Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for the San Francisco Bay to Stockton (John F. Baldwin and Stockton Ship Channels) Navigation Improvement Study, San Francisco Bay, CA, 11529-11531 [2016-04758]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 43 / Friday, March 4, 2016 / Notices Office of Management and Budget pursuant to paragraph 4d of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A–130, ‘Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records about Individuals,’ dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427). Dated: March 1, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. Notice of a Computer Matching Program Between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense for Verification of Disability Compensation A. Participating Agencies Participants in this computer matching program are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) of the Department of Defense (DoD). The VA is the source agency, i.e., the activity disclosing the records for the purpose of the match. The DMDC is the specific recipient activity or matching agency, i.e., the agency that actually performs the computer matching. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES B. Purpose of the Match The purpose of this agreement is to verify eligibility for DoD/United States Coast Guard (USCG) members of the Reserve forces who receive VA disability compensation or pension to also receive military pay and allowances when performing reserve duty. The VA will provide to DMDC identifying information on all VA recipients receiving a VA disability compensation or pension. DMDC will match the information with its reserve military pay data and provide for each match (hit) the number of training days, by fiscal year, for which the veteran was paid. The VA will use this information to make, where appropriate, necessary VA payment adjustments. C. Authority for Conducting the Match The legal authority for conducting the matching program for use in the administration of VA’s Compensation and Pension Benefits Program is contained in 38 U.S.C. 5304(c), Prohibition Against Duplication of Benefits, provides that VA disability compensation or pension based upon his or her previous military service shall not be paid to a person for any period for which such person receives active service pay. 10 U.S.C. 12316, Payment of certain Reserves While on Duty, further provides that a reservist who is entitled to disability payments due to his or her earlier military service and who performs duty for which he or she VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:22 Mar 03, 2016 Jkt 238001 is entitled to DoD/USCG compensation may elect to receive for that duty either the disability payments or, if he or she waives such payments, the DoD/USCG compensation for the duty performed. D. Records To Be Matched The systems of records maintained by the respective agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, from which records will be disclosed for the purpose of this computer match are as follows: The DMDC will use the system of records identified as DMDC 01, entitled ‘‘Defense Manpower Data Center Data Base,’’ last published in the Federal Register at November 23, 2011, 76 FR 72391. The VA will use the system of records identified as ‘‘Compensation, Pension, Education and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Records–VA’’ (58 VA 21/22/28), republished in its entirety in the Federal Register at July 19, 2012, 77 FR 42593. E. Description of Computer Matching Program The VA will submit to DMDC an electronic data of all VA pension and disability compensation beneficiaries as of the end of September. Upon receipt of the data, DMDC will match by SSN with reserve pay data as submitted to DMDC by the military services and the USCG. Upon a SSN match, or a ‘‘hit,’’ of both data sets, DMDC will provide VA the individual’s name and other identifying data, to include the number of training days, by fiscal year, for each matched record. Training days are the total of inactive duty drills paid plus active duty days paid. The hits will be furnished to VA, which will be responsible for verifying and determining that the data in the DMDC electronic files is consistent with the VA files and for resolving any discrepancies or inconsistencies on an individual basis. VA will initiate actions to obtain an election by the individual of which pay he or she wishes to receive and will be responsible for making final determinations as to positive identification, eligibility for, or amounts of pension or disability compensation benefits, adjustments thereto, or any recovery of overpayments, or such other action as authorized by law. The electronic data provided by the VA will contain information on approximately 4.2 million pension and disability compensation recipients. The DMDC reserve pay data contains information on approximately 890,000 DoD and 10,000 USCG reservists who received pay and allowances for performing authorized duty. PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11529 VA will furnish DMDC the name and SSN of all VA pension and disability compensation recipients and DMDC will supply VA the name, SSN, date of birth, and the number of training days by fiscal year of each reservist who is identified as a result of the match. F. Inclusive Dates of the Matching Program This computer matching program is subject to public comment and review by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. If the mandatory 30 day period for comment has expired and no comments are received and if no objections are raised by either Congress or the Office of Management and Budget within 40 days of being notified of the proposed match, the computer matching program becomes effective and the respective agencies may begin the exchange at a mutually agreeable time and thereafter on a quarterly basis. By agreement between VA and DMDC, the matching program will be in effect for 18 months with an option to renew for 12 additional months unless one of the parties to the agreement advises the other by written request to terminate or modify the agreement. G. Address for Receipt of Public Comments or Inquiries Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301–9010. [FR Doc. 2016–04832 Filed 3–3–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report for the San Francisco Bay to Stockton (John F. Baldwin and Stockton Ship Channels) Navigation Improvement Study, San Francisco Bay, CA Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of Intent. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco District, the Port of Stockton, and the Contra Costa County Water Agency are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\04MRN1.SGM 04MRN1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 11530 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 43 / Friday, March 4, 2016 / Notices (EIS/EIR) to evaluate the efficiency of the movement of goods along the existing deep-draft navigation route extending from the San Francisco Bay to the Port of Stockton. This Notice of Intent (NOI) represents a supplemental notice to the March 12, 2008, NOI released for the San Francisco Bay to Stockton Navigation Improvement Study. This supplemental NOI also provides an update to the description of the study and discusses current phasing of the project. Because of the amount of time that has passed since 2008, this supplemental NOI is being released to notify the public that work will begin on an EIS/EIR, which is anticipated to be issued for public review in 2016. This NOI also re-opens the public scoping period. The 2008 NOI discussed the project as a single navigation improvement study/ project, proposing to deepen the John F. Baldwin channel from the West Richmond Channel to New York Slough Channel to a maximum depth of ¥45 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) and the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel to a maximum depth of ¥40 feet MLLW. The forthcoming EIS/EIR proposes to reevaluate the unconstructed portions of the original project described in the 1965 Chief of Engineers Report (House Document 89–208) and authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1965 (Public Law 89–298), which will be referred to in the EIS/EIR as Phase I (or the proposed project). Additional study authority exists for the entire channel from San Francisco Bay to Stockton, provided by the 2014 United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Committee Resolution and specifying ‘‘navigation, ecosystem restoration, flood risk reduction, and other water related resource purposes.’’ This additional study authority will be discussed programmatically in the EIS/ EIR. The study area for the overall project consists of two reaches: The Western Reach and Eastern Reach. The Western Reach extends from Central San Francisco Bay to Avon and includes the West Richmond Channel, Pinole Shoal Channel, and Bulls Head Reach portion of the Suisun Bay Channel. The Eastern Reach extends from Avon to the Port of Stockton and includes the remaining portions of the Suisun Bay Channel (east of Avon), New York Slough Channel, and the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel. The Western Reach is authorized to a depth of ¥45 feet mean lower low water (MLLW), but is currently maintained to ¥35 feet MLLW. Additional deepening of the Eastern Reach requires separate VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:22 Mar 03, 2016 Jkt 238001 Congressional authorization for construction. The forthcoming EIS/EIR for which this NOI is prepared proposes to separate the overall project into two separate phases (Phase I and Phase II) under a navigation improvement programmatic analysis. Under the programmatic analysis, two reaches and two phases are identified. Phase I of the study is a single purpose navigation improvement project to evaluate incremental deepening to a maximum depth of ¥40 feet MLLW in the Western Reach. Phase II is a subsequent multipurpose navigation and ecosystem restoration study that would evaluate deepening the Eastern Reach to a maximum depth of ¥40 feet MLLW. Phase II will also revisit if further deepening of Western Reach up to its authorized depth of ¥45 feet MLLW is warranted. The Eastern Reach is maintained at its authorized depth of ¥35 feet MLLW, and any additional deepening in this reach will require a new project authorization through a subsequent Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The EIS/EIR will include both a project-level feasibility analysis for implementation of Phase I and a programmatic-level analysis for Phase II. Analysis of Phase II will be conducted using only existing information (i.e., additional studies or data collection will not be conducted). Additional projectlevel feasibility analysis of Phase II will require execution of a separate Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement with the local sponsor and pending receipt of federal study funds. DATES: Submit comments concerning this notice on or before April 4, 2016. There will be no additional public meeting in conjunction with this scoping period. ADDRESSES: Mail written comments concerning this notice to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, Planning Branch, ATTN: Cynthia J. Fowler, 1455 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103–1398. Comment letters should include the commenter’s physical mailing address, the project title, and the USACE file number in the subject line. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia J. Fowler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, Planning Branch, 1455 Market Street, San Francisco CA 94103–1398, (415) 503–6870, cynthia.j.fowler@ usace.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As previously mentioned, the USACE intends to prepare an EIS to reevaluate incremental deepening of the Western PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Reach and programmatically assess a multipurpose project involving deepening and ecosystem restoration in both the Western and Eastern Reaches. The Port of Stockton is the lead agency and local sponsor in preparing the EIR. The USACE and the Port of Stockton have agreed to jointly prepare an EIS/ EIR to optimize efficiency and avoid duplication. The EIS/EIR is intended to be sufficient in scope to address the federal, state, and local requirements and environmental issues concerning the proposed activities and permit approvals. Project Area and Background Information: The San Francisco Bay to Stockton Navigation Improvement Project includes the John F. Baldwin and Stockton Ship Channels, which extend 75 nautical miles from the Pacific Ocean, just outside the Golden Gate, to the Port of Stockton. Modern vessels crossing the channels can require up to 55 feet of draft when fully laden. Given that these channels are maintained at ¥35 feet MLLW, most vessels must be ‘‘light-loaded’’ (i.e., less than fully loaded with cargo) to navigate the channels with sufficient under-keel clearance. Light-loading increases the cost of transportation and, in turn, the cost of the shipped products because more trips must be made to carry the same volume of cargo. Light-loading is also inefficient, requiring more ships to carry cargo than if ships could travel with full loads. The study area includes the entire extent of the federal navigation channels occurring in the Western and Eastern reaches, which are defined as follows: Western Reach. This area includes the West Richmond Channel, Pinole Shoal Channel, Carquinez Strait, and the Bulls Head Reach portion of the Suisun Bay Channel. Avon (just east of the BeniciaMartinez Bridge) separates the Western Reach from the Eastern Reach. Western Reach is currently maintained at ¥35 feet MLLW, although the channels have an authorized depth of ¥45 feet MLLW. Eastern Reach. This area includes the remaining portions of the Suisun Bay Channel (i.e., Suisun Bay Channel east of Avon and New York Slough) and all of the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel (DWSC). The Eastern Reach is also maintained at a depth of ¥35 feet MLLW. The Phase I project-level alternatives described below are anticipated to be analyzed in the Draft EIS/EIR. Phase II will be evaluated at a programmatic level because of uncertainties associated with its scope, size, and other details. No Action, in which dredging to deepen the Western Reach would not occur and all construction-related E:\FR\FM\04MRN1.SGM 04MRN1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 43 / Friday, March 4, 2016 / Notices activities would be avoided. Maintenance dredging would continue annually or on an as-needed basis and the federal standard placement sites would continue to be used. Deepening to ¥37 feet MLLW, which would deepen the Western Reach to a depth of ¥37 feet MLLW with up to 2 feet of overdepth for a maximum depth of ¥39 feet MLLW. To account for rapid shoaling, an approximately 800-foot long sediment trap would be constructed at Bulls Head Reach by dredging up to an additional 6 feet (including 2 feet of overdepth) to ¥43 feet MLLW. Deepening to ¥38 feet MLLW, which would deepen the Western Reach to a depth of ¥38 feet MLLW with up to 2 feet of overdepth for a maximum depth of ¥40 feet MLLW. Under this alternative, an approximately 800-foot long sediment trap at Bulls Head Reach would be constructed by dredging up to an additional 6 feet (including 2 feet of overdepth) to ¥44 feet MLLW. Under both deepening alternatives, dredged material is expected to be placed at one or more permitted and economically feasible beneficial reuse sites. Purpose and Need: The purpose of the Phase I study is to evaluate more efficient deep-draft navigation via incremental deepening of the Western Reach in a manner that minimizes adverse environmental effects. A potential subsequent Phase II multipurpose project involving deepening and ecosystem restoration in both the Western and Eastern Reaches will also be discussed programmatically. The purpose of Phase II is also to evaluate efficient deep-draft navigation and beneficial use opportunities using material generated from the deepening project. The need for the Phase I and Phase II studies is to address vessel restrictions imposed by the existing channel depths, which are inadequate to accommodate vessels with drafts exceeding ¥35 feet MLLW. Issues: The detailed environmental analysis will consider the effect of maintaining or deepening the Western Reach on biological resources, sediments, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, water quality, geology, sediments, hydraulics and hydrology, hazards, noise, utilities, navigation, environmental justice, transportation, land use, cultural and historic resources, aesthetics, recreation, and socioeconomic effects, as well as cumulative impacts and other specific potential environmental issues of concern. Where existing information is sufficiently available, the EIS/EIR will also consider the effects of both phases. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:22 Mar 03, 2016 Jkt 238001 Scoping Process: The USACE is seeking participation of all interested federal, state, and local agencies, Native American groups, and other concerned private organizations or individuals through this public notice. The purpose of the public scoping period is to solicit comments regarding the potential impacts, environmental issues, and alternatives associated with the proposed action to be considered in the Draft EIS/EIR; identify other significant issues; provide other relevant information; and recommend mitigation measures. The public comment period is anticipated to run from March 4 to April 4, 2016. The public will have an additional opportunity to comment once the Draft EIS/EIR is released, which is anticipated to be in the summer of 2016. The USACE will announce availability of the Draft EIS/EIR in the Federal Register and other media, and the USACE and Port of Stockton will provide a 45-day review period for the public, organizations, and agencies to review and comment on the Draft EIS/EIR. All interested parties should respond to this notice and provide a current address if they wish to be notified of the Draft EIS/ EIR circulation. John C. Morrow, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, District Engineer. [FR Doc. 2016–04758 Filed 3–3–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD Sunshine Act Notice Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. ACTION: Notice of Public Hearing. AGENCY: Pursuant to the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b), notice is hereby given of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s (Board) public hearing described below. The Board invites any interested persons or groups to present any comments, technical information, or data concerning safety issues related to the matters to be considered. DATES: Session I: 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m., Session II: 6:45 p.m.–9:00 p.m., March 22, 2016. PLACE: Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. Parking will be available at no cost. STATUS: Open. The Board has determined that an open hearing furthers the public interests underlying SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11531 both the Government in the Sunshine Act and the Board’s enabling legislation. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: In this public hearing, the Board wishes to gather information regarding the hazards to the public and workers posed by the management of transuranic (TRU) waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as well as the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plans to address those hazards. The Board will also examine DOE’s actions taken or planned to resolve known inadequacies in the current safety basis of the various facilities that manage or store TRU waste at LANL, and actions to improve TRU waste management at LANL in response to the challenges caused by the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) accident and the associated investigation findings. A senior Board technical staff employee will present information to the Board regarding TRU waste management at LANL, including safety issues identified at Area G including issues with inappropriately remediated nitrate salt-bearing waste, corrective actions resulting from the WIPP accident, and federal oversight. The Board will then receive testimony from senior officials from DOE Headquarters and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Headquarters regarding federal oversight of LANL transuranic waste management. After a brief recess, the Board will receive testimony from DOE and NNSA Los Alamos Field Office leadership as well as LANL leadership regarding technical resolution of safety issues. Following the public comment period, the hearing will conclude with statements from senior officials from DOE and NNSA as well as the Board Chairman. The public hearing portion of this proceeding is authorized by 42 U.S.C. 2286b. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Welch, General Manager, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 Indiana Avenue NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004–2901, (800) 788– 4016. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public participation in the hearing is invited during the public comment period of the agenda. The Board is setting aside time for presentations and comments from the public. Persons interested in speaking during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by submitting a request in writing to the Board’s address listed above or by telephone to the Office of the General Counsel at (202) 694–7062 prior to close of business on March 18, 2016. The Board asks that commenters describe the nature and scope of their oral E:\FR\FM\04MRN1.SGM 04MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 43 (Friday, March 4, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11529-11531]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04758]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact 
Statement/Environmental Impact Report for the San Francisco Bay to 
Stockton (John F. Baldwin and Stockton Ship Channels) Navigation 
Improvement Study, San Francisco Bay, CA

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

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco 
District, the Port of Stockton, and the Contra Costa County Water 
Agency are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental 
Impact Report

[[Page 11530]]

(EIS/EIR) to evaluate the efficiency of the movement of goods along the 
existing deep-draft navigation route extending from the San Francisco 
Bay to the Port of Stockton. This Notice of Intent (NOI) represents a 
supplemental notice to the March 12, 2008, NOI released for the San 
Francisco Bay to Stockton Navigation Improvement Study. This 
supplemental NOI also provides an update to the description of the 
study and discusses current phasing of the project. Because of the 
amount of time that has passed since 2008, this supplemental NOI is 
being released to notify the public that work will begin on an EIS/EIR, 
which is anticipated to be issued for public review in 2016. This NOI 
also re-opens the public scoping period.
    The 2008 NOI discussed the project as a single navigation 
improvement study/project, proposing to deepen the John F. Baldwin 
channel from the West Richmond Channel to New York Slough Channel to a 
maximum depth of -45 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) and the Stockton 
Deep Water Ship Channel to a maximum depth of -40 feet MLLW.
    The forthcoming EIS/EIR proposes to reevaluate the unconstructed 
portions of the original project described in the 1965 Chief of 
Engineers Report (House Document 89-208) and authorized by the Rivers 
and Harbors Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-298), which will be referred to 
in the EIS/EIR as Phase I (or the proposed project). Additional study 
authority exists for the entire channel from San Francisco Bay to 
Stockton, provided by the 2014 United States Senate Committee on 
Environment and Public Works Committee Resolution and specifying 
``navigation, ecosystem restoration, flood risk reduction, and other 
water related resource purposes.'' This additional study authority will 
be discussed programmatically in the EIS/EIR.
    The study area for the overall project consists of two reaches: The 
Western Reach and Eastern Reach. The Western Reach extends from Central 
San Francisco Bay to Avon and includes the West Richmond Channel, 
Pinole Shoal Channel, and Bulls Head Reach portion of the Suisun Bay 
Channel. The Eastern Reach extends from Avon to the Port of Stockton 
and includes the remaining portions of the Suisun Bay Channel (east of 
Avon), New York Slough Channel, and the Stockton Deep Water Ship 
Channel. The Western Reach is authorized to a depth of -45 feet mean 
lower low water (MLLW), but is currently maintained to -35 feet MLLW. 
Additional deepening of the Eastern Reach requires separate 
Congressional authorization for construction.
    The forthcoming EIS/EIR for which this NOI is prepared proposes to 
separate the overall project into two separate phases (Phase I and 
Phase II) under a navigation improvement programmatic analysis. Under 
the programmatic analysis, two reaches and two phases are identified.
    Phase I of the study is a single purpose navigation improvement 
project to evaluate incremental deepening to a maximum depth of -40 
feet MLLW in the Western Reach. Phase II is a subsequent multipurpose 
navigation and ecosystem restoration study that would evaluate 
deepening the Eastern Reach to a maximum depth of -40 feet MLLW. Phase 
II will also revisit if further deepening of Western Reach up to its 
authorized depth of -45 feet MLLW is warranted. The Eastern Reach is 
maintained at its authorized depth of -35 feet MLLW, and any additional 
deepening in this reach will require a new project authorization 
through a subsequent Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
    The EIS/EIR will include both a project-level feasibility analysis 
for implementation of Phase I and a programmatic-level analysis for 
Phase II. Analysis of Phase II will be conducted using only existing 
information (i.e., additional studies or data collection will not be 
conducted). Additional project-level feasibility analysis of Phase II 
will require execution of a separate Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement 
with the local sponsor and pending receipt of federal study funds.

DATES: Submit comments concerning this notice on or before April 4, 
2016. There will be no additional public meeting in conjunction with 
this scoping period.

ADDRESSES: Mail written comments concerning this notice to: U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, Planning Branch, ATTN: 
Cynthia J. Fowler, 1455 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1398. 
Comment letters should include the commenter's physical mailing 
address, the project title, and the USACE file number in the subject 
line.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia J. Fowler, U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, San Francisco District, Planning Branch, 1455 Market Street, 
San Francisco CA 94103-1398, (415) 503-6870, 
cynthia.j.fowler@usace.army.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As previously mentioned, the USACE intends 
to prepare an EIS to reevaluate incremental deepening of the Western 
Reach and programmatically assess a multipurpose project involving 
deepening and ecosystem restoration in both the Western and Eastern 
Reaches. The Port of Stockton is the lead agency and local sponsor in 
preparing the EIR. The USACE and the Port of Stockton have agreed to 
jointly prepare an EIS/EIR to optimize efficiency and avoid 
duplication. The EIS/EIR is intended to be sufficient in scope to 
address the federal, state, and local requirements and environmental 
issues concerning the proposed activities and permit approvals.
    Project Area and Background Information: The San Francisco Bay to 
Stockton Navigation Improvement Project includes the John F. Baldwin 
and Stockton Ship Channels, which extend 75 nautical miles from the 
Pacific Ocean, just outside the Golden Gate, to the Port of Stockton. 
Modern vessels crossing the channels can require up to 55 feet of draft 
when fully laden. Given that these channels are maintained at -35 feet 
MLLW, most vessels must be ``light-loaded'' (i.e., less than fully 
loaded with cargo) to navigate the channels with sufficient under-keel 
clearance. Light-loading increases the cost of transportation and, in 
turn, the cost of the shipped products because more trips must be made 
to carry the same volume of cargo. Light-loading is also inefficient, 
requiring more ships to carry cargo than if ships could travel with 
full loads.
    The study area includes the entire extent of the federal navigation 
channels occurring in the Western and Eastern reaches, which are 
defined as follows:
    Western Reach. This area includes the West Richmond Channel, Pinole 
Shoal Channel, Carquinez Strait, and the Bulls Head Reach portion of 
the Suisun Bay Channel. Avon (just east of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge) 
separates the Western Reach from the Eastern Reach. Western Reach is 
currently maintained at -35 feet MLLW, although the channels have an 
authorized depth of -45 feet MLLW.
    Eastern Reach. This area includes the remaining portions of the 
Suisun Bay Channel (i.e., Suisun Bay Channel east of Avon and New York 
Slough) and all of the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel (DWSC). The 
Eastern Reach is also maintained at a depth of -35 feet MLLW.
    The Phase I project-level alternatives described below are 
anticipated to be analyzed in the Draft EIS/EIR. Phase II will be 
evaluated at a programmatic level because of uncertainties associated 
with its scope, size, and other details.
    No Action, in which dredging to deepen the Western Reach would not 
occur and all construction-related

[[Page 11531]]

activities would be avoided. Maintenance dredging would continue 
annually or on an as-needed basis and the federal standard placement 
sites would continue to be used.
    Deepening to -37 feet MLLW, which would deepen the Western Reach to 
a depth of -37 feet MLLW with up to 2 feet of overdepth for a maximum 
depth of -39 feet MLLW. To account for rapid shoaling, an approximately 
800-foot long sediment trap would be constructed at Bulls Head Reach by 
dredging up to an additional 6 feet (including 2 feet of overdepth) to 
-43 feet MLLW.
    Deepening to -38 feet MLLW, which would deepen the Western Reach to 
a depth of -38 feet MLLW with up to 2 feet of overdepth for a maximum 
depth of -40 feet MLLW. Under this alternative, an approximately 800-
foot long sediment trap at Bulls Head Reach would be constructed by 
dredging up to an additional 6 feet (including 2 feet of overdepth) to 
-44 feet MLLW.
    Under both deepening alternatives, dredged material is expected to 
be placed at one or more permitted and economically feasible beneficial 
reuse sites.
    Purpose and Need: The purpose of the Phase I study is to evaluate 
more efficient deep-draft navigation via incremental deepening of the 
Western Reach in a manner that minimizes adverse environmental effects. 
A potential subsequent Phase II multipurpose project involving 
deepening and ecosystem restoration in both the Western and Eastern 
Reaches will also be discussed programmatically. The purpose of Phase 
II is also to evaluate efficient deep-draft navigation and beneficial 
use opportunities using material generated from the deepening project. 
The need for the Phase I and Phase II studies is to address vessel 
restrictions imposed by the existing channel depths, which are 
inadequate to accommodate vessels with drafts exceeding -35 feet MLLW.
    Issues: The detailed environmental analysis will consider the 
effect of maintaining or deepening the Western Reach on biological 
resources, sediments, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate 
change, water quality, geology, sediments, hydraulics and hydrology, 
hazards, noise, utilities, navigation, environmental justice, 
transportation, land use, cultural and historic resources, aesthetics, 
recreation, and socioeconomic effects, as well as cumulative impacts 
and other specific potential environmental issues of concern. Where 
existing information is sufficiently available, the EIS/EIR will also 
consider the effects of both phases.
    Scoping Process: The USACE is seeking participation of all 
interested federal, state, and local agencies, Native American groups, 
and other concerned private organizations or individuals through this 
public notice. The purpose of the public scoping period is to solicit 
comments regarding the potential impacts, environmental issues, and 
alternatives associated with the proposed action to be considered in 
the Draft EIS/EIR; identify other significant issues; provide other 
relevant information; and recommend mitigation measures. The public 
comment period is anticipated to run from March 4 to April 4, 2016.
    The public will have an additional opportunity to comment once the 
Draft EIS/EIR is released, which is anticipated to be in the summer of 
2016. The USACE will announce availability of the Draft EIS/EIR in the 
Federal Register and other media, and the USACE and Port of Stockton 
will provide a 45-day review period for the public, organizations, and 
agencies to review and comment on the Draft EIS/EIR. All interested 
parties should respond to this notice and provide a current address if 
they wish to be notified of the Draft EIS/EIR circulation.

John C. Morrow,
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, District Engineer.
[FR Doc. 2016-04758 Filed 3-3-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P