Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Draft Swift Tract Living Shoreline Supplemental Environmental Assessment, 10339-10341 [2022-03887]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 37 / Thursday, February 24, 2022 / Notices This project would provide information on the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of early and late stage American lobster larvae and their likely zooplankton prey in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. This study would use one federally permitted lobster vessel to conduct sampling with a neuston net at a single offshore site (Lobster Management Area 3) during 10 5–10 day fishing trips between May 15, 2022, and October 15, 2022. The participants would record physical parameters and conduct three 15-minute tows on a single day during each trip. After each tow, participants would preserve zooplankton in 500 mL sample bottles, a total of up to 30 bottles of preserved plankton, and transfer the samples to the project researchers. The crew has been trained to operate the scientific gear and obtain the samples without a technician on board. The Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association received an EFP for this project in 2021, but the crew was only able to sample on 4 of the 14 proposed dates in 2021. This EFP would allow the project team to complete the work and meet the project objectives. Participants would land and sell legal catch caught in standard gear during the trips. If approved, the applicant may request minor modifications and extensions to the EFP throughout the year. EFP modifications and extensions may be granted without further notice if they are deemed essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and have minimal impacts that do not change the scope or impact of the initially approved EFP request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited. (Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) Dated: February 18, 2022. Ngagne Jafnar Gueye, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–03905 Filed 2–23–22; 8:45 am] jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 23, 2022 Jkt 256001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB804] Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Draft Swift Tract Living Shoreline Supplemental Environmental Assessment National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a Consent Decree with BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BP), the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Federal natural resource trustee agencies for the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group (Alabama TIG) have prepared a Draft Swift Tract Living Shoreline Supplemental Environmental Assessment (Draft Supplemental EA). This Draft Supplemental EA evaluates the proposed removal of rocks from the bay bottom near the Swift Tract project action area and the placement of the removed rocks on a nearby breakwater. The proposed action falls within the general scope of the purpose and need for the original project, Swift Tract Living Shoreline, identified in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Phase III ERP/PEIS) and is consistent with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS), as it focuses on the restoration of injuries to Alabama’s natural resources and services—in particular to Restoration Type: ‘‘Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats,’’ using funds made available in early restoration and through the DWH Consent Decree (see Final PDARP/PEIS [DWH Trustees 2016: Chapter 10]). The Alabama TIG evaluated the environmental consequences of the alternatives in accordance with NEPA. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the Draft Supplemental EA and to seek public comments on the document. DATES: The Alabama TIG will consider public comments received on or before March 28, 2022. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10339 Obtaining Documents: You may access the Draft Supplemental EA from the ‘‘News’’ section of the Alabama TIG website at: https://www.gulfspill restoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/ alabama. Alternatively, you may request a CD of the Draft Supplemental EA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT below). Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the Draft Supplemental EA by one of the following methods: • Via the Web: https://www.gulfspill restoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/ alabama; • Via U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 29649, Atlanta, GA 30345. Please note that mailed comments must be postmarked on or before the comment deadline given in DATES. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stella Wilson, NOAA Restoration Center, 850–332–4169, estelle.wilson@ noaa.gov. ADDRESSES: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction On April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, which was being used to drill a well for BP Exploration and Production, Inc. (BP), in the Macondo prospect (Mississippi Canyon 252– MC252), experienced a significant explosion, fire, and subsequent sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in an unprecedented volume of oil and other discharges from the rig and from the wellhead on the seabed. The DWH oil spill is the largest off shore oil spill in U.S. history, discharging millions of barrels of oil over a period of 87 days. In addition, well over one million gallons of dispersants were applied to the waters of the spill area in an attempt to disperse the spilled oil. An undetermined amount of natural gas was also released into the environment as a result of the spill. The DWH Federal and State natural resource trustees (DWH Trustees) conducted the natural resource damage assessment for the DWH oil spill under OPA (OPA; 33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.). E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 10340 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 37 / Thursday, February 24, 2022 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Pursuant to OPA, Federal and State agencies act as trustees on behalf of the public to assess natural resource injuries and losses and to determine the actions required to compensate the public for those injuries and losses. OPA further instructs the designated trustees to develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent of the injured natural resources under their trusteeship, including the loss of use and services from those resources from the time of injury until the time of restoration to baseline (the resource quality and conditions that would exist if the spill had not occurred) is complete. The DWH Trustees are: • U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management; • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce; • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); • State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Department of Natural Resources; • State of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; • State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama; • State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and • State of Texas: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land Office, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The Trustees reached and finalized a settlement of their natural resource damage claims with BP in an April 4, 2016, Consent Decree approved by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Pursuant to that Consent Decree, restoration projects in the Alabama Restoration Area are now selected and implemented by the Alabama TIG. Background The Alabama Swift Tract Living Shoreline project (hereafter ‘‘the project’’) was selected in the Final Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Phase III ERP/PEIS). NOAA is the lead implementing Trustee for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 23, 2022 Jkt 256001 project. The original Swift Tract project is located in the eastern portion of Bon Secour Bay (part of Mobile Bay) approximately 6 miles northwest of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, Alabama. Construction was completed in February 2017 and 7 years of postconstruction performance monitoring is ongoing. The project created approximately 1.75 miles (2.8 kilometers) of breakwaters in Bon Secour Bay to dampen wave energy and reduce shoreline erosion, while also providing habitat and increasing benthic secondary productivity. The project is adjacent to the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and within the NERR buffer area. Following construction completion, NOAA project team members were notified that there may be rocks located in Bon Secour Bay the project site, but outside the footprint of the breakwater. Thus, in March 2018, NOAA, through its contractor, collected sidescan sonar acoustic imaging, magnetometer, and single beam bathymetry surveys of the water bottom adjacent to the breakwaters to determine the location of any potential rock piles near the breakwater construction area. The results indicate that there are several hard surface contacts, likely rock piles, within the survey area. Recommendations from a corrective action report include either removing the material or leaving the material inplace as reef habitat. Both alternatives are evaluated in this Draft Supplemental EA. Overview of the Alabama TIG Draft Supplemental EA As described in Section III of this Draft Supplemental EA (the ‘‘OPA Summary’’), the Alabama TIG has determined that the proposed corrective action does not alter its original conclusions for the Swift Tract project under OPA and its implementing regulations. Thus, the Alabama TIG concludes that implementation of the corrective action proposed in this Supplemental EA does not require further OPA evaluation, and this Supplemental EA focuses its analysis on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed corrective action under NEPA. This Supplemental EA provides NEPA analysis for the Swift Tract proposed corrective action by supplementing the NEPA analysis for the Phase III ERP/PEIS. The supplemental NEPA analysis provided in this Swift Tract Supplemental EA augments and incorporates by reference the applicable sections (Chapter 11, Affected Environment, Environmental PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Consequences for the Swift Tract Restoration Project) of the Phase III ERP/ PEIS. This supplemental analysis considers any additional environmental impacts that would result from implementation of the corrective action that are not described and analyzed in the Phase III ERP/PEIS. The Draft Supplemental EA evaluates the proposed removal of rocks from the bay bottom near the Swift Tract project action area and the placement of the removed rocks on a nearby breakwater. The proposed rock removal and breakwater placement locations are adjacent to, but outside of, the project action area identified in the Final Phase III ERP/PEIS. Due to the close proximity of the new removal and placement areas to the existing Swift Tract breakwater, the Affected Environment for the proposed removal and placement areas would be the same as that evaluated for the Swift Tract breakwater in the Phase III ERP/PEIS. The environmental consequences of the proposed corrective action are also anticipated to fall generally within the scope of the environmental consequences evaluated for the original project. Therefore, the Environmental Consequences reviewed in the Swift Tract project evaluation, in Chapter 11, Section 11.4 of the Final Phase III ERP/PEIS, are reviewed in the Supplemental EA to evaluate the likely environmental consequences of the proposed corrective action and the ‘‘No Action’’ alternatives to determine whether implementation of the proposed corrective action may alter the conclusions made in the Final Phase III ERP/PEIS. Under the ‘‘No Action’’ alternative, the rocks currently located on the water bottom would not be removed from the water bottom and would instead be left in place. Next Steps The public is encouraged to review and comment on the Draft Supplemental EA. After the public comment period ends, the Alabama TIG will consider and address comments received before issuing a Final Supplemental EA. A summary of comments received and the Alabama TIG’s responses and any revisions to the document, as appropriate, will be included in the final document. Administrative Record The documents comprising the Administrative Record for the Draft Supplemental EA can be viewed electronically at https://www.doi.gov/ deepwaterhorizon/adminrecord. E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 37 / Thursday, February 24, 2022 / Notices Authority The authority of this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) and its implementing Oil Pollution Act Natural Resource Damage Assessment regulations found at 15 CFR part 990 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Dated: February 17, 2022. Carrie Diane Robinson, Director, Office of Habitat Conservation, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–03887 Filed 2–23–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB814] Marine Mammals; File No. 26375 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that Jay Rotella Ph.D., Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii). DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before March 28, 2022. ADDRESSES: The application and related documents are available for review by selecting ‘‘Records Open for Public Comment’’ from the ‘‘Features’’ box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 26375 from the list of available applications. These documents are also available upon written request via email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@ noaa.gov. Written comments on this application should be submitted via email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include File No. 26375 in the subject line of the email comment. Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request via email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@ noaa.gov. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Young or Carrie Hubard, (301) 427– 8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The subject permit is requested under the jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 23, 2022 Jkt 256001 authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216). The applicant proposes to evaluate how temporal variation in the marine environment affects individual lifehistories, immigration, and the dynamics of a population of long-lived mammal in Antarctica, primarily in Erebus Bay. This application requests permission to annually capture, tag and release up to 1,205 Weddell Seals (820 pups; 385 adults), to weigh up to 150 Weddell seal pups 35 days after birth, to collect tissue samples from 300 Weddell seals (150 pups; 150 adults), and to approach up to 2,770 Weddell seals a maximum of eight times to read tags. All samples will be transported via the U.S. Antarctic Program through Christchurch, New Zealand to institutions in the United States where they will be archived for various assays and studies. A maximum of eight crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), and two leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) may be unintentionally harassed annually. The permit would be valid for 5 years. In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors. Dated: February 17, 2022. Julia M. Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–03892 Filed 2–23–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10341 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB811] Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Weeks Bay Land Acquisition (Lloyd Tract) Project: Supplemental Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: Notice of availability and Finding of No Significant Impact. ACTION: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a Consent Decree with BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BP), the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies for the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group (Alabama TIG) have prepared a ‘‘Final Weeks Bay Land Acquisition (Lloyd Tract) Project: Supplemental Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (Supplemental RP/EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)’’. The Supplemental RP/EA describes the restoration project alternatives considered by the Alabama TIG to provide for additional restoration benefits for Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats (WCNH) in the Alabama Restoration Area by replacing the Harrod Tract acquisition and management project approved in the ‘‘Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands; Nutrient Reduction (Nonpoint Source); Sea Turtles; Marine Mammals; Birds; and Oysters (Alabama TIG RP II/EA)’’ with the acquisition and management of another property (Lloyd Tract) in the Weeks Bay watershed. The Alabama TIG evaluated its alternatives under criteria set forth in the OPA natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) regulations, and evaluated the environmental consequences of the restoration alternatives in accordance with NEPA. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the Final Supplemental RP/EA and FONSI. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 37 (Thursday, February 24, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10339-10341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-03887]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[RTID 0648-XB804]


Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama 
Trustee Implementation Group Draft Swift Tract Living Shoreline 
Supplemental Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a Consent Decree with BP 
Exploration & Production Inc. (BP), the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Federal 
natural resource trustee agencies for the Alabama Trustee 
Implementation Group (Alabama TIG) have prepared a Draft Swift Tract 
Living Shoreline Supplemental Environmental Assessment (Draft 
Supplemental EA). This Draft Supplemental EA evaluates the proposed 
removal of rocks from the bay bottom near the Swift Tract project 
action area and the placement of the removed rocks on a nearby 
breakwater. The proposed action falls within the general scope of the 
purpose and need for the original project, Swift Tract Living 
Shoreline, identified in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Programmatic 
and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (Phase III ERP/PEIS) and is consistent 
with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Final Programmatic Damage 
Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS), as it focuses on the restoration of 
injuries to Alabama's natural resources and services--in particular to 
Restoration Type: ``Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats,'' using 
funds made available in early restoration and through the DWH Consent 
Decree (see Final PDARP/PEIS [DWH Trustees 2016: Chapter 10]). The 
Alabama TIG evaluated the environmental consequences of the 
alternatives in accordance with NEPA. The purpose of this notice is to 
inform the public of the availability of the Draft Supplemental EA and 
to seek public comments on the document.

DATES: The Alabama TIG will consider public comments received on or 
before March 28, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may access the Draft Supplemental 
EA from the ``News'' section of the Alabama TIG website at: https://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/alabama. 
Alternatively, you may request a CD of the Draft Supplemental EA (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT below).
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the Draft 
Supplemental EA by one of the following methods:
     Via the Web: https://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/alabama;
     Via U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 
29649, Atlanta, GA 30345. Please note that mailed comments must be 
postmarked on or before the comment deadline given in DATES.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stella Wilson, NOAA Restoration 
Center, 850-332-4169, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    On April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater 
Horizon, which was being used to drill a well for BP Exploration and 
Production, Inc. (BP), in the Macondo prospect (Mississippi Canyon 252-
MC252), experienced a significant explosion, fire, and subsequent 
sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in an unprecedented volume of 
oil and other discharges from the rig and from the wellhead on the 
seabed. The DWH oil spill is the largest off shore oil spill in U.S. 
history, discharging millions of barrels of oil over a period of 87 
days. In addition, well over one million gallons of dispersants were 
applied to the waters of the spill area in an attempt to disperse the 
spilled oil. An undetermined amount of natural gas was also released 
into the environment as a result of the spill.
    The DWH Federal and State natural resource trustees (DWH Trustees) 
conducted the natural resource damage assessment for the DWH oil spill 
under OPA (OPA; 33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.).

[[Page 10340]]

Pursuant to OPA, Federal and State agencies act as trustees on behalf 
of the public to assess natural resource injuries and losses and to 
determine the actions required to compensate the public for those 
injuries and losses. OPA further instructs the designated trustees to 
develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, 
replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent of the injured natural 
resources under their trusteeship, including the loss of use and 
services from those resources from the time of injury until the time of 
restoration to baseline (the resource quality and conditions that would 
exist if the spill had not occurred) is complete.
    The DWH Trustees are:
     U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by 
the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau 
of Land Management;
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on 
behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce;
     U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA);
     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
     State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration 
Authority, Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, Department of Environmental 
Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Department of 
Natural Resources;
     State of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality;
     State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural 
Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;
     State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection 
and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and
     State of Texas: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas 
General Land Office, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
    The Trustees reached and finalized a settlement of their natural 
resource damage claims with BP in an April 4, 2016, Consent Decree 
approved by the United States District Court for the Eastern District 
of Louisiana. Pursuant to that Consent Decree, restoration projects in 
the Alabama Restoration Area are now selected and implemented by the 
Alabama TIG.

Background

    The Alabama Swift Tract Living Shoreline project (hereafter ``the 
project'') was selected in the Final Programmatic and Phase III Early 
Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement (Phase III ERP/PEIS). NOAA is the lead implementing 
Trustee for the project. The original Swift Tract project is located in 
the eastern portion of Bon Secour Bay (part of Mobile Bay) 
approximately 6 miles northwest of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, 
Alabama. Construction was completed in February 2017 and 7 years of 
post-construction performance monitoring is ongoing. The project 
created approximately 1.75 miles (2.8 kilometers) of breakwaters in Bon 
Secour Bay to dampen wave energy and reduce shoreline erosion, while 
also providing habitat and increasing benthic secondary productivity. 
The project is adjacent to the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research 
Reserve (NERR) and within the NERR buffer area.
    Following construction completion, NOAA project team members were 
notified that there may be rocks located in Bon Secour Bay the project 
site, but outside the footprint of the breakwater. Thus, in March 2018, 
NOAA, through its contractor, collected sidescan sonar acoustic 
imaging, magnetometer, and single beam bathymetry surveys of the water 
bottom adjacent to the breakwaters to determine the location of any 
potential rock piles near the breakwater construction area. The results 
indicate that there are several hard surface contacts, likely rock 
piles, within the survey area. Recommendations from a corrective action 
report include either removing the material or leaving the material in-
place as reef habitat. Both alternatives are evaluated in this Draft 
Supplemental EA.

Overview of the Alabama TIG Draft Supplemental EA

    As described in Section III of this Draft Supplemental EA (the 
``OPA Summary''), the Alabama TIG has determined that the proposed 
corrective action does not alter its original conclusions for the Swift 
Tract project under OPA and its implementing regulations. Thus, the 
Alabama TIG concludes that implementation of the corrective action 
proposed in this Supplemental EA does not require further OPA 
evaluation, and this Supplemental EA focuses its analysis on the 
potential environmental impacts of the proposed corrective action under 
NEPA.
    This Supplemental EA provides NEPA analysis for the Swift Tract 
proposed corrective action by supplementing the NEPA analysis for the 
Phase III ERP/PEIS. The supplemental NEPA analysis provided in this 
Swift Tract Supplemental EA augments and incorporates by reference the 
applicable sections (Chapter 11, Affected Environment, Environmental 
Consequences for the Swift Tract Restoration Project) of the Phase III 
ERP/PEIS. This supplemental analysis considers any additional 
environmental impacts that would result from implementation of the 
corrective action that are not described and analyzed in the Phase III 
ERP/PEIS.
    The Draft Supplemental EA evaluates the proposed removal of rocks 
from the bay bottom near the Swift Tract project action area and the 
placement of the removed rocks on a nearby breakwater.
    The proposed rock removal and breakwater placement locations are 
adjacent to, but outside of, the project action area identified in the 
Final Phase III ERP/PEIS. Due to the close proximity of the new removal 
and placement areas to the existing Swift Tract breakwater, the 
Affected Environment for the proposed removal and placement areas would 
be the same as that evaluated for the Swift Tract breakwater in the 
Phase III ERP/PEIS. The environmental consequences of the proposed 
corrective action are also anticipated to fall generally within the 
scope of the environmental consequences evaluated for the original 
project. Therefore, the Environmental Consequences reviewed in the 
Swift Tract project evaluation, in Chapter 11, Section 11.4 of the 
Final Phase III ERP/PEIS, are reviewed in the Supplemental EA to 
evaluate the likely environmental consequences of the proposed 
corrective action and the ``No Action'' alternatives to determine 
whether implementation of the proposed corrective action may alter the 
conclusions made in the Final Phase III ERP/PEIS. Under the ``No 
Action'' alternative, the rocks currently located on the water bottom 
would not be removed from the water bottom and would instead be left in 
place.

Next Steps

    The public is encouraged to review and comment on the Draft 
Supplemental EA. After the public comment period ends, the Alabama TIG 
will consider and address comments received before issuing a Final 
Supplemental EA. A summary of comments received and the Alabama TIG's 
responses and any revisions to the document, as appropriate, will be 
included in the final document.

Administrative Record

    The documents comprising the Administrative Record for the Draft 
Supplemental EA can be viewed electronically at https://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon/adminrecord.

[[Page 10341]]

Authority

    The authority of this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 
U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) and its implementing Oil Pollution Act Natural 
Resource Damage Assessment regulations found at 15 CFR part 990 and the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

    Dated: February 17, 2022.
Carrie Diane Robinson,
Director, Office of Habitat Conservation, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-03887 Filed 2-23-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P