Availability of Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks Systems Feasibility Study, Brazos and Matagorda Counties, TX, 8251-8252 [2018-03852]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 38 / Monday, February 26, 2018 / Notices Missions/Civil-Works/Section408/) and at http://www.regulations.gov reference docket number COE–2018–0003. Responses per Respondent: 1.1, approximately. Annual Responses: 94. Average Burden per Response: 14.2 hours, approximately. Annual Response Burden Hours: 1,334. The public comment period that began on February 5, 2018 (83 FR 5075) is extended until April 6, 2018. DATES: Summary of Information Collection The clause at DFARS 252.243–7002, Requests for Equitable Adjustment, is prescribed at DFARS 243.205–71 for use in solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items that are estimated to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. The clause requires contractors to certify that requests for equitable adjustment that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold are made in good faith and that the supporting data are accurate and complete. The clause also requires contractors to fully disclose all facts relevant to the requests for adjustment. Jennifer L. Hawes, Regulatory Control Officer, Defense Acquisition Regulations System. [FR Doc. 2018–03856 Filed 2–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Extension of comment period. On February 5, 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published a notice announcing the availability of a draft Engineer Circular (EC), which is an agency policy document, for a 30-day comment period. This draft EC provides the proposed policies and procedures related to how USACE will process certain requests by others to alter a USACE civil works project pursuant to Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended (more commonly referred to as Section 408). This notice announces the extension of the comment period by an additional 30 days. The extension of the comment period is a result of requests by entities to allow more time to submit their comments. The draft EC is available for review on the USACE Section 408 website (http://www.usace.army.mil/ daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:58 Feb 23, 2018 Jkt 244001 Ms. Tammy Conforti at 202–761–4649, email HQ-Section408@usace.army.mil, or visit http://www.usace.army.mil/ Missions/Civil-Works/Section408/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Policy and Procedural Guidance for Processing Requests To Alter U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects Pursuant to Section 408 AGENCY: You may submit comments identified by docket number COE– 2018–0003 by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Email: HQ-Section408@ usace.army.mil and include the docket number COE–2018–0003 or ‘‘EC 1165– 2–220 Comments’’ in the subject line of the message. Mail: Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: CECW–CE/3E62, 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20314–1000. Hand Delivery/Courier: Due to security requirements, we cannot receive comments by hand delivery or courier. Instructions: Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the document published on February 5, 2018 (83 FR 5075). Consideration will be given to all comments received by April 6, 2018. ADDRESSES: In the February 5, 2018 issue of the Federal Register (83 FR 5075), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published a notice announcing the availability of a draft Engineer Circular (EC), which is an agency policy document, for a 30-day comment period. This draft EC provides the proposed policies and procedures related to how USACE will process certain requests by others to alter a USACE civil works project pursuant to Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended (more commonly referred to as Section 408). Several entities have requested an extension of the comment period. USACE finds that an extension of the comment period is warranted. Therefore, the comment period for the draft EC extended until April 6, 2018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: February 20, 2018. James C. Dalton, Director of Civil Works. [FR Doc. 2018–03851 Filed 2–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 8251 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Availability of Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks Systems Feasibility Study, Brazos and Matagorda Counties, TX Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District (USACE) announces the release of the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (DIFR–EIS) for the Recommended Plan of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW): Brazos River Floodgates (BRFG) and Colorado River Locks (CRL) Systems Feasibility Study, Brazos and Matagorda Counties, TX. The DIFR–EIS documents the existing condition of environmental resources in and around areas considered for development, and potential impacts on those resources as a result of implementing the alternatives. SUMMARY: The Galveston District will hold a public meeting for the DIFR–EIS on March 13, 2018 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. USACE will accept written public comments on the DIFR–EIS from February 26, 2018 to April 11, 2018. Comments on the DIFR–EIS must be postmarked by April 11, 2018. ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the West Columbia Civic Center, 516 E. Brazos Ave. (State Highway 35), West Columbia, TX 77486. Comments may be submitted at the public meeting or mailed to the District Engineer, P.O. Box 1229, Galveston, TX 77553. Comments may also be sent to the District Engineer via email at BRFG_ CRL_FeasibilityStudy@usace.army.mil. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Galveston District Public Affairs Office at 409–766–3004 or swgpao@ usace.army.mil. DATES: Authority: The lead agency for this proposed action is USACE. This study has been prepared in response to the provision of funds in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 1998, under the authority of Section 216 of the 1970 Flood Control Act. The non-federal sponsor is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\26FEN1.SGM 26FEN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 8252 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 38 / Monday, February 26, 2018 / Notices Background: The USACE, with input provided by the non-federal sponsor, TxDOT, and other Federal, State, and local resource agencies, prepared the GIWW BRFG/CRL DIFR–EIS. The GIWW BRFG/CRL study was recommended for feasibility level analysis after completion of a 2000 reconnaissance report entitled, GIWW Modifications, Texas Section 905(b) Analysis, to determine federal interest. It encompassed two locations on the GIWW along the Texas Coast. The BRFG is located about 7 miles southwest of Freeport, TX, at the crossings of the Brazos River and the GIWW in Brazoria County. The CRL are located near Matagorda, TX, at the intersection of the Colorado River and the GIWW in Matagorda County. In 1940, six 75-foot-wide gated structures, which were designed to control flows and silt into the GIWW at the Brazos and Colorado Rivers, were completed. The gates are closed during higher flow events, which generally carry more sediments, thus reducing shoaling and therefore dredging in the GIWW. Although the structural improvements on both rivers helped to reduce shoaling, they created their own set of delays to navigation. The narrow opening of the gated structure creates an impedance to the flow of water causing the water to swell and rise locally, which accelerates the water through the structure, creating hazardous navigation conditions. At a certain level of swell, or head differential, navigation is deemed too hazardous and the river crossing is closed to navigation. The 75foot-wide opening also requires tows that are assembled to two barges wide to break down to single wide to traverse the structures. The narrow gate opening and crossing geometry create hazardous cross currents and eddies, which when coupled with winds and other drivers are the cause for numerous vessel impacts (allisions) to the structures. These problems combine to create massive average delays to navigation, which became the single-most important economic driver and decision point for the study process. The study process includes an in-depth investigation of the existing practices and conditions for navigation as well as an extrapolation of these practices and conditions into the future to establish a baseline, or without-project condition, to which all improvements, measures/ alternatives, can be measured. Recommended Plan: The Recommended Plan includes structural measures for both the Brazos and Colorado River crossings. The Brazos River crossing portion of the plan will be in the existing channel alignment VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:58 Feb 23, 2018 Jkt 244001 with open channel on the west side and a gate structure (125 feet wide) on the east side. The open channel on the west side changes the river reactions and the overall sediment deposit distribution compared to the without-project condition. Modeling has determined that sediments will result in an increase of 8% in dredging volumes and costs above current levels. The current cost estimate for construction is approximately $147.8 million including contingencies. The Colorado River crossing portion of the plan will also be in the existing channel alignment and include gate removal of the riverside gate structures while retaining the outer gates, creating a wider (125 feet) channel and much longer forebay, reducing barge allisions with the guidewalls. For the Colorado crossing, full gated structures remain, resulting in minimal changes to sediment distribution patterns. The current cost estimate for construction is approximately $36.9M including contingencies. To quantitatively analyze and compare alternatives, monetized benefits of the alternatives were estimated using a stand-along model developed and approved for use by this study. Benefits were compared to costs to develop benefit-cost ratios (BCR) and net benefits estimates. The system BCR for the Recommended Plan is 2.5. Project Impacts and Environmental Compliance: The recommended plan would result in the loss of approximately 6.0 acres of wetlands at the BRFG and 0.7 acre of wetlands at the CRL, primarily due to excavation of temporary bypass channels. The USACE would provide onsite mitigation for the impacted wetlands in the form of wetland creation. The proposed project is not expected to adversely affect federally listed threatened or endangered species. A net increase in sedimentation would occur at the BRFG as a result of the Recommended Plan, and maintenance dredging would be needed to prevent or reduce shoaling due to natural sediment deposition processes. Potential hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste (HTRW) concerns may occur at the BRFG and CRL facilities, such as possible lead paint on the structures and potential for contaminants in sediment deposits in the areas. These areas will be tested as appropriate and, depending on the sediment sample results, there will be additional efforts for disposal, treatment, or additional health and safety requirements during construction. The impact analysis determined there would be only minor impacts to soils PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 and waterbottoms, water quality, turbidity, protected wildlife species (i.e., marine mammals, bald and golden eagles, and migratory birds), benthic organisms, commercial and recreational fisheries, essential fish habitat, coastal barrier resources, air quality, and noise. No impacts to floodplains and flood control, salinity levels, protected/ managed lands, or historic and cultural resources are anticipated. No impacts to minority or low-income populations are expected, and the proposed project would provide a long-term economic benefit to the shipping industry by making travel through the BRFG and CRL more efficient. Coordination is ongoing with applicable Federal and State agencies regarding potential project impacts and environmental compliance. Solicitation of Comments: The USACE is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Comments will be used in preparation of the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement. Document Availability: Compact disc copies of the DIFR–EIS are available for viewing at the following libraries: • Brazoria Library, 620 South Brooks, Brazoria, TX 77422 • Clute Branch Library, 215 North Shanks Street, Clute, TX 77531 • Freeport Library, 410 Brazosport Blvd., Freeport, TX 77541 • Lake Jackson Library, 250 Circle Way, Lake Jackson, TX 77566 • West Columbia Branch Library, 518 East Brazos, West Columbia, TX 77486 • Bay City Public Library, 1100 7th Street, Bay City, TX 77414 • Matagorda Branch Library, 800 Fisher Street, Matagorda, TX 77457 The document can also be viewed and downloaded from the Galveston District website: http:// www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWith-Us/Planning-EnvironmentalBranch/Documents-for-Public-Review/. Arnold R. Newman, Acting Director, Regional Planning and Environmental Center. [FR Doc. 2018–03852 Filed 2–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P E:\FR\FM\26FEN1.SGM 26FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 38 (Monday, February 26, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8251-8252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03852]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


Availability of Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and 
Environmental Impact Statement for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: 
Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks Systems Feasibility 
Study, Brazos and Matagorda Counties, TX

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

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District (USACE) announces the 
release of the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental 
Impact Statement (DIFR-EIS) for the Recommended Plan of the Gulf 
Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW): Brazos River Floodgates (BRFG) and 
Colorado River Locks (CRL) Systems Feasibility Study, Brazos and 
Matagorda Counties, TX. The DIFR-EIS documents the existing condition 
of environmental resources in and around areas considered for 
development, and potential impacts on those resources as a result of 
implementing the alternatives.

DATES: The Galveston District will hold a public meeting for the DIFR-
EIS on March 13, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. USACE will accept written 
public comments on the DIFR-EIS from February 26, 2018 to April 11, 
2018. Comments on the DIFR-EIS must be postmarked by April 11, 2018.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the West Columbia Civic 
Center, 516 E. Brazos Ave. (State Highway 35), West Columbia, TX 77486. 
Comments may be submitted at the public meeting or mailed to the 
District Engineer, P.O. Box 1229, Galveston, TX 77553. Comments may 
also be sent to the District Engineer via email at 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Galveston District Public Affairs 
Office at 409-766-3004 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority: The lead agency for this proposed 
action is USACE. This study has been prepared in response to the 
provision of funds in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations 
Act of 1998, under the authority of Section 216 of the 1970 Flood 
Control Act. The non-federal sponsor is the Texas Department of 
Transportation (TxDOT).

[[Page 8252]]

    Background: The USACE, with input provided by the non-federal 
sponsor, TxDOT, and other Federal, State, and local resource agencies, 
prepared the GIWW BRFG/CRL DIFR-EIS. The GIWW BRFG/CRL study was 
recommended for feasibility level analysis after completion of a 2000 
reconnaissance report entitled, GIWW Modifications, Texas Section 
905(b) Analysis, to determine federal interest. It encompassed two 
locations on the GIWW along the Texas Coast. The BRFG is located about 
7 miles southwest of Freeport, TX, at the crossings of the Brazos River 
and the GIWW in Brazoria County. The CRL are located near Matagorda, 
TX, at the intersection of the Colorado River and the GIWW in Matagorda 
County.
    In 1940, six 75-foot-wide gated structures, which were designed to 
control flows and silt into the GIWW at the Brazos and Colorado Rivers, 
were completed. The gates are closed during higher flow events, which 
generally carry more sediments, thus reducing shoaling and therefore 
dredging in the GIWW. Although the structural improvements on both 
rivers helped to reduce shoaling, they created their own set of delays 
to navigation. The narrow opening of the gated structure creates an 
impedance to the flow of water causing the water to swell and rise 
locally, which accelerates the water through the structure, creating 
hazardous navigation conditions. At a certain level of swell, or head 
differential, navigation is deemed too hazardous and the river crossing 
is closed to navigation. The 75-foot-wide opening also requires tows 
that are assembled to two barges wide to break down to single wide to 
traverse the structures. The narrow gate opening and crossing geometry 
create hazardous cross currents and eddies, which when coupled with 
winds and other drivers are the cause for numerous vessel impacts 
(allisions) to the structures.
    These problems combine to create massive average delays to 
navigation, which became the single-most important economic driver and 
decision point for the study process. The study process includes an in-
depth investigation of the existing practices and conditions for 
navigation as well as an extrapolation of these practices and 
conditions into the future to establish a baseline, or without-project 
condition, to which all improvements, measures/alternatives, can be 
measured.
    Recommended Plan: The Recommended Plan includes structural measures 
for both the Brazos and Colorado River crossings. The Brazos River 
crossing portion of the plan will be in the existing channel alignment 
with open channel on the west side and a gate structure (125 feet wide) 
on the east side. The open channel on the west side changes the river 
reactions and the overall sediment deposit distribution compared to the 
without-project condition. Modeling has determined that sediments will 
result in an increase of 8% in dredging volumes and costs above current 
levels. The current cost estimate for construction is approximately 
$147.8 million including contingencies.
    The Colorado River crossing portion of the plan will also be in the 
existing channel alignment and include gate removal of the riverside 
gate structures while retaining the outer gates, creating a wider (125 
feet) channel and much longer forebay, reducing barge allisions with 
the guidewalls. For the Colorado crossing, full gated structures 
remain, resulting in minimal changes to sediment distribution patterns. 
The current cost estimate for construction is approximately $36.9M 
including contingencies.
    To quantitatively analyze and compare alternatives, monetized 
benefits of the alternatives were estimated using a stand-along model 
developed and approved for use by this study. Benefits were compared to 
costs to develop benefit-cost ratios (BCR) and net benefits estimates. 
The system BCR for the Recommended Plan is 2.5.
    Project Impacts and Environmental Compliance: The recommended plan 
would result in the loss of approximately 6.0 acres of wetlands at the 
BRFG and 0.7 acre of wetlands at the CRL, primarily due to excavation 
of temporary bypass channels. The USACE would provide onsite mitigation 
for the impacted wetlands in the form of wetland creation. The proposed 
project is not expected to adversely affect federally listed threatened 
or endangered species. A net increase in sedimentation would occur at 
the BRFG as a result of the Recommended Plan, and maintenance dredging 
would be needed to prevent or reduce shoaling due to natural sediment 
deposition processes.
    Potential hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste (HTRW) concerns 
may occur at the BRFG and CRL facilities, such as possible lead paint 
on the structures and potential for contaminants in sediment deposits 
in the areas. These areas will be tested as appropriate and, depending 
on the sediment sample results, there will be additional efforts for 
disposal, treatment, or additional health and safety requirements 
during construction.
    The impact analysis determined there would be only minor impacts to 
soils and waterbottoms, water quality, turbidity, protected wildlife 
species (i.e., marine mammals, bald and golden eagles, and migratory 
birds), benthic organisms, commercial and recreational fisheries, 
essential fish habitat, coastal barrier resources, air quality, and 
noise. No impacts to floodplains and flood control, salinity levels, 
protected/managed lands, or historic and cultural resources are 
anticipated. No impacts to minority or low-income populations are 
expected, and the proposed project would provide a long-term economic 
benefit to the shipping industry by making travel through the BRFG and 
CRL more efficient. Coordination is ongoing with applicable Federal and 
State agencies regarding potential project impacts and environmental 
compliance.
    Solicitation of Comments: The USACE is soliciting comments from the 
public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian 
tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate 
the impacts of this proposed activity. Comments will be used in 
preparation of the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and 
Environmental Impact Statement.
    Document Availability: Compact disc copies of the DIFR-EIS are 
available for viewing at the following libraries:

 Brazoria Library, 620 South Brooks, Brazoria, TX 77422
 Clute Branch Library, 215 North Shanks Street, Clute, TX 77531
 Freeport Library, 410 Brazosport Blvd., Freeport, TX 77541
 Lake Jackson Library, 250 Circle Way, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
 West Columbia Branch Library, 518 East Brazos, West Columbia, 
TX 77486
 Bay City Public Library, 1100 7th Street, Bay City, TX 77414
 Matagorda Branch Library, 800 Fisher Street, Matagorda, TX 
77457

    The document can also be viewed and downloaded from the Galveston 
District website: http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Planning-Environmental-Branch/Documents-for-Public-Review/.

Arnold R. Newman,
Acting Director, Regional Planning and Environmental Center.
[FR Doc. 2018-03852 Filed 2-23-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P