Record of Decision for Kilo Wharf Extension (MILCON P-502) at Apra Harbor Naval Complex, Guam, Mariana Islands, 1602-1609 [E8-103]

Download as PDF 1602 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices Officer shall attend all Board meetings and subcommittee meetings. The Board is authorized to establish subcommittees and workgroups, as necessary and consistent with its mission. Board subcommittees and workgroups shall operate under the provisions of Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the Sunshine in the Government Act of 1976, and other appropriate Federal regulations. Board subcommittees and workgroups shall not work independently of the Board and shall report all their recommendations and advice to the Board for full deliberation and discussion. Board subcommittees and workgroups have no authority to make decisions on behalf of the Board and may not report directly to the Department of Defense or any Federal officers or employees who are not members of the Board. Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 and 41 CFR 102– 3.140(c), members of the public or interested groups may submit written statements to the members of the Board. Written statements may be submitted at any time to the Board’s Designated Federal Officer or in response to the stated agenda of a planned meeting. The contact information for the Designated Federal Officer for the Department of Defense Education Benefits Board of Actuaries can be obtained from the GSA’s FACA Database: https://www.fido.gov/ facadatabase/public.asp. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Jim Freeman, Deputy Committee Management Officer for the Department of Defense, 703–601–2554. Dated: January 3, 2008. C.R. Choate, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. E8–207 Filed 1–8–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Record of Decision for Kilo Wharf Extension (MILCON P–502) at Apra Harbor Naval Complex, Guam, Mariana Islands Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice of Record of Decision. AGENCY: pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES ACTION: SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy announces its decision to extend Kilo Wharf by 400 feet (122 meters) to the west at Apra Harbor Naval Complex, Guam, Mariana Islands. The project includes dredging of reef flat and other VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 marine habitats, construction of an additional mooring island, and improvements to the existing wharf. Improvements to the existing wharf include upgrades to the primary and secondary electrical power supply; upgraded lightning protection and grounding system; new electrical substation building, perimeter fencing, and floodlighting system; and seismic upgrades. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nora Macariola-See, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific (Code EV2 NM), 258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860–3134, telephone 808–472–1402. 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. Section 4332(2)(c), and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality that implement NEPA procedures (40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 1500–1508), the Department of the Navy (Navy) announces its decision to extend Kilo Wharf by 400 feet (ft) (122 meters [m]) to the west at Apra Harbor Naval Complex (AHNC), Guam, Mariana Islands. The proposed wharf extension will be accomplished as set out in the West Extension Alternative, described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) as the preferred alternative. Kilo Wharf is located within the AHNC in Outer Apra Harbor, and is the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) only dedicated ammunition wharf in the Western Pacific Region. The Navy proposes to extend Kilo Wharf to provide adequate berthing facilities (including shore utilities and wharf-side handling area) to support a new class of ammunition ship that will replace existing ammunition ships currently forward deployed to the AHNC. The DoD is developing a new class of multipurpose dry cargo/ammunition ship (designated as ‘‘T-AKE’’), scheduled to be in service in Guam in fiscal year 2010. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to ensure that Commander, Navy Region Marianas (COMNAVREGMARIANAS) continues to provide ammunition on and off loading capability in direct support of DoD strategic forward power projection and maintain the readiness of the Navy’s operating forces in the Western Pacific region. COMNAVREGMARIANAS provides operational, fuel re-supply, ordnance, and other logistic support to Fleet units PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of the Pacific Region and operating forces of the Navy’s Fifth and Seventh Fleets. The Proposed Action will enable COMNAVREGMARIANAS to provide adequate facilities for the new T-AKE vessels forward deployed to Guam in accordance with DoD technical design standards for safe and efficient ordnance loading/offloading, in order to maintain its current support mission. The need for the Proposed Action is to ensure Kilo Wharf meets Facility Planning Criteria for Navy and Marine Corps Shore Installations (P–80) and Military Handbook 1025/1, Piers and Wharves criteria for berthing the T-AKE. There are no other suitable facilities on Guam available to accommodate this class of ammunition ship. Public Involvement: Public involvement is discussed in Section 1.6 of the FEIS and summarized here. A Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for the Proposed Action was published in the Federal Register (Vol. 70, No. 145, Page 43848) on 29 July 2005. Two public scoping meetings were held on Guam 30 August 2005 and 2 September 2005. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on 2 March 2007. A Notice of Availability of the DEIS was published in the Federal Register on 9 March 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 46, Page 10749), initiating a 45-day public comment period which ended on 23 April 2007. A Notice of Public Hearing for the DEIS was published in the Federal Register (Vol. 72, No. 46, Page 10721) on 9 March 2007. A public hearing was held on Guam 28 March 2007 to provide Federal, Territorial, and local agencies and interested parties the opportunity to provide oral and written comments on the DEIS. The Navy considered relevant issues raised during the 45-day public comment period for the DEIS. The Navy received 11 written comment letters by agencies, organizations and interested individuals during the DEIS public comment period. Issues raised during the DEIS public comment period are summarized in Section 1.6 of the FEIS. The FEIS was filed with the USEPA on 11 October 2007. A Notice of Availability of the FEIS was published in the Federal Register on 19 October 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 202, Page 59287), initiating a 30-day wait period (no action period) which ended on 19 November 2007. The FEIS included identification of the Preferred Alternative, best management practices (BMPs) and mitigation measures to reduce environmental consequences, and public and agency comments on the DEIS as well as responses to those comments. E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices Alternatives Analyzed: The Navy initially evaluated a range of alternatives that would meet the purpose and need of the action and applied preliminary screening criteria to identify those that were ‘‘reasonable’’ (i.e., practical and feasible from a military mission, operations, technical, and economic standpoint). The screening process and criteria were set out in the DEIS. A range of alternatives were initially considered, but not all were carried through the EIS analysis because they did not satisfy the screening criteria. Of the alternatives considered, the Navy determined that only two alternatives involving extension of the existing Kilo Wharf met the purpose and need and the preliminary screening criteria and were carried through the EIS analysis, in addition to the No Action Alternative. They are the ‘‘West Extension Alternative’’ and the ‘‘EastWest Extension Alternative.’’ Both alternatives would provide adequate berthing for the T-AKE in accordance with DoD technical design standards for safe and efficient ordnance loading/ offloading. Rationale for elimination of the other alternatives considered are discussed in Section 2.2.3 of the FEIS. West Extension Alternative. Under this alternative, the existing wharf would be extended by 400 ft (122 m) to the west. This alternative would take about 26 months to construct, including approximately six months of dredging. In-water work would be limited to the west side of the existing wharf. An additional mooring island would be constructed on the reef flat to the west of the existing mooring island for construction period vessel mooring. The Navy selected the West Extension Alternative as its preferred alternative in large part because it best avoided and/ or minimized potential environmental impacts, when compared with the other alternative considered that met the project objectives (i.e., the East-West Extension Alternative). Furthermore, the West Extension Alternative would meet all technical and operational requirements for the project at a lower cost and shorter construction period than the East-West Extension Alternative. East-West Extension Alternative. This alternative would extend Kilo Wharf by 115 ft (35 m) to the east and 285 ft (87 m) to the west. This alternative would take about 28 months to construct including approximately eight months of dredging. In-water work would be necessary on both the west and east ends of the wharf, leading to a longer construction period with greater impacts on wharf operations. Two VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 additional mooring islands would be constructed on the reef flat to the east and west of the existing mooring islands for construction period vessel mooring. No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, the T-AKE would replace the current ammunition ships forward-deployed to AHNC as planned, but would berth at the existing, substandard Kilo Wharf. The No Action Alternative assumes that the existing explosives safety quantity distance (ESQD) arcs originating from Kilo Wharf would be revised to meet current Navy standards, with or without extension of the wharf. The No Action Alternative provides the least environmental impacts because it would not involve any change to the physical environment. However, this alternative does not meet the purpose and need and is not operationally acceptable because it does not conform with Navy design criteria for ammunition wharves, would adversely impact ordnance operations efficiency, would not adequately provide electrical power, fire protection, lighting, telecommunications, and security surveillance for the T-AKE, and presents substantial challenges to properly secure the larger ship during rough sea conditions. Environmentally Preferred Alternative. Through the EIS analysis, the West Extension Alternative was found to be the environmentally preferable alternative of the alternatives that met the purpose and need of the proposed action and operational requirements. As described in the FEIS, the West Extension Alternative would have the same or similar impacts as the East-West Extension Alternative in most environmental resource areas analyzed in the EIS, with the following exceptions. The West Extension Alternative would result in fewer adverse impacts than the East-West Extension Alternative on: (1) Marine benthic habitats, specifically coral reef resources (smaller structural and sedimentation impact footprints, resulting in fewer ecological services lost); (2) Essential Fish Habitat (shorter duration of construction period impacts); and (3) land or water use constraints resulting from the variations in the wharf’s ESQD arcs (East-West Extension Alternative ESQD arcs encumber 17 additional Navy family housing units and one additional dive/ marine recreational site compared to the West Extension Alternative). Decision: After considering the potential environmental consequences of the operationally viable alternatives (West Extension Alternative and EastWest Extension Alternative), and the No Action Alternative, the Navy has PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1603 decided to implement the preferred alternative (West Extension Alternative) and extend Kilo Wharf 400 ft [122 m] to the west. Environmental Impacts. 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 FEIS provides a detailed discussion of impacts and mitigation measures. This ROD, however, focuses on the impacts associated with the West Extension Alternative. Physical Environment: Construction period dredging associated with the West Extension Alternative would generate total suspended sediment loads that temporarily exceed Guam Water Quality Standards for marine waters, but are anticipated to return to background levels rapidly after cessation of dredging. BMPs to avoid or minimize water quality impacts as described in Section 4.2.6.4 of the FEIS will be implemented. BMPs will include appropriate use of silt curtains, disposal of dredged materials at approved disposal sites, and water quality monitoring. The construction contractor will prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a Storm Water Notice of Intent before work commences. The SWPPP will meet the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) general permit requirements for storm water discharges from construction sites and select applicable BMPs. During the operational period, Kilo Wharf will be covered under a multi-sector general permit, which controls industrial discharges. No adverse operational period impacts to marine water quality are expected. Biological Resources: The West Extension Alternative would have unavoidable adverse impacts to approximately 4.75 acres (ac) (1.92 hectares [ha]) of benthic habitat, including about 0.39 ac (0.16 ha) of high density live coral cover (i.e., ‘‘coral reef communities’’). This area of marine benthic habitat provides ecological services that would unavoidably be affected due to structural impacts from construction dredging and fill. Dredging-related sediment plumes have the potential to adversely affect marine habitats. The affected areas would be localized around the dredging site and primarily affect marine habitats with low coral cover. Sediment transport computer modeling indicated that the West Extension Alternative could generate adverse sedimentation levels potentially affecting about 1.69 ac (0.68 E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES 1604 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices ha) to 14.88 ac (6.02 ha) of benthic habitat, including about 0.14 ac (0.06 ha) to 0.72 ac (0.29 ha) of coral reef communities, over the course of the dredging period, depending on dredging rate and environmental conditions present. There would be adverse impacts to coral reef biota due to the general loss of ecological services, including nonmotile species within the construction impact area. The West Extension Alternative would pose low potential for adverse effects on overall coral reproduction in the region of influence, since the Navy will comply with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit conditions requiring that it avoid dredging activities during the peak spawning event on Guam, which is seven to ten days after the full moon in July, in consultation with Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources. Construction BMPs described in Section 4.3.1.1 of the FEIS will be implemented to minimize impacts on the coral reef communities. No adverse impacts on Federal- or Territory-listed protected species or sensitive environments are expected during construction or operation. The Navy conducted informal consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Navy determined that although threatened or endangered species (i.e., sea turtles) may be affected by the West Extension Alternative, they are not likely to be adversely affected. By letter dated 29 June 2007, NOAA Fisheries concurred with the Navy’s determination (Appendix N of FEIS). The Navy will implement construction period BMPs to minimize the potential for adverse effects on sea turtles, as described in Section 4.3.3.1 of the FEIS. The Navy initiated formal Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation 24 April 2007. The Navy concluded that the West Extension Alternative would have temporary adverse impacts on motile Fishery Management Plan species, eggs, and larvae due to dredging and in-water construction. NOAA Fisheries reviewed the EFH assessment and provided conservation recommendations dated 4 June 2007. The Navy supports the conservation recommendations provided 15 June 2007 with the following clarification: (1) The preferred mitigation is the Cetti Bay watershed reforestation; (2) success of the preferred mitigation will include performance measures with input from resource agencies; (3) dredging will be avoided during the peak coral spawning (seven VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 to ten days after the July full moon); and (4) BMPs will be utilized to minimize impacts to corals. NOAA Fisheries conservation recommendations are addressed in the FEIS. The Navy’s EFH assessment and correspondence with NOAA Fisheries are included in Appendix M of the FEIS. No adverse operational period impacts to the biological environment are anticipated from implementation of the West Extension Alternative. Ship berthing and unberthing procedures would be similar to that of the No Action Alternative and would continue with or without the wharf extension. Social and Economic Environment: The West Extension Alternative would not increase the number of family housing units or dive sites encumbered by the ESQD arcs above the No Action Alternative levels. Cultural Resources: No impacts to cultural resources are expected. Guam State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) concurred with the Navy’s determination of ‘‘no historic properties affected’’ (See Appendix O of FEIS for correspondence with Guam SHPO). The West Extension Alternative presents no significant impacts to climate and air quality; geology, seismology, soils and marine sediments; ambient noise; physical oceanography; groundwater quality; invasive species; terrestrial flora and fauna; aesthetics/ visual environment; economics; social and demographic factors; infrastructure and services; and hazardous and regulated materials and waste. Mitigation Measures. The Navy will implement BMPs during construction and operation of the West Extension Alternative to avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts. Because the West Extension Alternative will result in unavoidable adverse environmental impacts, primarily to the marine environment, the Navy will also fund or implement compensatory mitigation to provide substitute resources or environments for those ecological services expected to be lost. In coordination with Federal and Government of Guam (GOVGUAM) resource agencies, the habitat equivalency analysis (HEA) process was used to estimate the spatial and temporal ecological service losses to marine benthic habitats resulting from the West Extension Alternative and identify appropriate levels of mitigation to compensate for the losses. Independent but coordinated HEA analyses were conducted by both the resource agencies and the Navy. Findings from both HEAs indicated similar levels of ecological services lost for the West Extension Alternative: the PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 resource agency HEA estimated losses of 102 acre-years and the Navy estimated 116 acre-years of lost ecological services in its HEA. The HEA resulted in 102– 116 acre-years. Selection, scaling and implementation of appropriate compensatory mitigation actions are being carried out in consultation with USACE, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USEPA, and GOVGUAM resource agencies. A USACE permit would be required for the West Extension Alternative for alteration of navigable waters and discharge of fill material into the water (caisson and construction mooring islands). This permit is the vehicle through which compensatory mitigation would be implemented. The Navy has coordinated with the resource agencies to develop a Mitigation Plan to satisfactorily meet the USACE permit requirements. The Navy and resource agencies have agreed on the general concepts of the Mitigation Plan. Before, during, and after construction, additional data would be collected on physical, chemical and biological factors in the vicinity of the construction project and used in postconstruction monitoring and analysis. The Navy is developing the details of this monitoring plan, which will be submitted in the USACE permit process. Preferred Mitigation. The Cetti Bay watershed reforestation project is the Navy’s preferred mitigation action. It was proposed by GOVGUAM based on HEA principles (i.e., identifying lost ecological services to be replaced). Although there is no direct correlation between the number of lost acre years of coral and number of acres to be reforested as compensatory mitigation, a mutual consensus was reached between Navy and GOVGUAM that the Cetti Bay watershed reforestation project will consist of reforestation of up to 500 ac (202 ha) of savanna grasslands and/or badlands within the Cetti Bay watershed, located on the southwestern coast of Guam, approximately 9 miles (14.4 kilometers) south of Apra Harbor. As stated in the Guam Department of Agriculture (GDOAG) reforestation plan, the bay’s coral reef resources have been heavily degraded over the past few decades. One of the factors is believed to be upland erosion caused primarily by road construction, wildland fires, and feral ungulates (unrelated to Navy activities). Reforestation of the savanna grasslands and/or badlands within the Cetti Bay Watershed will reduce terrigenous sediment loads entering Cetti Bay, thereby improving water quality. This may have an indirect beneficial effect on the coral reef habitat E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices in the receiving waters. Reducing sediment flow is intended to support and enhance the terrestrial and marine ecosystems, including fish and wildlife habitat within Cetti Bay and the Cetti Bay watershed. The following provides examples of the actions included in the reforestation project: (1) Conversion of savanna grasslands and/or badlands to forest lands around Cetti Bay; (2) reforestation of the area’s badlands; (3) fencing of identified reforested areas to provide ungulate control; and (4) implementation of erosion BMPs. Performance standards for the Cetti Bay reforestation projects will not be tied to coral health improvement. Coral health monitoring conducted in Cetti Bay will not trigger a requirement for additional Navy mitigation action. GDOAG will be responsible for the implementation and long term management of the reforestation projects. A cooperative agreement between the Navy and GDOAG will be executed to authorize the transfer of Navy funds to GDOAG; therefore an appropriate real estate agreement between the Navy and GOVGUAM is required for the Cetti Bay parcel Lot No. 275, which is the area that will be reforested. The Navy will fund a third party contractor to conduct the terrestrial and marine monitoring at Cetti Bay as prescribed in the Mitigation Plan. The USACE’s Permit mitigation procedures call for identification of a contingency mitigation project. The USACE permit would identify specific requirements associated with the preferred mitigation; however, failure to meet the requirements would trigger implementation of the contingency mitigation. An example of such a requirement would be that GOVGUAM provides real estate protection in perpetuity to the Cetti Bay mitigation site as described in USACE’s DEIS comment letter in Appendix B–4 of the FEIS. Accordingly, the Navy, with USACE support, identified a contingency mitigation plan. Contingency Mitigation. The contingency mitigation plan consists of four components: Ordnance Annex Watershed Afforestation; Outer Apra Harbor Deep Water Substrate; Coral Reef Ecosystem Protection at Orote Point Ecological Reserve Area (ERA); and Shallow Water Reef Enhancement. Should it be required, by the USACE, to implement the contingency mitigation plan, all four of the components would be implemented. The deep water substrate component alone would provide levels of ecological services equivalent to the estimated acre-year losses. Therefore, the combined actions VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 would provide benefits that would more than offset the estimated ecological service losses due to the West Extension Alternative. Ordnance Annex Watershed Afforestation. The Navy will conduct watershed afforestation of approximately 150 ac (60 ha) of savanna grassland vegetation in approximately 50 ac increments over a 3-year period within the northeastern portion of the Navy’s Ordnance Annex. Afforestation will help reduce excessive terrigenous sediment loads entering Talofofo Bay, thereby improve water quality and support and enhance the terrestrial and marine ecosystems. This may have an indirect beneficial effect on coral reef habitat in the Bay. Outer Apra Harbor Deep Water Substrate. The Navy will place concrete or limestone block substrate in specific locations in Outer Apra Harbor to offset habitat losses from implementation of the West Extension Alternative. Four sites (Glass Breakwater, Kilo Wharf, San Luis Beach, and Sasa Bay) have been evaluated as candidate deep water substrate sites. The substrate will increase overall biomass and provide new benthic habitat. This mitigation component has been scaled such that if it were to be the sole mitigation project implemented, it would fully offset the ecological services lost due to the West Extension Alternative. Coral Reef Ecosystem Protection at Orote Point ERA. The Navy will expand the Orote ERA Area Marine Unit to include approximately 80 ac (32 ha) of Navy-owned submerged lands around Orote Point to Adotgan Point area, and approximately 32 acres (13 ha) of the Terrestrial Unit including the beaches and limestone forest area inland from the Marine Unit. The expanded Marine Unit would include shallow water benthic habitat around Orote Point that contains both hard and soft corals. The Navy will modify the management plan for the Orote ERA to restrict fishing and other types of consumptive activities that could potentially adversely affect EFH. Shallow Water Reef Enhancement. The Navy will transplant corals that would be directly impacted by the wharf extension to several new sites on Navy submerged lands in Outer Apra Harbor. Navy will enter into an agreement with a qualified organization to physically move and transplant as much live coral as feasible to sites on Navy-owned lands. Project will focus on transplanting large specimens. A detailed transplanting plan will be prepared which will include methods for moving large colonies, techniques PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1605 for stabilizing colonies at the transplant sites, and a monitoring protocol. Since the contingency mitigation projects would take place wholly within Navy lands (including submerged lands), the Navy would be responsible for their monitoring and maintenance. Agency Consultation and Coordination: The Navy consulted and coordinated with Federal and GOVGUAM resource agencies regarding: (1) ESA Section 7 consultation with NOAA Fisheries; (2) Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act consultation with NOAA Fisheries; (3) Section 106 consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 with the Guam SHPO; and (4) Coastal Zone Management Act consistency determination with GOVGUAM Bureau of Statistics and Plans (BSP). Correspondence relating to these consultations is found in Appendices M, N, O and P of the FEIS. In addition, the Navy invited three Federal agencies to be cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS: USACE, NOAA Fisheries, and USFWS. Of the three agencies, only the USACE agreed to be a cooperating agency. Appendix A of the FEIS contains correspondence with USACE and the other Federal agencies invited to be cooperating agencies. The FEIS includes an evaluation of potential impacts of implementing the preferred and contingency mitigation projects. In general, the watershed mitigation projects would have a beneficial effect on the environment by reducing erosion and sediment loading in surface and nearshore waters, thereby improving water quality. This may have an indirect beneficial effect on coral reef habitats in the receiving waters. The contingency mitigation projects would have direct beneficial effects on the marine environment either through habitat replacement (Deep Water Substrate and Shallow Water Reef Enhancement) or conservation (Orote ERA Expansion). The preferred and contingency mitigation projects would not adversely affect protected species or historic or cultural sites and, overall, would have beneficial effects on Guam’s coastal management zone. GOVGUAM BSP concurred with the Navy’s consistency determination that the proposed action and associated mitigation actions would be consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of Guam’s approved Coastal Management Program. Responses To Comments Received On the FEIS: Four Federal agencies (USACE, USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS), three GOVGUAM agencies (GDOAG, GEPA, BSP), one organization E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES 1606 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices (The Nature Conservancy [TNC]) and a single commenter provided comment letters. Substantive comments are addressed below by topic. Purpose and Need: Alternatives: NOAA Fisheries recommended reconciling inconsistencies in justifying the purpose and need for the proposed action and suggested that the descriptions of the No Action Alternative were inadequate for full evaluation. USFWS commented that the project’s purpose and need do not support the proposed action. GDOAG and TNC commented that the proposed action is not economically justified. The FEIS states that the No Action Alternative would not achieve the project objectives and COMNAVREGMARIANAS would not meet its mission to provide adequate waterfront facilities to replenish U.S. Fifth and Seventh Fleets. The FEIS explains that the action is needed because Kilo Wharf is inadequate to support the T-AKE and there are no other suitable facilities on Guam. The FEIS also states that although the No Action Alternative does not meet project objectives and is considered operationally unacceptable (for reasons described in the FEIS and earlier in this ROD), it provides a baseline to evaluate effects of the West Extension Alternative and East-West Extension Alternative. The decision to proceed with a proposed action is not made solely upon economic justification. Environmental, economic, and other factors were considered along with the operational need for the wharf extension in the decision-making process. Compensatory Mitigation. USACE identified the required contents of the Navy’s mitigation plan, which will be submitted in conjunction with the project’s necessary Department of the Army permit. USEPA commented that the monitoring would be underfunded and not enable measurements of success. The Navy is coordinating with the resource agencies to develop a Mitigation Plan that will satisfy USACE mitigation and monitoring requirements. The Mitigation Plan will be submitted with the permit application package. USEPA, GDOAG, and GEPA expressed concern over the Navy’s timetable for reaching an acceptable agreement with the resource agencies on the preferred Cetti Bay watershed mitigation and questioned the Navy’s commitment to this project. TNC commented that the Cetti Bay watershed mitigation is the only acceptable mitigation option. The Navy’s preferred mitigation is the Cetti Watershed reforestation. The Navy and resource VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 agencies have agreed on the general concepts of the Cetti Watershed reforestation plan to be submitted during the permitting process. USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, GDOAG, and BSP expressed concerns over the adequacy of the Navy’s contingency mitigation plan to offset lost ecological impacts. USFWS requested agency coordination if the contingency mitigation had to be implemented. Commenters requested that the Navy implement the Ordnance Annex afforestation (BSP, TNC), Orote ERA expansion (TNC), and coral transplantation (BSP, TNC) either as part of its natural resources management stewardship or as a BMP and not as compensatory mitigation. BSP requested that the Navy discuss the Orote ERA expansion with resource agencies to resolve concerns about the imposition of planned fishing restrictions associated with the expansion. The contingency mitigation plan is not the Navy’s preferred mitigation, and would only be implemented if the preferred Cetti Bay watershed reforestation project does not proceed. It was developed in compliance with the USACE, whose mitigation requirements necessitate a contingency mitigation plan in the event the preferred plan is not implementable in accordance with USACE guidelines. The FEIS provides the rationale for each of the contingency mitigation components and describes their likely benefits to the environment. The deep water substrate component has been scaled such that if it were to be the sole mitigation project implemented, it would fully offset the ecological services lost due to the West Extension Alternative; the other three contingency mitigation components would provide additional ecological benefits. The Navy presented its contingency mitigation plan for resource agency comment prior to publication of the FEIS. Although the resource agencies indicated they did not support creation of artificial substrate, they did not provide alternatives for consideration. In its DEIS comment letter of 23 April 2007, the USACE stated that introducing deep water substrate at more than one location within Apra Harbor would ‘‘provide appropriate substrate that would rapidly be colonized by Porites, macro-algae, and other organisms similar to those found in the deeper areas on the impacted site, and thereby provide perpetual reef habitat.’’ Access to the Orote ERA is already restricted by its location within an active Navy base and ordnance handling activities in Kilo Wharf; therefore, any fishing restriction PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 within the ERA will be enforced because of security and safety issues. Marine Biological EnvironmentExisting Environment. Commenters questioned the Navy’s benthic habitat mapping methodology (NOAA Fisheries) and its characterization of certain benthic habitats and resources (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); claimed that the Navy too narrowly defined the coral reef community (NOAA Fisheries; GDOAG) and undervalued the affected marine habitats (NOAA Fisheries); requested the analysis incorporate more of the resource agencies’ survey data in describing the affected marine resources (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); suggested a correction to the table comparing resource agency and Navy quantitative coral data (USFWS); commented that the FEIS does not provide an analysis of coral reef resources at Kilo Wharf in terms of contributions (e.g., reproduction, genetic diversity, future survival) to other coral reef resources within Apra Harbor (USFWS); and objected to the representation of the resource agencies’ marine biological assessment in the FEIS (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS). The Navy’s benthic habitat mapping methodologies were derived from the scientific literature and are described in the relevant studies, which were provided to the resource agencies prior to their in-water surveys and prior to inclusion in the DEIS. The EIS discusses the objectives and limitations of various approaches to assessing and characterizing benthic habitat data. The result of both methodologies utilized resulted in very close HEA results in acre-years. While all details of the technical reports (in the Appendices) are not reiterated in the FEIS, an adequate amount of information is presented to support the overall conclusions. The FEIS discussion of the resource agencies’ assessment was not intended to undermine or criticize the data presented or methods employed. The purpose was to provide a general summary of the resource agencies’ methods and findings, with attention to similarities and differences between the Navy and resource agency studies. FEIS reviewers were also encouraged to review the full reports appended to the FEIS. Despite the different approaches used to gather and present existing conditions data, the conclusions reached were similar. The resource agencies’ and Navy’s HEA projections of lost ecological services at Kilo Wharf were similar. The FEIS describes the other (noncoral) components of coral reef benthic community and states that all the habitats provide ecological services. The E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices FEIS does explore the affected habitats; the results of the resource agencies’ impact analysis and HEA are referenced and summarized in the FEIS text and received full evaluation. Complete reports are included as appendices. Both HEA results included estimates of the range of ecological services lost on all potentially impacted marine benthic habitats. The Navy is committed to providing full compensatory mitigation to offset lost ecological services estimated by the resource agencies’ HEA. Although it would not affect the analysis or findings of the FEIS, Table 3–9 should have been entitled ‘‘Comparison of Coral Cover by Resource Agency and Navy Zones’’ to avoid confusion. The Navy recognizes that more than one approach may be employed to gather and present existing conditions data and to predict marine habitat impacts. It is currently working with Federal resource agencies to establish data gathering and pre- and postconstruction monitoring protocols for future Navy projects (e.g., NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division-sponsored Guam Monitoring Protocols Workshop held in December 2007). Marine Biological EnvironmentEnvironmental Consequences. Commenters questioned the findings of the sediment transport numerical model and associated sedimentation impact analysis (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS) and its threshold values for impacts (USFWS); requested clarification of BMPs for silt curtains, a definition of ‘‘sensitive coral habitat’’ in a BMP, and modification of a BMP to ensure that control measures are in place and functioning properly throughout each work shift (NOAA Fisheries); raised the issue of impacts from the release of sediment-entrained metals into the water column (NOAA Fisheries); commented that the construction period (GDOAG) and operational impacts of tugboats on benthic habitats were not considered (NOAA Fisheries); recommended use of coral densities and sizes rather than coral cover in the analysis (NOAA Fisheries); objected to the analysis of coral spawning and recruitment impacts (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, GDOAG, BSP, TNC) and suggested that suspension of dredging operations should occur over an expanded timeframe (BSP, TNC); questioned the water chemistry study methodology (NOAA Fisheries; GEPA); raised the issue of the lack of nighttime surveys for mobile invertebrates (NOAA Fisheries); disagreed with the impact analysis for the loss of vertical slope (GEPA); requested reevaluation of VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 indirect long-term adverse impacts (GDOAG); requested compliance with stormwater BMPs in CNMI and Guam Stormwater Management Manual (GEPA); expressed concern that the FEIS minimizes impacts by considering only high coral cover areas (NOAA Fisheries, TNC); and requested that the impact analysis should include habitat types with little or no live coral coverage (TNC). The water current data sampling period and meter placement provided the necessary information for the sediment transport model, including surface water movement. Wave effects are important only in shallow water and would likely inhibit sediment deposition through increased water motion. The study adopted a conservative (i.e., ‘‘worst case’’) strategy by not including these effects in the model. Because the harbor floor, as well as cover of the reef flats, consists of sediment similar to dredging-related sediments, once the dredging-related sediment is dispersed by currents, there is likely to be no difference in the sedimentation impacts compared to the present situation. The marine ecosystem impact analysis prepared for the EIS included a thorough review of the existing scientific literature of sedimentation impacts to coral, and used a conservative threshold value to estimate impacts. The Navy reviewed an article on ‘‘marine snow’’ cited in the USFWS comments for relevance to the potential sedimentation impacts to corals. The Navy concluded that because riverine muds and high nutrient water (which were key factors in the experiment reported in the article) are not components in the Kilo Wharf setting, the article’s findings do not warrant the examination of lower threshold dredging-related sedimentation concentrations on coral reefs. In spite of the diverging views on the Navy’s sediment transport modeling and associated impacts, the FEIS included the conclusions of the resource agencies’ impact assessment and HEA, which included their projections of sedimentation effects on benthic organisms. BMPs to avoid or minimize water quality impacts and impacts to coral reef habitats during construction are discussed in the FEIS. BMPs that will be required as conditions to the USACE permit will be addressed in the Mitigation Plan through the permitting process. The FEIS lists metals that were reported in sediment tested at the project site, and also reports that they were reported at concentrations below the ER-L (effects range low). The text PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1607 further states that these metals are likely to adhere to sediment which will resettle with the sediment rather than be released into the water column. Since the concentrations were below ER-L, these conditions are not elevated above what would be considered normal levels. In addition, these sediments presently exist in the harbor, therefore, any effect to fish or invertebrates would already be occurring. Presently, there are no documented indications that the metal concentrations would lead to blooms. As storm events resuspend sediments normally, any effects would be part of ongoing processes. The FEIS discusses potential operational period impacts of tug boats in Section 4.3.1.1. Tug boat operations were not addressed in the construction period impact analysis because they are not considered a new activity related to construction. Tug boats already operate on an ongoing basis at the wharf, supporting ships far larger than a dredging construction barge. The FEIS addressed the varying methods and included the resource agencies’ survey in its entirety as an appendix in the interest of full disclosure. The FEIS provides rationale for the conclusion that the project dredging is not likely to have adverse or significant direct or indirect impacts on the longterm reproductive potential and structure of the coral community in Apra Harbor. The consideration of the effects of sedimentation to corals was based on the resource agencies’ species list and not on percent live coral in order to make all corals that were noted to occur essentially equal in terms of spawning potential. To further reduce potential adverse impacts, the Navy has committed to avoid dredging activities during the peak coral spawning period on Guam (seven to ten days after the full moon in July in consultation with GDAWR) in accordance with U.S. Coral Reef Task Force guidance and USACE permit conditions. While replicate water chemistry sampling would have provided additional information on seasonal variations, the baseline water chemistry study results showed that the waters in the vicinity of the wharf are basically oceanic with a small indication of effect from draining of inner harbor water seaward, and water moving from land toward the center of the harbor. The Navy will implement a water quality monitoring plan, which will include a pre-construction component, as well as control stations. The Navy will also comply with the conditions of USACE permits required for the project. E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES 1608 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices Nighttime surveys for benthic invertebrates may have produced higher counts. However, the FEIS summarized the results of the resource agencyprepared marine benthic impact analysis and levels of corresponding compensatory mitigation, which the Navy has agreed to implement or fund. The HEA process, which both the Navy and resource agencies utilized, accounts for habitat or ecosystem losses which would include the broad matrix of marine flora and fauna associated with the underlying coral reef resource. The FEIS notes that the loss of the vertical wall created by the original Kilo Wharf construction dredging would be replaced by similar, hard vertical substrate. The construction mooring island was not considered as part of the mitigation for ecological services lost, although it too would provide vertical substrate. Habitat removed or covered by both the construction mooring island and new shore protection was factored into the acre-year loss estimates for which the Navy will implement or fund compensatory mitigation. The EIS states that should sedimentation effects occur, the affected habitats are able to recover over time when the stressor is removed, although species composition may be affected. This is evidenced by the healthy condition of the coral reefs that were adversely affected by sedimentation from the original Kilo Wharf construction (i.e., west and east of the existing wharf). Reevaluation of indirect long-term adverse impacts is not necessary because the FEIS reports the results of the resource agencies’ impact analysis and HEA. These results considered the resource agencies’ estimated sedimentation effects west of the project area, extending to Orote Island. The Navy will consider the recommendations of the CNMI and Guam Stormwater Management Manual after a final report is issued. The Navy will comply with its NPDES permit regulations regarding stormwater runoff at the expanded wharf. The ecological services lost estimated in both the Navy and resource agency HEAs accounted for all habitat types impacted and not only those with high coral cover. The Navy will fund or implement mitigation commensurate with the total lost ecological services (both spatial and temporal) identified by the resource agencies. The Cetti Bay watershed reforestation is the Navy’s preferred mitigation. The Navy is working collaboratively with the resource agencies on the details of the preferred mitigation plan. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 Cumulative Impacts. Commenters requested expanded analysis of cumulative effects of dredging on coral spawning in Apra Harbor (NOAA Fisheries); commented on the adequacy of cumulative impact analysis (NOAA Fisheries; TNC) and quantified data on the historical coral reef resources in Apra Harbor (NOAA Fisheries); requested the addition of a table containing the amount of actual direct and indirect impacts on coral reef communities and land/water use (GDOAG); and commented that the analysis should be considered in the context of reef decline worldwide, U.S. and on Guam (BSP). The FEIS described the likely effects of in-water construction on coral spawning and subsequent recruitment of planulae to the coral community within the region of influence (ROI). The analysis included evaluation of the spatial extent of potentially affected habitat; likely coral species to be affected, the susceptibility of their spawning characteristics to the effects of sedimentation, and overall sedimentation tolerance levels; and, based on analyses of these factors, concluded that there is little potential for sedimentation effects (if they occur) to have a negative impact on overall coral reproduction in Apra Harbor— both for areas that support live coral and also in those that do not. The FEIS cumulative impact assessment provides a sound characterization of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions in accordance with CEQ guidance. The absence of historical records on coral reef communities makes quantification of coral reef conditions in the postWWII era speculative. The FEIS cumulative impacts analysis describes available pertinent information on past, present and future projects and therefore addition of a new table would not increase available data. The FEIS defines the ROI for cumulative impacts to coral reef communities as Inner and Outer Apra Harbor because this area represents the likely extent of the Kilo Wharf project’s potential to contribute collective impacts. Miscellaneous Comments. There were numerous miscellaneous comments, including, but not limited to: comment that FEIS lacks information to evaluate finding of ‘‘no adverse impact to geological features’’ (NOAA Fisheries); GDOAG commented that a GDOAG permit is required for removal of coral; resource agencies requesting involvement in the Navy’s ROD development (USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); objections to the adequacy of the FEIS (USFWS, GDOAG), including PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 its description of the existing environment/lack of incorporation of resource agency data (USFWS), environmental consequences (USFWS), and the Navy’s lack of commitment to adequate compensatory mitigation (USFWS, GEPA). GDOAG commented that the FEIS lacked sufficient information and recommended development of a supplemental EIS. Commenters stated that the economic value of the Kilo Wharf coral reefs cited in the FEIS represent an incomplete valuation of impacted resources and are misleading (USFWS); objected to the FEIS’s characterization of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act consistency concurrence for the contingency mitigation actions (BSP); requested clarification on impacts to resident seabirds (GEPA); requested ciguatera sampling of representative fishes (GEPA); requested discussion of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (GEPA); stated that the Navy needs to consult with GDOAG and federal agencies regarding lighting specifications to help avoid or minimize potential impacts to threatened/ endangered species due to concern with impacts to sea turtle nesting from dredging operations, fuel spills at night, and ship wakes from larger vessels (GDOAG); stated that the FEIS does not sufficiently describe placement of security and perimeter lighting to determine potential impacts to nesting and hatchling turtles (GDOAG); commented that FEIS is unclear on how Navy will address potential invasive species introductions via hull fouling (TNC); requested expanded discussion of Guam’s water resources from a historical perspective (single commenter); and provided several factual corrections that do not affect the overall analysis or mitigation levels (GEPA, TNC). The permanent removal of the coral reef and placement of fill on the coral reef flat is addressed in Section 4.2.2.1. The FEIS text in this section states that this substrate is common in the ROI. Geologically, the reef flat and reef slope are common in the ROI. 5 GCA § 63602 and § 63603 is not applicable to this project because the Navy is not commercially harvesting or commercially taking the coral. By Navy policy, it does not include other agencies in development of its RODs. The FEIS includes the results and full reports of three Navy marine surveys, a resource agency survey, and a current monitoring/sediment transport computer modeling study. The FEIS addressed all the comments provided on the DEIS either in the body of the FEIS E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2008 / Notices or in responses included in Appendix B–4 of the FEIS. If there were topics or conclusions contained in the DEIS that were not commented on at that time, it was concluded that they were acceptable to the DEIS reviewers. The FEIS explained that different methods were used in the resource agency and Navy surveys and analyses and included the resource agency reports in their entirety for interested readers. The FEIS summarized the marine habitat impacts prepared by the resource agencies and their resulting HEA estimates of lost ecological services (i.e., acre-year losses). The resource agencies involved in the marine assessment and impact analysis that formed the basis for the HEA lost ecological services estimate included both Federal (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS) and GOVGUAM agencies (GDOAG, GEPA). The Navy has committed to funding or implementing compensatory mitigation to fully offset the levels of ecological services calculated by the resource agencies. Therefore, the Navy considers the level of information and analysis in the FEIS sufficient and that a supplemental EIS is unwarranted. The Navy agreed to fund/implement compensatory mitigation to offset lost ecological services (i.e., a service-toservice approach to scaling, rather than a valuation approach), commensurate with the HEA prepared by the resource agencies. The Van Beukering et al. (2007) study results cited in the FEIS have not been factored into compensatory mitigation scaling for the Kilo Wharf extension project, but were included in the EIS to illustrate that there are multiple approaches to estimating economic impacts of resource losses. The Navy’s completed Guam Coastal Management Program (GCMP) Assessment (FEIS Appendix P) evaluated the coastal zone consistency of wharf extension alternatives and the preferred and contingency mitigation plans. BSP’s concurrence letter (5 September 2007) does not exclude any specific aspects of the Navy’s determination or establish any preconditions for its concurrence. Orote Island, a recognized habitat for migratory birds, is too far away and sheltered by Orote Point to be impacted significantly by existing and proposed activities at Kilo Wharf. Accordingly, the assessment of Migratory Bird Treaty Act-protected species in the FEIS is sufficient and additional information on the status of resident migratory birds at Orote Island is not warranted. Requests for ciguatera testing were made by GEPA in response to the DEIS. The Navy responded at that time VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:53 Jan 08, 2008 Jkt 214001 (response in FEIS Appendix B–4 to DEIS comment T.4.7), the link between the incidence of reported cases of ciguatera and the occurrence of ‘‘new’’ surfaces underwater (as occurs with construction) has not been demonstrated, thus the need for such a monitoring program is not warranted. Furthermore, commercially available ciguatera test kits yield numerous false positives and could lead to a very inaccurate picture of conditions in a given area and whether there were increases in ciguatera incidence with the construction of the wharf. The FEIS (Sections 3.3.3, 4.3.2.1) notes that marine mammals are uncommon in Apra Harbor, including the Kilo Wharf vicinity. Because of this, the FEIS concludes that there is little potential for adverse construction noise impacts on these species (Sec. 4.3.2.1). Therefore, there is little potential for ‘‘taking’’ of marine mammals protected under the MMPA. The FEIS includes sufficient information to analyze potential impacts to sea turtles (e.g., description of new security floodlighting illumination power, general location of new lighting, site plan of the wharf extension and new access road). As described in both the DEIS and FEIS, there is no evidence in literature or from field survey that sea turtles have nested at the beaches at either end of Kilo Wharf, both recently and at the time of the original wharf construction. FEIS Sec. 4.3.3.1 describes potential construction period impacts on threatened and endangered species as well as BMPs that will be implemented during the construction period, which address both noise/light impacts and fuel spills. FEIS Section 4.3.3.2 concludes that none of the alternatives would impact threatened, endangered or protected marine species during the operational period, and that the operational and security lighting on the wharf will be at a lower illumination level than what is currently used on the wharf. There is little potential for wakes from T–AKE ships entering Apra Harbor to impact turtle nesting beaches since ships preparing to berth at Kilo Wharf enter the harbor at much slower speeds than ships heading for the commercial port or Inner Apra Harbor. The FEIS also notes that NOAA Fisheries concurred with Navy’s informal Section 7 consultation determination that effects on sea turtles would be insignificant and never reach the scale where take occurs. The Navy follows much stricter ballast water and hull cleaning procedures than most, if not all, the commercial and private vessels that use Apra Harbor. Since ships would berth in PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1609 Apra Harbor and at Kilo Wharf with or without the project, the proposed wharf extension would have no effect on marine introductions related to hull fouling, and thus, was not specifically addressed in the FEIS. Because the project does not have the potential to significantly affect Guam’s water resources, a comprehensive discussion of Guam’s water resources history is not warranted in the EIS. Summary: In determining how to provide adequate berthing for the T– AKE class of ammunition ship at AHNC, Guam, Mariana Islands, I considered impacts to the following areas: physical environment, land and water use, the social and economic environment, infrastructure and services, cultural resources, hazardous and regulated materials and waste, and biological resources. I have taken into consideration the Navy’s consultation with the NOAA Fisheries regarding endangered species and EFH, and the Guam SHPO regarding cultural resources. I have considered the comments sent to the Navy by Federal and Territorial resource agencies, other Federal and Territorial government agencies, and the public. I have considered the preferred and contingency mitigation projects. After carefully weighing all of these factors, I have determined that the West Extension Alternative, extension of Kilo Wharf by 400 ft (122 m) to the west, will best meet the needs of the Navy while also minimizing the environmental impacts associated with providing suitable facilities on Guam to accommodate the new class of ship. Dated: December 20, 2007. BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment). [FR Doc. E8–103 Filed 1–8–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY: Department of Education. SUMMARY: 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 February 8, 2008. ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, E:\FR\FM\09JAN1.SGM 09JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 6 (Wednesday, January 9, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 1602-1609]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-103]


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

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Navy


Record of Decision for Kilo Wharf Extension (MILCON P-502) at 
Apra Harbor Naval Complex, Guam, Mariana Islands

AGENCY: Department of the Navy, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of Record of Decision.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy announces its decision to extend 
Kilo Wharf by 400 feet (122 meters) to the west at Apra Harbor Naval 
Complex, Guam, Mariana Islands. The project includes dredging of reef 
flat and other marine habitats, construction of an additional mooring 
island, and improvements to the existing wharf. Improvements to the 
existing wharf include upgrades to the primary and secondary electrical 
power supply; upgraded lightning protection and grounding system; new 
electrical substation building, perimeter fencing, and floodlighting 
system; and seismic upgrades.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nora Macariola-See, Naval 
Facilities Engineering Command Pacific (Code EV2 NM), 258 Makalapa 
Drive, Suite 100, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134, telephone 808-472-1402.

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. Section 
4332(2)(c), and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality 
that implement NEPA procedures (40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 
1500-1508), the Department of the Navy (Navy) announces its decision to 
extend Kilo Wharf by 400 feet (ft) (122 meters [m]) to the west at Apra 
Harbor Naval Complex (AHNC), Guam, Mariana Islands. The proposed wharf 
extension will be accomplished as set out in the West Extension 
Alternative, described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement 
(FEIS) as the preferred alternative.
    Kilo Wharf is located within the AHNC in Outer Apra Harbor, and is 
the Department of Defense's (DoD's) only dedicated ammunition wharf in 
the Western Pacific Region. The Navy proposes to extend Kilo Wharf to 
provide adequate berthing facilities (including shore utilities and 
wharf-side handling area) to support a new class of ammunition ship 
that will replace existing ammunition ships currently forward deployed 
to the AHNC. The DoD is developing a new class of multi-purpose dry 
cargo/ammunition ship (designated as ``T-AKE''), scheduled to be in 
service in Guam in fiscal year 2010.
    The purpose of the Proposed Action is to ensure that Commander, 
Navy Region Marianas (COMNAVREGMARIANAS) continues to provide 
ammunition on and off loading capability in direct support of DoD 
strategic forward power projection and maintain the readiness of the 
Navy's operating forces in the Western Pacific region. 
COMNAVREGMARIANAS provides operational, fuel re-supply, ordnance, and 
other logistic support to Fleet units of the Pacific Region and 
operating forces of the Navy's Fifth and Seventh Fleets. The Proposed 
Action will enable COMNAVREGMARIANAS to provide adequate facilities for 
the new T-AKE vessels forward deployed to Guam in accordance with DoD 
technical design standards for safe and efficient ordnance loading/
offloading, in order to maintain its current support mission. The need 
for the Proposed Action is to ensure Kilo Wharf meets Facility Planning 
Criteria for Navy and Marine Corps Shore Installations (P-80) and 
Military Handbook 1025/1, Piers and Wharves criteria for berthing the 
T-AKE. There are no other suitable facilities on Guam available to 
accommodate this class of ammunition ship.
    Public Involvement: Public involvement is discussed in Section 1.6 
of the FEIS and summarized here. A Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS 
for the Proposed Action was published in the Federal Register (Vol. 70, 
No. 145, Page 43848) on 29 July 2005. Two public scoping meetings were 
held on Guam 30 August 2005 and 2 September 2005. The Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was filed with the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on 2 March 2007. A Notice of 
Availability of the DEIS was published in the Federal Register on 9 
March 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 46, Page 10749), initiating a 45-day public 
comment period which ended on 23 April 2007.
    A Notice of Public Hearing for the DEIS was published in the 
Federal Register (Vol. 72, No. 46, Page 10721) on 9 March 2007. A 
public hearing was held on Guam 28 March 2007 to provide Federal, 
Territorial, and local agencies and interested parties the opportunity 
to provide oral and written comments on the DEIS. The Navy considered 
relevant issues raised during the 45-day public comment period for the 
DEIS. The Navy received 11 written comment letters by agencies, 
organizations and interested individuals during the DEIS public comment 
period. Issues raised during the DEIS public comment period are 
summarized in Section 1.6 of the FEIS.
    The FEIS was filed with the USEPA on 11 October 2007. A Notice of 
Availability of the FEIS was published in the Federal Register on 19 
October 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 202, Page 59287), initiating a 30-day wait 
period (no action period) which ended on 19 November 2007. The FEIS 
included identification of the Preferred Alternative, best management 
practices (BMPs) and mitigation measures to reduce environmental 
consequences, and public and agency comments on the DEIS as well as 
responses to those comments.

[[Page 1603]]

    Alternatives Analyzed: The Navy initially evaluated a range of 
alternatives that would meet the purpose and need of the action and 
applied preliminary screening criteria to identify those that were 
``reasonable'' (i.e., practical and feasible from a military mission, 
operations, technical, and economic standpoint). The screening process 
and criteria were set out in the DEIS. A range of alternatives were 
initially considered, but not all were carried through the EIS analysis 
because they did not satisfy the screening criteria.
    Of the alternatives considered, the Navy determined that only two 
alternatives involving extension of the existing Kilo Wharf met the 
purpose and need and the preliminary screening criteria and were 
carried through the EIS analysis, in addition to the No Action 
Alternative. They are the ``West Extension Alternative'' and the 
``East-West Extension Alternative.'' Both alternatives would provide 
adequate berthing for the T-AKE in accordance with DoD technical design 
standards for safe and efficient ordnance loading/offloading. Rationale 
for elimination of the other alternatives considered are discussed in 
Section 2.2.3 of the FEIS.
    West Extension Alternative. Under this alternative, the existing 
wharf would be extended by 400 ft (122 m) to the west. This alternative 
would take about 26 months to construct, including approximately six 
months of dredging. In-water work would be limited to the west side of 
the existing wharf. An additional mooring island would be constructed 
on the reef flat to the west of the existing mooring island for 
construction period vessel mooring.
    The Navy selected the West Extension Alternative as its preferred 
alternative in large part because it best avoided and/or minimized 
potential environmental impacts, when compared with the other 
alternative considered that met the project objectives (i.e., the East-
West Extension Alternative). Furthermore, the West Extension 
Alternative would meet all technical and operational requirements for 
the project at a lower cost and shorter construction period than the 
East-West Extension Alternative.
    East-West Extension Alternative. This alternative would extend Kilo 
Wharf by 115 ft (35 m) to the east and 285 ft (87 m) to the west. This 
alternative would take about 28 months to construct including 
approximately eight months of dredging. In-water work would be 
necessary on both the west and east ends of the wharf, leading to a 
longer construction period with greater impacts on wharf operations. 
Two additional mooring islands would be constructed on the reef flat to 
the east and west of the existing mooring islands for construction 
period vessel mooring.
    No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, the T-AKE 
would replace the current ammunition ships forward-deployed to AHNC as 
planned, but would berth at the existing, substandard Kilo Wharf. The 
No Action Alternative assumes that the existing explosives safety 
quantity distance (ESQD) arcs originating from Kilo Wharf would be 
revised to meet current Navy standards, with or without extension of 
the wharf. The No Action Alternative provides the least environmental 
impacts because it would not involve any change to the physical 
environment. However, this alternative does not meet the purpose and 
need and is not operationally acceptable because it does not conform 
with Navy design criteria for ammunition wharves, would adversely 
impact ordnance operations efficiency, would not adequately provide 
electrical power, fire protection, lighting, telecommunications, and 
security surveillance for the T-AKE, and presents substantial 
challenges to properly secure the larger ship during rough sea 
conditions.
    Environmentally Preferred Alternative. Through the EIS analysis, 
the West Extension Alternative was found to be the environmentally 
preferable alternative of the alternatives that met the purpose and 
need of the proposed action and operational requirements. As described 
in the FEIS, the West Extension Alternative would have the same or 
similar impacts as the East-West Extension Alternative in most 
environmental resource areas analyzed in the EIS, with the following 
exceptions. The West Extension Alternative would result in fewer 
adverse impacts than the East-West Extension Alternative on: (1) Marine 
benthic habitats, specifically coral reef resources (smaller structural 
and sedimentation impact footprints, resulting in fewer ecological 
services lost); (2) Essential Fish Habitat (shorter duration of 
construction period impacts); and (3) land or water use constraints 
resulting from the variations in the wharf's ESQD arcs (East-West 
Extension Alternative ESQD arcs encumber 17 additional Navy family 
housing units and one additional dive/marine recreational site compared 
to the West Extension Alternative).
    Decision: After considering the potential environmental 
consequences of the operationally viable alternatives (West Extension 
Alternative and East-West Extension Alternative), and the No Action 
Alternative, the Navy has decided to implement the preferred 
alternative (West Extension Alternative) and extend Kilo Wharf 400 ft 
[122 m] to the west.
    Environmental Impacts. 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 FEIS provides a detailed discussion of impacts and mitigation 
measures. This ROD, however, focuses on the impacts associated with the 
West Extension Alternative.
    Physical Environment: Construction period dredging associated with 
the West Extension Alternative would generate total suspended sediment 
loads that temporarily exceed Guam Water Quality Standards for marine 
waters, but are anticipated to return to background levels rapidly 
after cessation of dredging. BMPs to avoid or minimize water quality 
impacts as described in Section 4.2.6.4 of the FEIS will be 
implemented. BMPs will include appropriate use of silt curtains, 
disposal of dredged materials at approved disposal sites, and water 
quality monitoring.
    The construction contractor will prepare a Storm Water Pollution 
Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a Storm Water Notice of Intent before work 
commences. The SWPPP will meet the Guam Environmental Protection Agency 
(GEPA) general permit requirements for storm water discharges from 
construction sites and select applicable BMPs. During the operational 
period, Kilo Wharf will be covered under a multi-sector general permit, 
which controls industrial discharges.
    No adverse operational period impacts to marine water quality are 
expected.
    Biological Resources: The West Extension Alternative would have 
unavoidable adverse impacts to approximately 4.75 acres (ac) (1.92 
hectares [ha]) of benthic habitat, including about 0.39 ac (0.16 ha) of 
high density live coral cover (i.e., ``coral reef communities''). This 
area of marine benthic habitat provides ecological services that would 
unavoidably be affected due to structural impacts from construction 
dredging and fill. Dredging-related sediment plumes have the potential 
to adversely affect marine habitats. The affected areas would be 
localized around the dredging site and primarily affect marine habitats 
with low coral cover. Sediment transport computer modeling indicated 
that the West Extension Alternative could generate adverse 
sedimentation levels potentially affecting about 1.69 ac (0.68

[[Page 1604]]

ha) to 14.88 ac (6.02 ha) of benthic habitat, including about 0.14 ac 
(0.06 ha) to 0.72 ac (0.29 ha) of coral reef communities, over the 
course of the dredging period, depending on dredging rate and 
environmental conditions present.
    There would be adverse impacts to coral reef biota due to the 
general loss of ecological services, including non-motile species 
within the construction impact area. The West Extension Alternative 
would pose low potential for adverse effects on overall coral 
reproduction in the region of influence, since the Navy will comply 
with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit conditions requiring 
that it avoid dredging activities during the peak spawning event on 
Guam, which is seven to ten days after the full moon in July, in 
consultation with Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources. 
Construction BMPs described in Section 4.3.1.1 of the FEIS will be 
implemented to minimize impacts on the coral reef communities.
    No adverse impacts on Federal- or Territory-listed protected 
species or sensitive environments are expected during construction or 
operation. The Navy conducted informal consultation with the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries 
Service (NOAA Fisheries) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA). The Navy determined that although threatened or endangered 
species (i.e., sea turtles) may be affected by the West Extension 
Alternative, they are not likely to be adversely affected. By letter 
dated 29 June 2007, NOAA Fisheries concurred with the Navy's 
determination (Appendix N of FEIS). The Navy will implement 
construction period BMPs to minimize the potential for adverse effects 
on sea turtles, as described in Section 4.3.3.1 of the FEIS.
    The Navy initiated formal Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation 
24 April 2007. The Navy concluded that the West Extension Alternative 
would have temporary adverse impacts on motile Fishery Management Plan 
species, eggs, and larvae due to dredging and in-water construction. 
NOAA Fisheries reviewed the EFH assessment and provided conservation 
recommendations dated 4 June 2007. The Navy supports the conservation 
recommendations provided 15 June 2007 with the following clarification: 
(1) The preferred mitigation is the Cetti Bay watershed reforestation; 
(2) success of the preferred mitigation will include performance 
measures with input from resource agencies; (3) dredging will be 
avoided during the peak coral spawning (seven to ten days after the 
July full moon); and (4) BMPs will be utilized to minimize impacts to 
corals. NOAA Fisheries conservation recommendations are addressed in 
the FEIS. The Navy's EFH assessment and correspondence with NOAA 
Fisheries are included in Appendix M of the FEIS.
    No adverse operational period impacts to the biological environment 
are anticipated from implementation of the West Extension Alternative. 
Ship berthing and unberthing procedures would be similar to that of the 
No Action Alternative and would continue with or without the wharf 
extension.
    Social and Economic Environment: The West Extension Alternative 
would not increase the number of family housing units or dive sites 
encumbered by the ESQD arcs above the No Action Alternative levels.
    Cultural Resources: No impacts to cultural resources are expected. 
Guam State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) concurred with the 
Navy's determination of ``no historic properties affected'' (See 
Appendix O of FEIS for correspondence with Guam SHPO).
    The West Extension Alternative presents no significant impacts to 
climate and air quality; geology, seismology, soils and marine 
sediments; ambient noise; physical oceanography; groundwater quality; 
invasive species; terrestrial flora and fauna; aesthetics/visual 
environment; economics; social and demographic factors; infrastructure 
and services; and hazardous and regulated materials and waste.
    Mitigation Measures. The Navy will implement BMPs during 
construction and operation of the West Extension Alternative to avoid 
or minimize adverse environmental impacts. Because the West Extension 
Alternative will result in unavoidable adverse environmental impacts, 
primarily to the marine environment, the Navy will also fund or 
implement compensatory mitigation to provide substitute resources or 
environments for those ecological services expected to be lost.
    In coordination with Federal and Government of Guam (GOVGUAM) 
resource agencies, the habitat equivalency analysis (HEA) process was 
used to estimate the spatial and temporal ecological service losses to 
marine benthic habitats resulting from the West Extension Alternative 
and identify appropriate levels of mitigation to compensate for the 
losses. Independent but coordinated HEA analyses were conducted by both 
the resource agencies and the Navy.
    Findings from both HEAs indicated similar levels of ecological 
services lost for the West Extension Alternative: the resource agency 
HEA estimated losses of 102 acre-years and the Navy estimated 116 acre-
years of lost ecological services in its HEA. The HEA resulted in 102-
116 acre-years.
    Selection, scaling and implementation of appropriate compensatory 
mitigation actions are being carried out in consultation with USACE, 
NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USEPA, and 
GOVGUAM resource agencies. A USACE permit would be required for the 
West Extension Alternative for alteration of navigable waters and 
discharge of fill material into the water (caisson and construction 
mooring islands). This permit is the vehicle through which compensatory 
mitigation would be implemented. The Navy has coordinated with the 
resource agencies to develop a Mitigation Plan to satisfactorily meet 
the USACE permit requirements. The Navy and resource agencies have 
agreed on the general concepts of the Mitigation Plan.
    Before, during, and after construction, additional data would be 
collected on physical, chemical and biological factors in the vicinity 
of the construction project and used in post-construction monitoring 
and analysis. The Navy is developing the details of this monitoring 
plan, which will be submitted in the USACE permit process.
    Preferred Mitigation. The Cetti Bay watershed reforestation project 
is the Navy's preferred mitigation action. It was proposed by GOVGUAM 
based on HEA principles (i.e., identifying lost ecological services to 
be replaced). Although there is no direct correlation between the 
number of lost acre years of coral and number of acres to be reforested 
as compensatory mitigation, a mutual consensus was reached between Navy 
and GOVGUAM that the Cetti Bay watershed reforestation project will 
consist of reforestation of up to 500 ac (202 ha) of savanna grasslands 
and/or badlands within the Cetti Bay watershed, located on the 
southwestern coast of Guam, approximately 9 miles (14.4 kilometers) 
south of Apra Harbor. As stated in the Guam Department of Agriculture 
(GDOAG) reforestation plan, the bay's coral reef resources have been 
heavily degraded over the past few decades. One of the factors is 
believed to be upland erosion caused primarily by road construction, 
wildland fires, and feral ungulates (unrelated to Navy activities). 
Reforestation of the savanna grasslands and/or badlands within the 
Cetti Bay Watershed will reduce terrigenous sediment loads entering 
Cetti Bay, thereby improving water quality. This may have an indirect 
beneficial effect on the coral reef habitat

[[Page 1605]]

in the receiving waters. Reducing sediment flow is intended to support 
and enhance the terrestrial and marine ecosystems, including fish and 
wildlife habitat within Cetti Bay and the Cetti Bay watershed. The 
following provides examples of the actions included in the 
reforestation project: (1) Conversion of savanna grasslands and/or 
badlands to forest lands around Cetti Bay; (2) reforestation of the 
area's badlands; (3) fencing of identified reforested areas to provide 
ungulate control; and (4) implementation of erosion BMPs.
    Performance standards for the Cetti Bay reforestation projects will 
not be tied to coral health improvement. Coral health monitoring 
conducted in Cetti Bay will not trigger a requirement for additional 
Navy mitigation action.
    GDOAG will be responsible for the implementation and long term 
management of the reforestation projects. A cooperative agreement 
between the Navy and GDOAG will be executed to authorize the transfer 
of Navy funds to GDOAG; therefore an appropriate real estate agreement 
between the Navy and GOVGUAM is required for the Cetti Bay parcel Lot 
No. 275, which is the area that will be reforested. The Navy will fund 
a third party contractor to conduct the terrestrial and marine 
monitoring at Cetti Bay as prescribed in the Mitigation Plan.
    The USACE's Permit mitigation procedures call for identification of 
a contingency mitigation project. The USACE permit would identify 
specific requirements associated with the preferred mitigation; 
however, failure to meet the requirements would trigger implementation 
of the contingency mitigation. An example of such a requirement would 
be that GOVGUAM provides real estate protection in perpetuity to the 
Cetti Bay mitigation site as described in USACE's DEIS comment letter 
in Appendix B-4 of the FEIS. Accordingly, the Navy, with USACE support, 
identified a contingency mitigation plan.
    Contingency Mitigation. The contingency mitigation plan consists of 
four components: Ordnance Annex Watershed Afforestation; Outer Apra 
Harbor Deep Water Substrate; Coral Reef Ecosystem Protection at Orote 
Point Ecological Reserve Area (ERA); and Shallow Water Reef 
Enhancement. Should it be required, by the USACE, to implement the 
contingency mitigation plan, all four of the components would be 
implemented. The deep water substrate component alone would provide 
levels of ecological services equivalent to the estimated acre-year 
losses. Therefore, the combined actions would provide benefits that 
would more than offset the estimated ecological service losses due to 
the West Extension Alternative.
    Ordnance Annex Watershed Afforestation. The Navy will conduct 
watershed afforestation of approximately 150 ac (60 ha) of savanna 
grassland vegetation in approximately 50 ac increments over a 3-year 
period within the northeastern portion of the Navy's Ordnance Annex. 
Afforestation will help reduce excessive terrigenous sediment loads 
entering Talofofo Bay, thereby improve water quality and support and 
enhance the terrestrial and marine ecosystems. This may have an 
indirect beneficial effect on coral reef habitat in the Bay.
    Outer Apra Harbor Deep Water Substrate. The Navy will place 
concrete or limestone block substrate in specific locations in Outer 
Apra Harbor to offset habitat losses from implementation of the West 
Extension Alternative. Four sites (Glass Breakwater, Kilo Wharf, San 
Luis Beach, and Sasa Bay) have been evaluated as candidate deep water 
substrate sites. The substrate will increase overall biomass and 
provide new benthic habitat. This mitigation component has been scaled 
such that if it were to be the sole mitigation project implemented, it 
would fully offset the ecological services lost due to the West 
Extension Alternative.
    Coral Reef Ecosystem Protection at Orote Point ERA. The Navy will 
expand the Orote ERA Area Marine Unit to include approximately 80 ac 
(32 ha) of Navy-owned submerged lands around Orote Point to Adotgan 
Point area, and approximately 32 acres (13 ha) of the Terrestrial Unit 
including the beaches and limestone forest area inland from the Marine 
Unit. The expanded Marine Unit would include shallow water benthic 
habitat around Orote Point that contains both hard and soft corals. The 
Navy will modify the management plan for the Orote ERA to restrict 
fishing and other types of consumptive activities that could 
potentially adversely affect EFH.
    Shallow Water Reef Enhancement. The Navy will transplant corals 
that would be directly impacted by the wharf extension to several new 
sites on Navy submerged lands in Outer Apra Harbor. Navy will enter 
into an agreement with a qualified organization to physically move and 
transplant as much live coral as feasible to sites on Navy-owned lands. 
Project will focus on transplanting large specimens. A detailed 
transplanting plan will be prepared which will include methods for 
moving large colonies, techniques for stabilizing colonies at the 
transplant sites, and a monitoring protocol.
    Since the contingency mitigation projects would take place wholly 
within Navy lands (including submerged lands), the Navy would be 
responsible for their monitoring and maintenance.
    Agency Consultation and Coordination: The Navy consulted and 
coordinated with Federal and GOVGUAM resource agencies regarding: (1) 
ESA Section 7 consultation with NOAA Fisheries; (2) Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act consultation with NOAA 
Fisheries; (3) Section 106 consultation under the National Historic 
Preservation Act of 1966 with the Guam SHPO; and (4) Coastal Zone 
Management Act consistency determination with GOVGUAM Bureau of 
Statistics and Plans (BSP). Correspondence relating to these 
consultations is found in Appendices M, N, O and P of the FEIS. In 
addition, the Navy invited three Federal agencies to be cooperating 
agencies in the preparation of the EIS: USACE, NOAA Fisheries, and 
USFWS. Of the three agencies, only the USACE agreed to be a cooperating 
agency. Appendix A of the FEIS contains correspondence with USACE and 
the other Federal agencies invited to be cooperating agencies.
    The FEIS includes an evaluation of potential impacts of 
implementing the preferred and contingency mitigation projects. In 
general, the watershed mitigation projects would have a beneficial 
effect on the environment by reducing erosion and sediment loading in 
surface and nearshore waters, thereby improving water quality. This may 
have an indirect beneficial effect on coral reef habitats in the 
receiving waters. The contingency mitigation projects would have direct 
beneficial effects on the marine environment either through habitat 
replacement (Deep Water Substrate and Shallow Water Reef Enhancement) 
or conservation (Orote ERA Expansion). The preferred and contingency 
mitigation projects would not adversely affect protected species or 
historic or cultural sites and, overall, would have beneficial effects 
on Guam's coastal management zone. GOVGUAM BSP concurred with the 
Navy's consistency determination that the proposed action and 
associated mitigation actions would be consistent to the maximum extent 
practicable with the enforceable policies of Guam's approved Coastal 
Management Program.
    Responses To Comments Received On the FEIS: Four Federal agencies 
(USACE, USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS), three GOVGUAM agencies (GDOAG, 
GEPA, BSP), one organization

[[Page 1606]]

(The Nature Conservancy [TNC]) and a single commenter provided comment 
letters. Substantive comments are addressed below by topic.
    Purpose and Need: Alternatives: NOAA Fisheries recommended 
reconciling inconsistencies in justifying the purpose and need for the 
proposed action and suggested that the descriptions of the No Action 
Alternative were inadequate for full evaluation. USFWS commented that 
the project's purpose and need do not support the proposed action. 
GDOAG and TNC commented that the proposed action is not economically 
justified.
    The FEIS states that the No Action Alternative would not achieve 
the project objectives and COMNAVREGMARIANAS would not meet its mission 
to provide adequate waterfront facilities to replenish U.S. Fifth and 
Seventh Fleets. The FEIS explains that the action is needed because 
Kilo Wharf is inadequate to support the T-AKE and there are no other 
suitable facilities on Guam. The FEIS also states that although the No 
Action Alternative does not meet project objectives and is considered 
operationally unacceptable (for reasons described in the FEIS and 
earlier in this ROD), it provides a baseline to evaluate effects of the 
West Extension Alternative and East-West Extension Alternative. The 
decision to proceed with a proposed action is not made solely upon 
economic justification. Environmental, economic, and other factors were 
considered along with the operational need for the wharf extension in 
the decision-making process.
    Compensatory Mitigation. USACE identified the required contents of 
the Navy's mitigation plan, which will be submitted in conjunction with 
the project's necessary Department of the Army permit. USEPA commented 
that the monitoring would be underfunded and not enable measurements of 
success. The Navy is coordinating with the resource agencies to develop 
a Mitigation Plan that will satisfy USACE mitigation and monitoring 
requirements. The Mitigation Plan will be submitted with the permit 
application package.
    USEPA, GDOAG, and GEPA expressed concern over the Navy's timetable 
for reaching an acceptable agreement with the resource agencies on the 
preferred Cetti Bay watershed mitigation and questioned the Navy's 
commitment to this project. TNC commented that the Cetti Bay watershed 
mitigation is the only acceptable mitigation option. The Navy's 
preferred mitigation is the Cetti Watershed reforestation. The Navy and 
resource agencies have agreed on the general concepts of the Cetti 
Watershed reforestation plan to be submitted during the permitting 
process.
    USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, GDOAG, and BSP expressed concerns 
over the adequacy of the Navy's contingency mitigation plan to offset 
lost ecological impacts. USFWS requested agency coordination if the 
contingency mitigation had to be implemented. Commenters requested that 
the Navy implement the Ordnance Annex afforestation (BSP, TNC), Orote 
ERA expansion (TNC), and coral transplantation (BSP, TNC) either as 
part of its natural resources management stewardship or as a BMP and 
not as compensatory mitigation. BSP requested that the Navy discuss the 
Orote ERA expansion with resource agencies to resolve concerns about 
the imposition of planned fishing restrictions associated with the 
expansion.
    The contingency mitigation plan is not the Navy's preferred 
mitigation, and would only be implemented if the preferred Cetti Bay 
watershed reforestation project does not proceed. It was developed in 
compliance with the USACE, whose mitigation requirements necessitate a 
contingency mitigation plan in the event the preferred plan is not 
implementable in accordance with USACE guidelines. The FEIS provides 
the rationale for each of the contingency mitigation components and 
describes their likely benefits to the environment. The deep water 
substrate component has been scaled such that if it were to be the sole 
mitigation project implemented, it would fully offset the ecological 
services lost due to the West Extension Alternative; the other three 
contingency mitigation components would provide additional ecological 
benefits. The Navy presented its contingency mitigation plan for 
resource agency comment prior to publication of the FEIS. Although the 
resource agencies indicated they did not support creation of artificial 
substrate, they did not provide alternatives for consideration. In its 
DEIS comment letter of 23 April 2007, the USACE stated that introducing 
deep water substrate at more than one location within Apra Harbor would 
``provide appropriate substrate that would rapidly be colonized by 
Porites, macro-algae, and other organisms similar to those found in the 
deeper areas on the impacted site, and thereby provide perpetual reef 
habitat.'' Access to the Orote ERA is already restricted by its 
location within an active Navy base and ordnance handling activities in 
Kilo Wharf; therefore, any fishing restriction within the ERA will be 
enforced because of security and safety issues.
    Marine Biological Environment-Existing Environment. Commenters 
questioned the Navy's benthic habitat mapping methodology (NOAA 
Fisheries) and its characterization of certain benthic habitats and 
resources (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); claimed that the Navy too narrowly 
defined the coral reef community (NOAA Fisheries; GDOAG) and 
undervalued the affected marine habitats (NOAA Fisheries); requested 
the analysis incorporate more of the resource agencies' survey data in 
describing the affected marine resources (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); 
suggested a correction to the table comparing resource agency and Navy 
quantitative coral data (USFWS); commented that the FEIS does not 
provide an analysis of coral reef resources at Kilo Wharf in terms of 
contributions (e.g., reproduction, genetic diversity, future survival) 
to other coral reef resources within Apra Harbor (USFWS); and objected 
to the representation of the resource agencies' marine biological 
assessment in the FEIS (NOAA Fisheries, USFWS).
    The Navy's benthic habitat mapping methodologies were derived from 
the scientific literature and are described in the relevant studies, 
which were provided to the resource agencies prior to their in-water 
surveys and prior to inclusion in the DEIS. The EIS discusses the 
objectives and limitations of various approaches to assessing and 
characterizing benthic habitat data. The result of both methodologies 
utilized resulted in very close HEA results in acre-years. While all 
details of the technical reports (in the Appendices) are not reiterated 
in the FEIS, an adequate amount of information is presented to support 
the overall conclusions. The FEIS discussion of the resource agencies' 
assessment was not intended to undermine or criticize the data 
presented or methods employed. The purpose was to provide a general 
summary of the resource agencies' methods and findings, with attention 
to similarities and differences between the Navy and resource agency 
studies. FEIS reviewers were also encouraged to review the full reports 
appended to the FEIS. Despite the different approaches used to gather 
and present existing conditions data, the conclusions reached were 
similar. The resource agencies' and Navy's HEA projections of lost 
ecological services at Kilo Wharf were similar.
    The FEIS describes the other (non-coral) components of coral reef 
benthic community and states that all the habitats provide ecological 
services. The

[[Page 1607]]

FEIS does explore the affected habitats; the results of the resource 
agencies' impact analysis and HEA are referenced and summarized in the 
FEIS text and received full evaluation. Complete reports are included 
as appendices. Both HEA results included estimates of the range of 
ecological services lost on all potentially impacted marine benthic 
habitats. The Navy is committed to providing full compensatory 
mitigation to offset lost ecological services estimated by the resource 
agencies' HEA.
    Although it would not affect the analysis or findings of the FEIS, 
Table 3-9 should have been entitled ``Comparison of Coral Cover by 
Resource Agency and Navy Zones'' to avoid confusion.
    The Navy recognizes that more than one approach may be employed to 
gather and present existing conditions data and to predict marine 
habitat impacts. It is currently working with Federal resource agencies 
to establish data gathering and pre- and post-construction monitoring 
protocols for future Navy projects (e.g., NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem 
Division-sponsored Guam Monitoring Protocols Workshop held in December 
2007).
    Marine Biological Environment-Environmental Consequences. 
Commenters questioned the findings of the sediment transport numerical 
model and associated sedimentation impact analysis (NOAA Fisheries, 
USFWS) and its threshold values for impacts (USFWS); requested 
clarification of BMPs for silt curtains, a definition of ``sensitive 
coral habitat'' in a BMP, and modification of a BMP to ensure that 
control measures are in place and functioning properly throughout each 
work shift (NOAA Fisheries); raised the issue of impacts from the 
release of sediment-entrained metals into the water column (NOAA 
Fisheries); commented that the construction period (GDOAG) and 
operational impacts of tugboats on benthic habitats were not considered 
(NOAA Fisheries); recommended use of coral densities and sizes rather 
than coral cover in the analysis (NOAA Fisheries); objected to the 
analysis of coral spawning and recruitment impacts (NOAA Fisheries, 
USFWS, GDOAG, BSP, TNC) and suggested that suspension of dredging 
operations should occur over an expanded timeframe (BSP, TNC); 
questioned the water chemistry study methodology (NOAA Fisheries; 
GEPA); raised the issue of the lack of nighttime surveys for mobile 
invertebrates (NOAA Fisheries); disagreed with the impact analysis for 
the loss of vertical slope (GEPA); requested reevaluation of indirect 
long-term adverse impacts (GDOAG); requested compliance with stormwater 
BMPs in CNMI and Guam Stormwater Management Manual (GEPA); expressed 
concern that the FEIS minimizes impacts by considering only high coral 
cover areas (NOAA Fisheries, TNC); and requested that the impact 
analysis should include habitat types with little or no live coral 
coverage (TNC).
    The water current data sampling period and meter placement provided 
the necessary information for the sediment transport model, including 
surface water movement. Wave effects are important only in shallow 
water and would likely inhibit sediment deposition through increased 
water motion. The study adopted a conservative (i.e., ``worst case'') 
strategy by not including these effects in the model. Because the 
harbor floor, as well as cover of the reef flats, consists of sediment 
similar to dredging-related sediments, once the dredging-related 
sediment is dispersed by currents, there is likely to be no difference 
in the sedimentation impacts compared to the present situation. The 
marine ecosystem impact analysis prepared for the EIS included a 
thorough review of the existing scientific literature of sedimentation 
impacts to coral, and used a conservative threshold value to estimate 
impacts. The Navy reviewed an article on ``marine snow'' cited in the 
USFWS comments for relevance to the potential sedimentation impacts to 
corals. The Navy concluded that because riverine muds and high nutrient 
water (which were key factors in the experiment reported in the 
article) are not components in the Kilo Wharf setting, the article's 
findings do not warrant the examination of lower threshold dredging-
related sedimentation concentrations on coral reefs. In spite of the 
diverging views on the Navy's sediment transport modeling and 
associated impacts, the FEIS included the conclusions of the resource 
agencies' impact assessment and HEA, which included their projections 
of sedimentation effects on benthic organisms.
    BMPs to avoid or minimize water quality impacts and impacts to 
coral reef habitats during construction are discussed in the FEIS. BMPs 
that will be required as conditions to the USACE permit will be 
addressed in the Mitigation Plan through the permitting process.
    The FEIS lists metals that were reported in sediment tested at the 
project site, and also reports that they were reported at 
concentrations below the ER-L (effects range low). The text further 
states that these metals are likely to adhere to sediment which will 
resettle with the sediment rather than be released into the water 
column. Since the concentrations were below ER-L, these conditions are 
not elevated above what would be considered normal levels. In addition, 
these sediments presently exist in the harbor, therefore, any effect to 
fish or invertebrates would already be occurring. Presently, there are 
no documented indications that the metal concentrations would lead to 
blooms. As storm events resuspend sediments normally, any effects would 
be part of ongoing processes.
    The FEIS discusses potential operational period impacts of tug 
boats in Section 4.3.1.1. Tug boat operations were not addressed in the 
construction period impact analysis because they are not considered a 
new activity related to construction. Tug boats already operate on an 
ongoing basis at the wharf, supporting ships far larger than a dredging 
construction barge.
    The FEIS addressed the varying methods and included the resource 
agencies' survey in its entirety as an appendix in the interest of full 
disclosure.
    The FEIS provides rationale for the conclusion that the project 
dredging is not likely to have adverse or significant direct or 
indirect impacts on the long-term reproductive potential and structure 
of the coral community in Apra Harbor. The consideration of the effects 
of sedimentation to corals was based on the resource agencies' species 
list and not on percent live coral in order to make all corals that 
were noted to occur essentially equal in terms of spawning potential. 
To further reduce potential adverse impacts, the Navy has committed to 
avoid dredging activities during the peak coral spawning period on Guam 
(seven to ten days after the full moon in July in consultation with 
GDAWR) in accordance with U.S. Coral Reef Task Force guidance and USACE 
permit conditions.
    While replicate water chemistry sampling would have provided 
additional information on seasonal variations, the baseline water 
chemistry study results showed that the waters in the vicinity of the 
wharf are basically oceanic with a small indication of effect from 
draining of inner harbor water seaward, and water moving from land 
toward the center of the harbor. The Navy will implement a water 
quality monitoring plan, which will include a pre-construction 
component, as well as control stations. The Navy will also comply with 
the conditions of USACE permits required for the project.

[[Page 1608]]

    Nighttime surveys for benthic invertebrates may have produced 
higher counts. However, the FEIS summarized the results of the resource 
agency-prepared marine benthic impact analysis and levels of 
corresponding compensatory mitigation, which the Navy has agreed to 
implement or fund. The HEA process, which both the Navy and resource 
agencies utilized, accounts for habitat or ecosystem losses which would 
include the broad matrix of marine flora and fauna associated with the 
underlying coral reef resource.
    The FEIS notes that the loss of the vertical wall created by the 
original Kilo Wharf construction dredging would be replaced by similar, 
hard vertical substrate. The construction mooring island was not 
considered as part of the mitigation for ecological services lost, 
although it too would provide vertical substrate. Habitat removed or 
covered by both the construction mooring island and new shore 
protection was factored into the acre-year loss estimates for which the 
Navy will implement or fund compensatory mitigation.
    The EIS states that should sedimentation effects occur, the 
affected habitats are able to recover over time when the stressor is 
removed, although species composition may be affected. This is 
evidenced by the healthy condition of the coral reefs that were 
adversely affected by sedimentation from the original Kilo Wharf 
construction (i.e., west and east of the existing wharf). Reevaluation 
of indirect long-term adverse impacts is not necessary because the FEIS 
reports the results of the resource agencies' impact analysis and HEA. 
These results considered the resource agencies' estimated sedimentation 
effects west of the project area, extending to Orote Island.
    The Navy will consider the recommendations of the CNMI and Guam 
Stormwater Management Manual after a final report is issued. The Navy 
will comply with its NPDES permit regulations regarding stormwater 
runoff at the expanded wharf.
    The ecological services lost estimated in both the Navy and 
resource agency HEAs accounted for all habitat types impacted and not 
only those with high coral cover. The Navy will fund or implement 
mitigation commensurate with the total lost ecological services (both 
spatial and temporal) identified by the resource agencies. The Cetti 
Bay watershed reforestation is the Navy's preferred mitigation. The 
Navy is working collaboratively with the resource agencies on the 
details of the preferred mitigation plan.
    Cumulative Impacts. Commenters requested expanded analysis of 
cumulative effects of dredging on coral spawning in Apra Harbor (NOAA 
Fisheries); commented on the adequacy of cumulative impact analysis 
(NOAA Fisheries; TNC) and quantified data on the historical coral reef 
resources in Apra Harbor (NOAA Fisheries); requested the addition of a 
table containing the amount of actual direct and indirect impacts on 
coral reef communities and land/water use (GDOAG); and commented that 
the analysis should be considered in the context of reef decline 
worldwide, U.S. and on Guam (BSP).
    The FEIS described the likely effects of in-water construction on 
coral spawning and subsequent recruitment of planulae to the coral 
community within the region of influence (ROI). The analysis included 
evaluation of the spatial extent of potentially affected habitat; 
likely coral species to be affected, the susceptibility of their 
spawning characteristics to the effects of sedimentation, and overall 
sedimentation tolerance levels; and, based on analyses of these 
factors, concluded that there is little potential for sedimentation 
effects (if they occur) to have a negative impact on overall coral 
reproduction in Apra Harbor--both for areas that support live coral and 
also in those that do not.
    The FEIS cumulative impact assessment provides a sound 
characterization of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future 
actions in accordance with CEQ guidance. The absence of historical 
records on coral reef communities makes quantification of coral reef 
conditions in the post-WWII era speculative. The FEIS cumulative 
impacts analysis describes available pertinent information on past, 
present and future projects and therefore addition of a new table would 
not increase available data. The FEIS defines the ROI for cumulative 
impacts to coral reef communities as Inner and Outer Apra Harbor 
because this area represents the likely extent of the Kilo Wharf 
project's potential to contribute collective impacts.
    Miscellaneous Comments. There were numerous miscellaneous comments, 
including, but not limited to: comment that FEIS lacks information to 
evaluate finding of ``no adverse impact to geological features'' (NOAA 
Fisheries); GDOAG commented that a GDOAG permit is required for removal 
of coral; resource agencies requesting involvement in the Navy's ROD 
development (USEPA, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS); objections to the adequacy 
of the FEIS (USFWS, GDOAG), including its description of the existing 
environment/lack of incorporation of resource agency data (USFWS), 
environmental consequences (USFWS), and the Navy's lack of commitment 
to adequate compensatory mitigation (USFWS, GEPA). GDOAG commented that 
the FEIS lacked sufficient information and recommended development of a 
supplemental EIS. Commenters stated that the economic value of the Kilo 
Wharf coral reefs cited in the FEIS represent an incomplete valuation 
of impacted resources and are misleading (USFWS); objected to the 
FEIS's characterization of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act 
consistency concurrence for the contingency mitigation actions (BSP); 
requested clarification on impacts to resident seabirds (GEPA); 
requested ciguatera sampling of representative fishes (GEPA); requested 
discussion of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (GEPA); stated that 
the Navy needs to consult with GDOAG and federal agencies regarding 
lighting specifications to help avoid or minimize potential impacts to 
threatened/endangered species due to concern with impacts to sea turtle 
nesting from dredging operations, fuel spills at night, and ship wakes 
from larger vessels (GDOAG); stated that the FEIS does not sufficiently 
describe placement of security and perimeter lighting to determine 
potential impacts to nesting and hatchling turtles (GDOAG); commented 
that FEIS is unclear on how Navy will address potential invasive 
species introductions via hull fouling (TNC); requested expanded 
discussion of Guam's water resources from a historical perspective 
(single commenter); and provided several factual corrections that do 
not affect the overall analysis or mitigation levels (GEPA, TNC).
    The permanent removal of the coral reef and placement of fill on 
the coral reef flat is addressed in Section 4.2.2.1. The FEIS text in 
this section states that this substrate is common in the ROI. 
Geologically, the reef flat and reef slope are common in the ROI.
    5 GCA Sec.  63602 and Sec.  63603 is not applicable to this project 
because the Navy is not commercially harvesting or commercially taking 
the coral.
    By Navy policy, it does not include other agencies in development 
of its RODs.
    The FEIS includes the results and full reports of three Navy marine 
surveys, a resource agency survey, and a current monitoring/sediment 
transport computer modeling study. The FEIS addressed all the comments 
provided on the DEIS either in the body of the FEIS

[[Page 1609]]

or in responses included in Appendix B-4 of the FEIS. If there were 
topics or conclusions contained in the DEIS that were not commented on 
at that time, it was concluded that they were acceptable to the DEIS 
reviewers. The FEIS explained that different methods were used in the 
resource agency and Navy surveys and analyses and included the resource 
agency reports in their entirety for interested readers. The FEIS 
summarized the marine habitat impacts prepared by the resource agencies 
and their resulting HEA estimates of lost ecological services (i.e., 
acre-year losses). The resource agencies involved in the marine 
assessment and impact analysis that formed the basis for the HEA lost 
ecological services estimate included both Federal (NOAA Fisheries, 
USFWS) and GOVGUAM agencies (GDOAG, GEPA). The Navy has committed to 
funding or implementing compensatory mitigation to fully offset the 
levels of ecological services calculated by the resource agencies. 
Therefore, the Navy considers the level of information and analysis in 
the FEIS sufficient and that a supplemental EIS is unwarranted.
    The Navy agreed to fund/implement compensatory mitigation to offset 
lost ecological services (i.e., a service-to-service approach to 
scaling, rather than a valuation approach), commensurate with the HEA 
prepared by the resource agencies. The Van Beukering et al. (2007) 
study results cited in the FEIS have not been factored into 
compensatory mitigation scaling for the Kilo Wharf extension project, 
but were included in the EIS to illustrate that there are multiple 
approaches to estimating economic impacts of resource losses.
    The Navy's completed Guam Coastal Management Program (GCMP) 
Assessment (FEIS Appendix P) evaluated the coastal zone consistency of 
wharf extension alternatives and the preferred and contingency 
mitigation plans. BSP's concurrence letter (5 September 2007) does not 
exclude any specific aspects of the Navy's determination or establish 
any preconditions for its concurrence.
    Orote Island, a recognized habitat for migratory birds, is too far 
away and sheltered by Orote Point to be impacted significantly by 
existing and proposed activities at Kilo Wharf. Accordingly, the 
assessment of Migratory Bird Treaty Act-protected species in the FEIS 
is sufficient and additional information on the status of resident 
migratory birds at Orote Island is not warranted.
    Requests for ciguatera testing were made by GEPA in response to the 
DEIS. The Navy responded at that time (response in FEIS Appendix B-4 to 
DEIS comment T.4.7), the link between the incidence of reported cases 
of ciguatera and the occurrence of ``new'' surfaces underwater (as 
occurs with construction) has not been demonstrated, thus the need for 
such a monitoring program is not warranted. Furthermore, commercially 
available ciguatera test kits yield numerous false positives and could 
lead to a very inaccurate picture of conditions in a given area and 
whether there were increases in ciguatera incidence with the 
construction of the wharf.
    The FEIS (Sections 3.3.3, 4.3.2.1) notes that marine mammals are 
uncommon in Apra Harbor, including the Kilo Wharf vicinity. Because of 
this, the FEIS concludes that there is little potential for adverse 
construction noise impacts on these species (Sec. 4.3.2.1). Therefore, 
there is little potential for ``taking'' of marine mammals protected 
under the MMPA.
    The FEIS includes sufficient information to analyze potential 
impacts to sea turtles (e.g., description of new security floodlighting 
illumination power, general location of new lighting, site plan of the 
wharf extension and new access road). As described in both the DEIS and 
FEIS, there is no evidence in literature or from field survey that sea 
turtles have nested at the beaches at either end of Kilo Wharf, both 
recently and at the time of the original wharf construction. FEIS Sec. 
4.3.3.1 describes potential construction period impacts on threatened 
and endangered species as well as BMPs that will be implemented during 
the construction period, which address both noise/light impacts and 
fuel spills. FEIS Section 4.3.3.2 concludes that none of the 
alternatives would impact threatened, endangered or protected marine 
species during the operational period, and that the operational and 
security lighting on the wharf will be at a lower illumination level 
than what is currently used on the wharf. There is little potential for 
wakes from T-AKE ships entering Apra Harbor to impact turtle nesting 
beaches since ships preparing to berth at Kilo Wharf enter the harbor 
at much slower speeds than ships heading for the commercial port or 
Inner Apra Harbor. The FEIS also notes that NOAA Fisheries concurred 
with Navy's informal Section 7 consultation determination that effects 
on sea turtles would be insignificant and never reach the scale where 
take occurs.
    The Navy follows much stricter ballast water and hull cleaning 
procedures than most, if not all, the commercial and private vessels 
that use Apra Harbor. Since ships would berth in Apra Harbor and at 
Kilo Wharf with or without the project, the proposed wharf extension 
would have no effect on marine introductions related to hull fouling, 
and thus, was not specifically addressed in the FEIS.
    Because the project does not have the potential to significantly 
affect Guam's water resources, a comprehensive discussion of Guam's 
water resources history is not warranted in the EIS.
    Summary: In determining how to provide adequate berthing for the T-
AKE class of ammunition ship at AHNC, Guam, Mariana Islands, I 
considered impacts to the following areas: physical environment, land 
and water use, the social and economic environment, infrastructure and 
services, cultural resources, hazardous and regulated materials and 
waste, and biological resources. I have taken into consideration the 
Navy's consultation with the NOAA Fisheries regarding endangered 
species and EFH, and the Guam SHPO regarding cultural resources. I have 
considered the comments sent to the Navy by Federal and Territorial 
resource agencies, other Federal and Territorial government agencies, 
and the public. I have considered the preferred and contingency 
mitigation projects. After carefully weighing all of these factors, I 
have determined that the West Extension Alternative, extension of Kilo 
Wharf by 400 ft (122 m) to the west, will best meet the needs of the 
Navy while also minimizing the environmental impacts associated with 
providing suitable facilities on Guam to accommodate the new class of 
ship.

    Dated: December 20, 2007.
BJ Penn,
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment).
[FR Doc. E8-103 Filed 1-8-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P