering Team (Partnering Team). The 
Partnering Team was created in order to protect and conserve the 
Florida Keys' natural resources, maintain environmental compliance, and 
enhance the Navy's ability to meet its mission critical objectives. 
Partnering Team members include representatives from the Navy, as well 
as from Federal, State, and local government agencies. Specifically, 
these include: NAS Key West; Commander Navy Region Southeast; Naval 
Facilities Engineering Command Southeast; United States Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA); United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS); 
the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Florida Department of 
Environmental Protection; Monroe County; and City of Key West. The 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA 
Fisheries), Florida Department of Community Affairs, South Florida 
Water Management District, and the U.S. Coast Guard are also part of 
this team, but are not core members. The Partnering Team will serve as 
an integral source of information prior to design and construction for 
each phase of the project. At the conclusion of each phase, the 
Partnering Team will discuss the effectiveness of the specific 
components of the project and provide suggestions and input relative to 
the success of each phase based on the proposed monitoring plans.
    The Partnering Team was briefed on the Proposed Action during NAS 
Key West Partnering Team meetings and their input and concerns were 
solicited. These meetings included discussions on vegetation and 
wildlife present within the airfield safety clearance zones, specific 
airfield safety criteria, airfield safety waivers, and the 
identification of selection criteria to be used to determine the full 
range of alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS. The Navy determined 
that the project alternatives would be evaluated based on the following 
criteria: (1) Meets applicable airfield criteria for Class B runways to 
include permanent Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) waivers; (2) 
minimizes disturbance to wetlands and threatened and endangered species 
and their habitats; (3) is economically feasible; and (4) minimizes the 
amount of off-site mitigation. Initially the Navy identified four 
action alternatives for bringing Boca Chica Field into compliance with 
Navy and FAA criteria. Two of the potential alternatives (fill areas 
within airfield clearance zones, and dredge and fill select areas 
within airfield clearance zones) were eliminated from further 
consideration as candidate alternatives because they did not fulfill 
all of the aforementioned alternative evaluation criteria.
    A Draft and Final EIS were prepared to assess the impacts of the 
remaining two alternatives. The comparative analysis of the two 
alternatives was accomplished by evaluating the impacts associated with 
each approach. The EIS also evaluated the No-Action Alternative, which 
involves the continued performance of routine airfield grounds 
maintenance in mowed areas and maintenance of drainage features 
adjacent to runways and taxiways.
    Public Involvement: Public involvement commenced with the scoping 
process in August 2004 that included publication in the Federal 
Register of a Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS and one scoping 
meeting to actively solicit input from the public, local governments, 
Federal and State agencies, and environmental groups. The Draft EIS was 
filed with the EPA on November 9, 2006, followed by an extended 60-day 
public comment period. A public hearing was held in December 2006 which 
provided an opportunity for the public to evaluate

[[Page 53540]]

the proposal and analyses contained in the Draft EIS. The Final EIS was 
filed with the EPA on August 3, 2007, followed by a 30-day no action 
period to allow public review of the Final EIS. The Final EIS included 
identification of the Preferred Alternative, conservation measures to 
reduce environmental consequences, and public and agency comments on 
the Draft EIS as well as responses to those comments.
    Alternatives Analyzed: Two action alternatives were identified and 
carried forward for detailed analysis in the EIS. Alternative 1, 
Restoration of Original Clear Zones, would return the airfield 
condition as originally constructed, including removal of all 
vegetation within clear zones and restoring drainage and elevations to 
meet existing safety criteria. NAVAIR-issued waivers would not be 
required. Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to Meet Permanent 
Waivers, would provide vegetation and drainage maintenance to meet 
permanent safety criteria waivers issued by NAVAIR, and would include 
management and conservation activities such as the conversion of 
mangrove wetlands to salt marsh wetlands. Use of the permanent waivers 
allows the Alternative 2 project footprint to be substantially smaller 
than the Alternative 1 footprint.
    The Navy identified Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to 
meet Permanent Waivers, as its Preferred Alternative in the Draft and 
Final EIS. Under Alternative 2, restoration measures would be completed 
in clear zones to meet airfield safety clearance criteria taking into 
account the permanent waivers, and including the conversion of 37.59 
acres of area within LKMR habitat to high quality salt marsh (preferred 
habitat of the LKMR) and other conservation measures. As a result, 
fewer environmental impacts would result under implementation of this 
alternative than from Alternative 1. The No-Action Alternative would 
have the least potential for adverse environmental consequences, and 
therefore is the environmentally preferred alternative. Implementation 
of the No-Action Alternative, however, would only solve site-specific 
safety concerns for a short duration and would ultimately be labor and 
cost prohibitive. Consequently, the purpose of the Proposed Action, to 
ensure the safety of flight operations at Boca Chica Field, while at a 
minimum complying with NAVAIR permanent waivers, would not be met.
    Decision: After considering the potential environmental 
consequences of both Alternatives 1 and 2, and the No-Action 
Alternative, the Navy has decided to implement the Preferred 
Alternative, Alternative 2, to restore clear zones and stormwater 
drainage systems on Boca Chica Field.
    Environmental Consequences: In the EIS, the Navy analyzed the 
environmental impacts that could occur as a result of implementing each 
of the alternatives, as well as the No-Action Alternative. Chapter 4 of 
the Final EIS provides a detailed discussion of impacts and mitigation 
measures. This ROD, however, will focus on the impacts associated with 
the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to 
Meet Permanent Waivers. The EIS analyzed environmental impacts and the 
potential magnitude of those impacts relative to nine categories of 
environmental resources: biological resources; Earth resources; water 
resources; air quality; noise; cultural resources; Bird Aircraft Strike 
Hazard (BASH); socioeconomics; and environmental contamination. The 
Preferred Alternative presents no significant impacts to air quality, 
noise, BASH, socioeconomics or environmental contamination. Therefore, 
no mitigation or conservation measures are offered in those areas.
    A discussion of those resource categories where the potential for 
significant impacts was identified, or that were the subject of 
substantial comments, follows.
    Biological Resources: Approximately 260 acres of total wetland 
communities would be affected by the proposed action under the 
Preferred Alternative. Woody vegetation that is incompatible with 
airfield operations and airfield safety would experience the greatest 
impact, and includes 132.6 acres of mangrove forest, 25.4 acres of 
scrub mangrove, 27 acres of buttonwoods, and 5 acres of freshwater 
hardwoods. Grassy salt marsh, low salt marsh, and freshwater marsh 
would experience minimal impacts overall. Implementation of the 
Preferred Alternative would result in no loss of wetland habitat within 
the project area. This will be accomplished through the conversion of 
mangrove wetlands to salt marsh wetlands.
    Effects to the 15 species listed (including one candidate species) 
under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that may occur or are known to 
occur at NAS Key West are addressed in the No Jeopardy Biological 
Opinion (BO) issued by the USFWS on March 7, 2007. Two of the 15 
species addressed are plant species, the Garber's spurge (a listed 
species), and the Blodgett's wild mercury (a candidate species). The 
USFWS concluded the Navy's Proposed Action would have ``no effect'' on 
either plant. The BO also addressed thirteen listed animal species that 
may occur or are known to occur in the vicinity of Boca Chica Field. Of 
these, the USFWS concluded the Navy's Proposed Action will have ``no 
effect'' on Eastern indigo snake, loggerhead sea turtle, green sea 
turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp's Ridley sea 
turtle, and Stock Island tree snail. The USFWS BO determined that the 
Navy's Proposed Action ``may affect, but is not likely to adversely 
affect'' Florida manatee, silver rice rat, bald eagle, roseate tern, 
and American crocodile.
    USFWS reached a determination of ``may affect, likely to adversely 
affect'' for the LKMR. In an Incidental Take Statement to the BO, the 
USFWS authorized incidental take of this species resulting from 
implementation of the Preferred Alternative.
    No significant adverse impacts to migratory birds or non-listed 
wildlife species are expected.
    Although there would be no net loss of wetland habitat with the 
conversion of mangrove wetland to salt marsh wetlands, the Preferred 
Alternative would result in the loss of 185.14 acres of mangrove 
habitat classified as Essential Fish Habitat. The Navy submitted an EFH 
Assessment in March of 2006 as part of consultation with NOAA 
Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries has provided programmatic comments on the 
overall project, noting they would continue to review and provide 
additional recommendations for each future phase of the project. The 
expanded consultation with NOAA Fisheries will continue through the 
remaining phases of the project.
    On March 30, 2007, NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources Division 
(PRD) concluded consultation regarding the impacts to the smalltooth 
sawfish and sea turtles (the ESA-listed species that fall under NOAA 
Fisheries PRD's purview). Considering the Navy's commitment to conduct 
advance mitigation of mangrove habitat and complete the remainder of 
the mitigation concurrent with each phase of the proposed mangrove 
removal in areas that are accessible to smalltooth sawfish, NOAA 
Fisheries PRD believed that smalltooth sawfish in or near the project 
area would have available refuge habitat during and after project 
completion. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries PRD believed indirect effects on 
smalltooth sawfish due to habitat loss would be insignificant. NOAA 
Fisheries PRD concurred with the Navy's determination that the proposed 
activity is not likely to adversely affect any ESA-listed species under 
NOAA Fisheries PRD purview.

[[Page 53541]]

    Mitigation and Conservation Measures: Specific conservation 
measures have been identified for the following biological resources: 
Wetlands, the LKMR, EFH and the smalltooth sawfish. For wetlands, the 
following measures have been identified: (1) Maintain permanent waivers 
at Boca Chica Field, which reduces the overall project footprint by 
77.73 acres and reduces the effects to wetlands by 58.83 acres; (2) no 
loss of wetland habitat including 37.59 acres of area within LKMR 
habitat to be converted to high quality salt marsh; and (3) 
approximately 109 acres of select mangroves outside of LKMR habitat to 
be filled and converted to maintainable wetlands (e.g., salt marsh 
wetlands to be maintained by mowing, thereby retaining the hydrologic 
wetland function on Boca Chica Field while eliminating the flight 
hazard currently present on the airfield).
    For the LKMR, the following measures have been identified in 
addition to reducing the project footprint as described above: (1) 
Retain and enhance LKMR habitat; (2) utilize specialized equipment in 
select areas (i.e., customized or modified equipment that would 
minimize the amount of disturbance to the substrate, vegetation and 
wildlife); (3) utilize hand-held equipment in some areas (with a focus 
on LKMR habitat) which will eliminate heavy machinery and vehicles from 
those areas, minimizing impacts to substrate and existing herbaceous 
vegetation, and reducing the potential for wildlife mortality due to 
vehicular traffic; and (4) in total, convert 37.59 acres of area within 
LKMR habitat to high quality salt marsh vegetation planted to include 
species that are known to be preferred food sources of the LKMR, and 
that can be used as escape cover. Other wildlife found on Boca Chica 
Field would potentially utilize this marsh habitat as well, including 
shorebirds and small mammals.
    For EFH, the following conservation measures have been identified 
in addition to reduction in project footprint described above: (1) In 
some areas where mangrove forests must be removed to meet airfield 
safety requirements, create high salt marsh which will retain wetland 
functions and provide episodic support for marine species during 
periods of inundation; (2) several advanced mitigation projects are 
proposed on Big Coppitt Key and Geiger Key that will provide creation 
or enhancement of approximately 60 acres of mangrove habitat; and (3) 
the Navy has agreed to trim within the transitional surface of the 
airfield clear zone in an area that will not pose a safety of flight 
issue (south of the Runway 25 approach), thereby reducing impacts to 
EFH by 2.47 acres.
    For the smalltooth sawfish, conservation measures previously listed 
for ``wetlands'' and ``EFH'' (including reduction of project footprint 
and trimming of 2.47 acres south of the Runway 25 approach) have been 
identified.
    These conservation measures, while created specifically for each of 
these biological resources, will be beneficial to all other biological 
resources found on Boca Chica Field, including, but not limited to, 
listed and non-listed wildlife and plant species, seagrasses, and 
migratory birds.
    Earth Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would 
result in moderate short-term adverse impacts to existing Earth 
resources (topography, geology and soil resources) during clearing, 
grading, grubbing, and dredging and filling activities. No geologic 
features would be impacted. The Preferred Alternative would result in 
the disturbance of greater than 1 acre of soil, requiring a National 
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Generic Permit for Storm 
Water Discharge from Large Construction Activities, Florida 
Administrative Code (FAC) 62-621.300(4)(a). Under the Preferred 
Alternative, the Navy would impact a total of 438.14 acres. This 
alternative would also use a combination of clearing and grading 
equipment and techniques to minimize soil disturbance within specific 
areas.
    Mitigation and Conservation Measures: Under the provisions of the 
Clean Water Act, the Navy would be required to apply for permits 
pursuant to sections 401 and 404. Prior to issuing its section 404 
permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) would require the Navy 
to conduct turbidity and construction management and monitoring. Under 
the provisions of the NPDES permit, FAC 62-621.300(4)(a), the Navy 
would be required to complete a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan 
(SWPPP) to reduce pollution at the construction site. The SWPPP would 
be used to identify and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) and 
measures to minimize erosion and sedimentation and properly manage 
stormwater. BMPs include, but are not limited to: Turbidity screens, 
silt fences, sediment traps, and storm drain inlet protection. These 
same measures would be used in order to prevent potential impacts to 
water resources, as discussed below.
    Water Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would 
result in short-term minor adverse impacts on existing water resources 
(hydrology and water quality) during clearing, grading, and grubbing 
activities. No impacts on groundwater resources or floodplains would be 
expected. The Preferred Alternative would likely result in short-term 
erosion due to the removal of vegetation during clearing activities. As 
a result, loose sediments may migrate into local coastal waters via 
stormwater runoff, thereby increasing the potential for turbidity. The 
proposed phasing of the project would minimize the amount of impacts at 
any one time. Additionally, during any clearing activities the Navy 
would implement BMPs to reduce the turbidity associated with this 
project. Over the long-term, the proposed drainage restoration 
activities to be completed would result in an overall improvement to 
airfield drainage and safety. Nearly all of the stormwater conveyances 
on Boca Chica Field drain into natural areas, wetland areas, and 
stormwater ponds prior to discharging to surrounding water bodies. This 
provides natural storage which results in increased retention times and 
functions to minimize stormwater and sedimentation impacts to 
surrounding surface water bodies.
    Cultural Resources: Implementation of the Preferred Alternative 
would not result in any impacts to historical or archaeological 
resources. The State Historic Preservation Official (SHPO) concurred 
with the Navy that the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2, was the 
most appropriate option. In a January 5, 2007 letter, the SHPO 
identified 4 archaeological sites in and around the Area of Potential 
Effect. Although these 4 areas are located on the Boca Chica 
installation, none are within the project footprint. The Navy agreed in 
a letter dated February 8, 2007 to avoid all sites mentioned by the 
SHPO. Additionally, the Navy agreed to create contingency plans to stop 
ground disturbing work in case of inadvertent discoveries and to follow 
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as 
amended, and 36 CFR part 813: Post-Review Discoveries; Chapter 267, 
Florida Statutes, in the event of any inadvertent discovery during the 
construction phases.
    Response To Comments Received On the Final EIS: The Navy received 
comments on the Final EIS from one Federal agency and two state 
agencies. The Florida Department of Transportation's comments on the 
Draft EIS were resolved in the Final EIS. EPA Region 4 recommended 
inclusion in the ROD of a commitment by the Navy to include turbidity 
and construction monitoring in the project's SWPPP. This

[[Page 53542]]

comment has been addressed within the Earth Resources section of this 
ROD by clarifying that the USACE permitting process requires turbidity 
and construction monitoring.
    The South Florida Water Management District indicated concern with 
turbidity and wetland impacts, including secondary wetland impacts. 
Such concerns are typically addressed through the permitting process, 
and accordingly the Final EIS indicates that the Navy will comply with 
permit requirements that implement appropriate pollution prevention 
techniques to minimize erosion and sedimentation and properly manage 
stormwater. Additionally the Final EIS states that Best Management 
Practices and the conditions of the NPDES and other permits will be 
followed and will limit potential adverse impacts. As part of the 
permitting process, Navy will apply for an Environmental Resource 
Permit from the State of Florida, and will be required to demonstrate 
that a reduction and elimination analysis of proposed wetland impacts 
has been conducted pursuant to the requirements of the appropriate 
state agency. Any potential mangrove habitat loss and conversion will 
be offset through Navy's monitoring and mitigation plan, using a 
functional analysis (Uniform Mitigation Assessment Methodology) to 
determine, numerically, the existing wetland functions and proposed 
mangrove functional loss in affected areas. Specific mitigation will be 
identified concurrent with each phase of construction and discussed in 
meetings with the Partnering Team for appropriate input. The Navy's 
monitoring and mitigation plan will address any secondary impacts that 
may occur.

SUMMARY:  In determining how best to restore the clear zones and 
stormwater drainage systems on Boca Chica Field, I considered impacts 
to the following areas: Biological resources; Earth resources; water 
resources; air quality; noise; cultural resources; BASH; 
socioeconomics; and environmental contamination. I have also taken into 
consideration the Navy's consultation with the USFWS regarding 
endangered species, NOAA Fisheries regarding EFH, and NOAA Fisheries 
PRD regarding the smalltooth sawfish and sea turtles. I have also 
considered the comments sent to the Navy by the regulatory community, 
state and local governments, and the public. After carefully weighing 
all of these factors, I have determined that the Preferred Alternative, 
Alternative 2, Restoration of Clear Zones to Meet Permanent Waivers, 
will best meet the needs of the Navy while also minimizing the 
environmental impacts associated with airfield restoration.

    Dated: September 12, 2007.
BJ Penn,
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment).
[FR Doc. E7-18383 Filed 9-18-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P