Notice of Availability of the Draft Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, 91151-91154 [2016-30294]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices 3. Identify and evaluate practicable alternatives to locating in the base floodplain, including alternative sites outside of the floodplain. 4. Identify impacts of the proposed action. 5. If impacts cannot be avoided, develop measures to minimize the impacts and restore and preserve the floodplain, as appropriate. 6. Reevaluate alternatives. 7. Present the findings and a public explanation. 8. Implement the action. Following issuance of EO 11988 and the corresponding interagency Implementing Guidelines, USACE developed Engineering Regulation (ER) 1165–2–26 for interpreting and implementing the requirements of EO 11988. The regulation applies to all field operating activities having Civil Works responsibilities, with the exception of the Regulatory Program which implements EO 11988 through its regulations. Section 14 of ER 1165–2–26 explains how EO 11988 applies to specific Civil Works programs. On January 30, 2015, the White House issued Executive Order 13690— Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Public Input. EO 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), implemented through guidelines established by the Water Resources Council (‘‘Implementing Guidelines’’), updated EO 11988 to include the following: • Requires the use of an expanded floodplain for some actions that are federal investments. • Requires that the elevation and horizontal extent of the expanded floodplain be determined using one of three approaches: The climate-informed science approach, the freeboard value approach, and the 500-year flood elevation approach. • Requires agencies to use natural and nature based approaches, where possible. • Establishes higher standards for critical actions. USACE established a Product Development Team (PDT) to investigate what impacts EO 13690 and the FFRMS would have on its policies and programs and, in particular, to develop revised implementation guidance for EO 11988, as amended. A draft Engineer Circular (EC) that will ultimately rescind ER 1165–2–26 has been developed to provide overarching guidance for the implementation of EO 11988, as amended. The EC will expire two years from issuance, which will provide USACE time to evaluate the guidance VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 provided, consider initial implementation experience to identify any necessary clarifications or changes, and incorporate any changes introduced by the reassessment of the FFRMS required by EO 13690. After two years, the EC will either be revised and reissued or converted to an ER, which does not expire and is more permanent agency guidance. The draft EC is intended to provide overarching guidance to all USACE Civil Works mission areas. As such, it does not provide extensive detail about how the requirements will be implemented within specific program areas or activities; instead it establishes intended implementation principles that will be clarified in greater detail in individual program specific guidance documents, to be developed or revised at a later date. Generally, the new requirements will be incorporated into specific guidance documents as they are updated through the agency’s regular process and schedule, unless a new guidance document needs to be prepared to address some aspect of implementation of the requirements. USACE now invites review and comment from our partners and stakeholders on the proposed implementation guidance contained within the draft EC. Instructions for Providing Comments Online USACE is requesting assistance in the form of data, comments, literature references, or field experiences, to help clarify the policy requirements for implementing EO 11988 and EO 13690 for agency activities. The draft EC is available for review on the USACE EO 13690 Implementation Web site (http:// www.iwr.usace.army.mil/Missions/ FloodRiskManagement/ FloodRiskManagementProgram/ AbouttheProgram/PolicyandGuidance/ FederalFloodRiskManagement Standard.aspx). An Executive Summary of the draft EC is also available on the Web site to provide a high-level overview of the document and summary of the more substantial changes since the original 1984 ER. Additionally, a list of topics and issues for which feedback would be especially helpful is posted for reviewer’s consideration. While USACE welcomes any and all feedback on the draft EC, feedback responding to the list of identified topics and issues will be particularly helpful to USACE in clarifying areas requiring new policy or practice. The most useful comments are from specific experiences and case examples. Commenters should use their knowledge of working with USACE on various types of federal actions as well PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 91151 as their understanding of EO 11988 and EO 13690. When comments are being made on specific sections of the document, USACE requests that commenters identify the relevant page and line numbers to which the comment applies. All comments, literature citations, experiential references, data, other relevant reports, and input in response to the guiding topics and issues are being accepted through email, or through the postal service. All comments submitted by the date identified above will be compiled and sent to the PDT for their consideration. Future Actions Feedback and comments provided in response to this notice will be considered and the draft EC will be updated as appropriate. When the final EC is published, a notice will be placed in the Federal Register and on the USACE EO 13690 Implementation Web site, and the document itself will be made available through the USACE publications Web site (http:// www.publications.usace.army.mil/). Dated: December 12, 2016. Karen Durham-Aguilera, Director of Contingency, Operations and Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2016–30240 Filed 12–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Notice of Availability of the Draft Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Kansas City and Omaha Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), have developed the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (MRRMP–EIS). This document is a programmatic assessment of (1) major federal actions necessary to avoid a finding of jeopardy to the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), and the Northern Great Plains piping plover (Charadrius melodus) caused by operation of the Missouri River Mainstem and Kansas River Reservoir System and operation SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 91152 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices and maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP) in accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended; and (2) the Missouri River BSNP fish and wildlife mitigation plan described in the 2003 Record of Decision (ROD) and authorized by the Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) of 1986, 1999, and 2007. DATES: Submit written comments on the draft EIS on or before February 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO–PM–AC— MRRMP–EIS, 1616 Capitol Ave, Omaha, NE 68102; or provide comments via an online comment form (preferred method) at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ MRRMP. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The above address or email to cenwoplanning@usace.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USACE is issuing this notice pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (43 CFR parts 1500 through 1508). This notice announces the availability of the draft MRRMP–EIS and begins the public comment period. The MRRMP–EIS, its appendices, and other supporting documents can be accessed at: www.moriverrecovery.org under the ‘‘Management Plan’’ tab on the Web site homepage. Background Information. The Missouri River flows for 2,341 miles from Three Forks, Montana at the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers in the Rocky Mountains through the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. It is the longest river in the United States. USACE operates the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System (System) consisting of six dams and reservoirs with a capacity to store 72.4 million acre-feet (MAF) of water, the largest reservoir system in North America. The System is operated as an integrated system for eight congressionally authorized purposes, which include flood control, navigation, irrigation, hydropower, water supply, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife. USACE operates the System in accordance with the policies and procedures prescribed in the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System Master Water Control Manual (Master Manual) (USACE, 2006a). The Kansas River Reservoir System includes the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 primary downstream flood control projects of Clinton, Perry, Tuttle Creek, Milford, Waconda (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation), Wilson, and Kanopolis. USACE also constructed and maintains the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project which provides a 9-foot deep navigation channel with a minimum width of 300 feet during the navigation season from April 1 to November 30 between Sioux City, Iowa, and the mouth near St. Louis, Missouri. The BSNP consists mainly of rock pile structures and revetments along the outsides of bends and transverse dikes along the insides of bends to force the river into a channel alignment that is self-maintaining or self-scouring. During the course of the Master Manual Review and Update Study, developed from 1989 to 2004, USACE entered into formal consultation with USFWS on the effects of the operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, operation and maintenance of the BSNP, and operation of the Kansas River Reservoir System on the pallid sturgeon, interior least tern, and piping plover. A biological opinion (BiOp) was issued by USFWS in 2000 with a finding of jeopardy for all the listed species and a proposed Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) that was accepted by the USACE. In 2003, following additional consultation, USFWS provided an amended BiOp that determined the new proposed action by USACE would avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the two listed bird species, but would continue to jeopardize the continued existence of the pallid sturgeon in the wild. The Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP) was established in 2005 to implement the RPA requirements contained in the 2000 and 2003 BiOps and the BSNP fish and wildlife mitigation plan. A substantial amount of new knowledge about the species, their habitats, and management actions has been developed since the 2003 Amended BiOp was completed. The Independent Scientific Advisory Panel (ISAP), established by the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC), issued a report in 2011 that recommended development of an overarching adaptive management (AM) plan that would anticipate implementation of combined flow management actions and mechanical habitat construction. They recommended an AM plan should be used to guide future management actions, monitoring, research, and assessment. The ISAP report also recommended basing the AM plan on an effects analysis, which would precede PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the development of the AM plan and incorporate new knowledge about the species accrued since the 2003 Amended BiOp. Since the 2011 report, the first phase of the effects analysis has been completed and documented for pallid sturgeon, interior least tern, piping plover, and associated habitat analyses. The purpose of this draft MRRMP–EIS is to develop a suite of actions that allows the USACE to meet its obligations under the Endangered Species Act while still operating its projects for the congressionally authorized purposes. Authorities used to meet this purpose may include existing USACE authorities related to Missouri River System operations for listed species and acquisition and development of land needed for creation of habitat for listed species provided by Section 601(a) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as modified by Section 334(a) of WRDA 1999, and further modified by Section 3176 of WRDA 2007, although alternatives formulation was not limited to these authorities. The draft MRRMP–EIS assesses the programmatic effects of alternatives for implementing the MRRP, which include actions necessary to avoid a finding of jeopardy to the federally-listed species and associated actions which comply with the BSNP mitigation plan during the implementation timeframe for this EIS. This EIS provides the necessary information for the public to fully evaluate a range of alternatives to best meet the purpose and need of the MRRMP–EIS and to provide thoughtful and meaningful comment for the Agency’s consideration. Six alternatives were carried forward from the Effects Analysis results for detailed evaluation in the MRRMP–EIS (the no-action alternative and five action alternatives). The following management actions were included in all six of the alternatives: —Mechanical construction of emergent sandbar habitat (ESH); —Vegetation management, predator management, and human restriction measures on ESH; —Pallid sturgeon propagation and augmentation; —Pallid early life stage habitat construction downstream of Ponca, Nebraska; —Habitat development and management of acquired lands; and —Monitoring and evaluation of management actions. However the actual scale and extent of mechanical ESH creation and pallid early life stage habitat construction would vary among the alternatives. E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices Under the no-action alternative, USACE would continue to implement the MRRP as it is currently. In addition to the actions common to all alternatives, the USACE would mechanically construct ESH at a rate of 107 acres per year in the Garrison and Gavins Point reaches and construct pallid early life stage habitat to achieve an average of 20 acres of shallow water habitat per river mile. The no-action alternative would also continue to implement the plenary spring pulse included in the Master Manual. Alternative 2 represents the USFWS’s interpretation of the management actions that could be ultimately implemented as part of the 2003 Amended BiOp RPA. In addition to the actions common to all alternatives, the USACE would mechanically construct ESH at a rate up to 3,546 acres per year in the Garrison, Fort Randall, Lewis and Clark Lake, and Gavins Point reaches and pallid early life stage habitat to achieve an average of 30 acres of shallow water habitat per river mile. Alternative 2 would also include a spring pallid flow release consisting of a bimodal pulse in March and May and a low summer flow. Under Alternatives 3–6, the USACE would follow the processes and criteria in the AM plan (companion document to the MRRMP–EIS) that was developed based on the results of the Effects Analysis. The AM plan identifies the process and criteria to implement initial management actions, assess hypotheses, and introduce new management actions should they become necessary. Initial management actions include specific study efforts to fill data gaps in knowledge of the pallid sturgeon life cycle, creation of spawning habitat for pallid sturgeon to monitor effectiveness, and the construction of pallid early life stage habitat following the interception and rearing complex (IRC) concept identified in the Effects Analysis. In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3–6, Alternative 3 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 391 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 3 would not implement the plenary spring pulse included in the Master Manual. However, as part of the AM plan the potential for a one-time spawning cue test release, if studies during the first 9– 10 years do not provide a clear answer on whether a spawning cue is important, is included in Alternative 3. In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3–6, Alternative 4 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 240 acres per year VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 4 also includes implementation of a spring ESH creation release if System storage is at 42 MAF or greater on April 1, normal flows that could create 250 acres of ESH have not occurred in the previous four years, and downstream flow is below identified flood control constraints specific to this alternative. Alternative 4 also includes, as part of the AM plan, the potential for a one-time spawning cue release as described for Alternative 3. In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3–6, Alternative 5 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 309 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 5 also includes implementation of a fall ESH creation release if System storage is at 54.5 MAF or greater on October 17, normal flows that could create 250 acres of ESH have not occurred in the previous four years, and downstream flow is below identified flood control constraints specific to this alternative. Alternative 5, also includes, as part of the AM plan, the potential for a one-time spawning cue release as described for Alternative 3. In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3–6, Alternative 6 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 304 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 6 also includes implementation of a spawning cue release, attempted every 3 years, consisting of a bimodal pulse in March and May. These spawning cue releases would not be started or would be terminated whenever downstream flow is at identified flood control constraints specific to this alternative. The draft EIS evaluates the potential effects on the human environment associated with each of the above alternatives. Resources and uses evaluated include: River infrastructure and hydrological processes; pallid sturgeon; piping plover and interior least tern; fish and wildlife habitat; other special status species; water quality; air quality; cultural resources; land use and ownership; commercial sand and gravel dredging; flood risk management and interior drainage; hydropower; irrigation; navigation; recreation; thermal power; water supply; wastewater facilities; tribal interests (other); human health and safety; environmental justice; ecosystem services; and Mississippi River resources. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 91153 Meetings. Six public meetings to share information and to allow the public to provide oral and written comments will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on: • Tuesday, February 7, 2017—Fort Peck Interpretive Center, Yellowstone Road, Fort Peck, Montana 59223. • Wednesday, February 8, 2017— Bismarck State College, National Energy Center of Excellence, 1500 Edwards Ave., Bismarck, North Dakota 58506. • Thursday, February 9, 2017— Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, 920 W Sioux Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota 57501. • Tuesday, February 14, 2017— Thompson Alumni Center, Bootstrapper Hall, 6705 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68612. • Wednesday, February 15, 2017— Hilton Kansas City Airport, Shawnee B, 8801 NW 112th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64153. • Thursday, February 16, 2017— Double Tree Inn by Hilton Hotel, Ballroom A & B, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road, Chesterfield, Missouri 63017. Each public meeting will begin with an open house at 5:00 p.m. A formal presentation will be provided at 5:45 p.m. followed by a public hearing session. Several different methods of submitting comments will be available at each public meeting. The public meeting dates or locations may change based on inclement weather or exceptional circumstances. If the meeting date or location is changed, the USACE will issue a press release and post it on www.moriverrecovery.org to announce the updated meeting details. Schedule. Public comments on the draft MRRMP–EIS must be received by February 24, 2017. The USACE will consider and respond to all comments received on the draft MRRMP–EIS when preparing the final MRRMP–EIS. The USACE expects to issue the final EIS in the spring of 2018, at which time a Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register. A Record of Decision is expected in the spring of 2018. Special Assistance for Public Meeting. The meeting facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities. People needing special assistance to attend and/or participate in the meetings should contact: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO–PM–AC, 1616 Capitol Ave., Omaha, NE 68102 or email cenwoplanning@usace.army.mil. To allow sufficient time to process special requests, please contact no later than one week before the public meeting. Public Disclosure Statement. If you wish to comment, you may mail your comments as indicated under the E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1 91154 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices ADDRESSES section of this notice. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or any other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made available to the public at any time. While you can request us to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Dated: December 8, 2016. Mark Harberg, Missouri River Recovery Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. [FR Doc. 2016–30294 Filed 12–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Notice of Availability—Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Update of the Water Control Manuals and Water Supply Storage Assessment for the ApalachicolaChattahoochee-Flint River Basin Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (USACE), has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the update of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Water Control Master Manual (Master Manual) Alabama, Florida, and Georgia including a water supply storage assessment addressing reallocation of storage in Lake Sidney Lanier (Lake Lanier). A Notice of Availability was published by the Environmental Protection Agency on December 16, 2016. The review period will end 30 days after that date. DATES: The review period of the FEIS ends on January 14, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Lewis Sumner at telephone (251) 694– 3857. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Master Manual includes appendices prepared for individual projects in the ACF Basin and is the guide used by USACE to operate a system of five federal reservoir projects in the basin— Buford Dam and Lake Lanier, West Point Dam and Lake, Walter F. George Lock and Dam and Lake, George W. Andrews Lock and Dam and Lake, and mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam and Lake Seminole. The purpose and need for the federal action is to determine how federal projects in the ACF Basin should be operated for their authorized purposes, in light of current conditions and applicable law, and to implement those operations through updated water control plans and manuals. The proposed action will result in an updated Master Manual and individual project water control manuals (WCMs) that comply with existing USACE regulations and reflect operations under existing congressional authorizations, taking into account changes in basin hydrology and demands from years of growth and development, new/ rehabilitated structural features, legal developments, and environmental issues. The action includes updates to account for a June 28, 2011, decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. On May 16, 2000, the Governor of the State of Georgia submitted a formal request to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) to adjust the operation of Lake Lanier, and to enter into agreements with the state or water supply providers to accommodate increases in water supply withdrawals from Lake Lanier and downstream at Atlanta over the next 30 years, culminating in total gross withdrawals of 705 million gallons per day (mgd)— 297 mgd from Lake Lanier and 408 mgd downstream—by the year 2030. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) in 2002 denied Georgia’s request. The 2011 decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered USACE to reconsider whether it has the legal authority to operate the Buford project to accommodate Georgia’s request. USACE provided a legal opinion concluding that it has sufficient authority under applicable law to accommodate that request, but noted that any decision to take action on Georgia’s request would require a separate analysis. On January 11, 2013, the Governor of the state of Georgia provided updated demographic and water demand data to confirm the continued need for 705 mgd to meet Georgia’s water needs from Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River to approximately the year 2040 rather than 2030 as specified in the 2000 request. On December 4, 2015, after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) had been published, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD), on behalf of the State of Georgia, provided additional updated demographic and water demand data (referred to as Georgia’s 2015 request) that reduced the state’s needs from a PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 total of 705 mgd to a range of 597–621 mgd—242 mgd from Lake Lanier (instead of 297 mgd) and 355–379 mgd downstream (instead of 408 mgd)— through the year 2050 rather than 2040 as specified in the 2013 request. USACE’s objectives for the Master Manual are to develop a water control plan that meets the existing water resource needs of the basin, fulfills its responsibilities in operating for the authorized project purposes, and complies with all pertinent laws. The FEIS presents the results of USACE’s analysis of the environmental effects of the Proposed Action Alternative (PAA) that the USACE believes accomplishes these objectives. USACE evaluated an array of potential water management alternatives and optional water supply amounts during the Master Manual update process, resulting in the selection of the PAA. Additional information on the components of the PAA can be found at http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/ Missions/PlanningEnvironmental/ ACFMasterWaterControlManualUpdate/ ACFDocumentLibrary.aspx. One alternative available to USACE is to continue with current operations. This approach is termed the No Action Alternative (NAA). The PAA would update the water control plans and manuals for the ACF Basin as directed by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren on January 30, 2008. Additionally, the PAA would provide for releases from Buford Dam to satisfy Georgia’s 2015 request of 379 mgd from the Chattahoochee River for Metro Atlanta and would reallocate storage in Lake Lanier of 252,950 acrefeet to satisfy Georgia’s 2015 request and support average annual water supply withdrawals of up to 222 mgd. The FEIS responds to, and incorporates agency and public comments received on the DEIS, which was available for public review from October 2, 2015, through January 15, 2016. Five open house style public meetings were held on October 26th through November 9th, 2015, and more than 300 persons attended these workshops, either representing various agencies and organizations or as interested individual citizens. Two hundred seventy (270) comments on the DEIS were submitted by agencies (Federal, state, and local), private organizations, and individuals. The USACE responses to substantive agency and public comments are provided in appendix C of the FEIS. USACE incorporated pertinent revisions and updates to the EIS and the WCM based on input received during the public review process. The key revisions and updates to the documents E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 242 (Friday, December 16, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 91151-91154]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-30294]


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

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Notice of Availability of the Draft Missouri River Recovery 
Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

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

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Kansas City and Omaha Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers (USACE), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS), have developed the Missouri River Recovery Management 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (MRRMP-EIS). This document is a 
programmatic assessment of (1) major federal actions necessary to avoid 
a finding of jeopardy to the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), 
interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), and the Northern 
Great Plains piping plover (Charadrius melodus) caused by operation of 
the Missouri River Mainstem and Kansas River Reservoir System and 
operation

[[Page 91152]]

and maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation 
Project (BSNP) in accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 
1973, as amended; and (2) the Missouri River BSNP fish and wildlife 
mitigation plan described in the 2003 Record of Decision (ROD) and 
authorized by the Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) of 1986, 
1999, and 2007.

DATES: Submit written comments on the draft EIS on or before February 
24, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha 
District, ATTN: CENWO-PM-AC--MRRMP-EIS, 1616 Capitol Ave, Omaha, NE 
68102; or provide comments via an online comment form (preferred 
method) at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MRRMP.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The above address or email to cenwo-planning@usace.army.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USACE is issuing this notice pursuant to 
section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural 
provisions of NEPA (43 CFR parts 1500 through 1508). This notice 
announces the availability of the draft MRRMP-EIS and begins the public 
comment period. The MRRMP-EIS, its appendices, and other supporting 
documents can be accessed at: www.moriverrecovery.org under the 
``Management Plan'' tab on the Web site homepage.
    Background Information. The Missouri River flows for 2,341 miles 
from Three Forks, Montana at the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison, 
and Jefferson Rivers in the Rocky Mountains through the states of 
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and 
Missouri. It is the longest river in the United States. USACE operates 
the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System (System) consisting of six 
dams and reservoirs with a capacity to store 72.4 million acre-feet 
(MAF) of water, the largest reservoir system in North America. The 
System is operated as an integrated system for eight congressionally 
authorized purposes, which include flood control, navigation, 
irrigation, hydropower, water supply, water quality, recreation, and 
fish and wildlife. USACE operates the System in accordance with the 
policies and procedures prescribed in the Missouri River Mainstem 
Reservoir System Master Water Control Manual (Master Manual) (USACE, 
2006a). The Kansas River Reservoir System includes the primary 
downstream flood control projects of Clinton, Perry, Tuttle Creek, 
Milford, Waconda (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation), Wilson, and Kanopolis. 
USACE also constructed and maintains the Missouri River Bank 
Stabilization and Navigation Project which provides a 9-foot deep 
navigation channel with a minimum width of 300 feet during the 
navigation season from April 1 to November 30 between Sioux City, Iowa, 
and the mouth near St. Louis, Missouri. The BSNP consists mainly of 
rock pile structures and revetments along the outsides of bends and 
transverse dikes along the insides of bends to force the river into a 
channel alignment that is self-maintaining or self-scouring.
    During the course of the Master Manual Review and Update Study, 
developed from 1989 to 2004, USACE entered into formal consultation 
with USFWS on the effects of the operation of the Missouri River 
Mainstem Reservoir System, operation and maintenance of the BSNP, and 
operation of the Kansas River Reservoir System on the pallid sturgeon, 
interior least tern, and piping plover. A biological opinion (BiOp) was 
issued by USFWS in 2000 with a finding of jeopardy for all the listed 
species and a proposed Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) that 
was accepted by the USACE. In 2003, following additional consultation, 
USFWS provided an amended BiOp that determined the new proposed action 
by USACE would avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the two 
listed bird species, but would continue to jeopardize the continued 
existence of the pallid sturgeon in the wild. The Missouri River 
Recovery Program (MRRP) was established in 2005 to implement the RPA 
requirements contained in the 2000 and 2003 BiOps and the BSNP fish and 
wildlife mitigation plan.
    A substantial amount of new knowledge about the species, their 
habitats, and management actions has been developed since the 2003 
Amended BiOp was completed. The Independent Scientific Advisory Panel 
(ISAP), established by the Missouri River Recovery Implementation 
Committee (MRRIC), issued a report in 2011 that recommended development 
of an overarching adaptive management (AM) plan that would anticipate 
implementation of combined flow management actions and mechanical 
habitat construction. They recommended an AM plan should be used to 
guide future management actions, monitoring, research, and assessment. 
The ISAP report also recommended basing the AM plan on an effects 
analysis, which would precede the development of the AM plan and 
incorporate new knowledge about the species accrued since the 2003 
Amended BiOp. Since the 2011 report, the first phase of the effects 
analysis has been completed and documented for pallid sturgeon, 
interior least tern, piping plover, and associated habitat analyses.
    The purpose of this draft MRRMP-EIS is to develop a suite of 
actions that allows the USACE to meet its obligations under the 
Endangered Species Act while still operating its projects for the 
congressionally authorized purposes. Authorities used to meet this 
purpose may include existing USACE authorities related to Missouri 
River System operations for listed species and acquisition and 
development of land needed for creation of habitat for listed species 
provided by Section 601(a) of the Water Resources Development Act of 
1986, as modified by Section 334(a) of WRDA 1999, and further modified 
by Section 3176 of WRDA 2007, although alternatives formulation was not 
limited to these authorities.
    The draft MRRMP-EIS assesses the programmatic effects of 
alternatives for implementing the MRRP, which include actions necessary 
to avoid a finding of jeopardy to the federally-listed species and 
associated actions which comply with the BSNP mitigation plan during 
the implementation timeframe for this EIS. This EIS provides the 
necessary information for the public to fully evaluate a range of 
alternatives to best meet the purpose and need of the MRRMP-EIS and to 
provide thoughtful and meaningful comment for the Agency's 
consideration. Six alternatives were carried forward from the Effects 
Analysis results for detailed evaluation in the MRRMP-EIS (the no-
action alternative and five action alternatives). The following 
management actions were included in all six of the alternatives:

--Mechanical construction of emergent sandbar habitat (ESH);
--Vegetation management, predator management, and human restriction 
measures on ESH;
--Pallid sturgeon propagation and augmentation;
--Pallid early life stage habitat construction downstream of Ponca, 
Nebraska;
--Habitat development and management of acquired lands; and
--Monitoring and evaluation of management actions.

However the actual scale and extent of mechanical ESH creation and 
pallid early life stage habitat construction would vary among the 
alternatives.

[[Page 91153]]

    Under the no-action alternative, USACE would continue to implement 
the MRRP as it is currently. In addition to the actions common to all 
alternatives, the USACE would mechanically construct ESH at a rate of 
107 acres per year in the Garrison and Gavins Point reaches and 
construct pallid early life stage habitat to achieve an average of 20 
acres of shallow water habitat per river mile. The no-action 
alternative would also continue to implement the plenary spring pulse 
included in the Master Manual.
    Alternative 2 represents the USFWS's interpretation of the 
management actions that could be ultimately implemented as part of the 
2003 Amended BiOp RPA. In addition to the actions common to all 
alternatives, the USACE would mechanically construct ESH at a rate up 
to 3,546 acres per year in the Garrison, Fort Randall, Lewis and Clark 
Lake, and Gavins Point reaches and pallid early life stage habitat to 
achieve an average of 30 acres of shallow water habitat per river mile. 
Alternative 2 would also include a spring pallid flow release 
consisting of a bimodal pulse in March and May and a low summer flow.
    Under Alternatives 3-6, the USACE would follow the processes and 
criteria in the AM plan (companion document to the MRRMP-EIS) that was 
developed based on the results of the Effects Analysis. The AM plan 
identifies the process and criteria to implement initial management 
actions, assess hypotheses, and introduce new management actions should 
they become necessary. Initial management actions include specific 
study efforts to fill data gaps in knowledge of the pallid sturgeon 
life cycle, creation of spawning habitat for pallid sturgeon to monitor 
effectiveness, and the construction of pallid early life stage habitat 
following the interception and rearing complex (IRC) concept identified 
in the Effects Analysis.
    In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3-6, Alternative 
3 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 
391 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort 
Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 3 would not implement 
the plenary spring pulse included in the Master Manual. However, as 
part of the AM plan the potential for a one-time spawning cue test 
release, if studies during the first 9-10 years do not provide a clear 
answer on whether a spawning cue is important, is included in 
Alternative 3.
    In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3-6, Alternative 
4 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 
240 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort 
Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 4 also includes 
implementation of a spring ESH creation release if System storage is at 
42 MAF or greater on April 1, normal flows that could create 250 acres 
of ESH have not occurred in the previous four years, and downstream 
flow is below identified flood control constraints specific to this 
alternative. Alternative 4 also includes, as part of the AM plan, the 
potential for a one-time spawning cue release as described for 
Alternative 3.
    In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3-6, Alternative 
5 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 
309 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort 
Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 5 also includes 
implementation of a fall ESH creation release if System storage is at 
54.5 MAF or greater on October 17, normal flows that could create 250 
acres of ESH have not occurred in the previous four years, and 
downstream flow is below identified flood control constraints specific 
to this alternative. Alternative 5, also includes, as part of the AM 
plan, the potential for a one-time spawning cue release as described 
for Alternative 3.
    In addition to the actions common to Alternatives 3-6, Alternative 
6 would include mechanical construction of ESH at an average rate of 
304 acres per year when construction is needed in the Garrison, Fort 
Randall, and Gavins Point reaches. Alternative 6 also includes 
implementation of a spawning cue release, attempted every 3 years, 
consisting of a bimodal pulse in March and May. These spawning cue 
releases would not be started or would be terminated whenever 
downstream flow is at identified flood control constraints specific to 
this alternative.
    The draft EIS evaluates the potential effects on the human 
environment associated with each of the above alternatives. Resources 
and uses evaluated include: River infrastructure and hydrological 
processes; pallid sturgeon; piping plover and interior least tern; fish 
and wildlife habitat; other special status species; water quality; air 
quality; cultural resources; land use and ownership; commercial sand 
and gravel dredging; flood risk management and interior drainage; 
hydropower; irrigation; navigation; recreation; thermal power; water 
supply; wastewater facilities; tribal interests (other); human health 
and safety; environmental justice; ecosystem services; and Mississippi 
River resources.
    Meetings. Six public meetings to share information and to allow the 
public to provide oral and written comments will be held from 5:00 p.m. 
to 8:45 p.m. on:
     Tuesday, February 7, 2017--Fort Peck Interpretive Center, 
Yellowstone Road, Fort Peck, Montana 59223.
     Wednesday, February 8, 2017--Bismarck State College, 
National Energy Center of Excellence, 1500 Edwards Ave., Bismarck, 
North Dakota 58506.
     Thursday, February 9, 2017--Ramkota Hotel and Conference 
Center, 920 W Sioux Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota 57501.
     Tuesday, February 14, 2017--Thompson Alumni Center, 
Bootstrapper Hall, 6705 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68612.
     Wednesday, February 15, 2017--Hilton Kansas City Airport, 
Shawnee B, 8801 NW 112th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64153.
     Thursday, February 16, 2017--Double Tree Inn by Hilton 
Hotel, Ballroom A & B, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road, Chesterfield, 
Missouri 63017.
    Each public meeting will begin with an open house at 5:00 p.m. A 
formal presentation will be provided at 5:45 p.m. followed by a public 
hearing session. Several different methods of submitting comments will 
be available at each public meeting. The public meeting dates or 
locations may change based on inclement weather or exceptional 
circumstances. If the meeting date or location is changed, the USACE 
will issue a press release and post it on www.moriverrecovery.org to 
announce the updated meeting details.
    Schedule. Public comments on the draft MRRMP-EIS must be received 
by February 24, 2017. The USACE will consider and respond to all 
comments received on the draft MRRMP-EIS when preparing the final 
MRRMP-EIS. The USACE expects to issue the final EIS in the spring of 
2018, at which time a Notice of Availability will be published in the 
Federal Register. A Record of Decision is expected in the spring of 
2018.
    Special Assistance for Public Meeting. The meeting facilities are 
physically accessible to people with disabilities. People needing 
special assistance to attend and/or participate in the meetings should 
contact: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO-PM-
AC, 1616 Capitol Ave., Omaha, NE 68102 or email cenwo-planning@usace.army.mil. To allow sufficient time to process special 
requests, please contact no later than one week before the public 
meeting.
    Public Disclosure Statement. If you wish to comment, you may mail 
your comments as indicated under the

[[Page 91154]]

ADDRESSES section of this notice. Before including your address, phone 
number, email address, or any other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made available to the 
public at any time. While you can request us to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so.

    Dated: December 8, 2016.
Mark Harberg,
Missouri River Recovery Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
[FR Doc. 2016-30294 Filed 12-15-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P