Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Stationing and Training of Increased Aviation Assets Within U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK)
The Army intends to prepare an EIS to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with the stationing and training of increased numbers and types of aviation assets within Alaska. The proposed increase and reorganization will allow the Army to transition to a force that is capable of providing a broad range of integrated aviation training experience to the forces of USARAK and more aviation capabilities when the unit deploys to support operational missions abroad. Existing aviation units would potentially be reorganized and stationed at Fort Wainwright, Fort Richardson or other military installations to support the training of aviation assets on U.S. Army training lands in Alaska. The reorganized unit would be capable of providing first line air transport, air reconnaissance, and close air support. The new aviation unit would be built around the existing USARAK aviation fleet of 30 medium and heavy lift transport helicopters, and USARAK's 640 aviation personnel. To this the Army proposes to add helicopters capable of providing medical evacuation, air reconnaissance, close air support, and aviation attack capabilities. The proposed aviation unit, an Aviation Task Force or Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), would potentially consist of up to 62 medium and heavy lift helicopters, 30 combat scout helicopter, 24 attack helicopters, and between 1,200 to 2,850 personnel. This proposed stationing and training of increased aviation assets involves construction of new facilities, execution of day-to-day support operations, and routine joint military training at nearby training lands and ranges. The action may have significant environmental impacts resulting from training and construction required as part of the proposed reorganization. Significant impacts resulting from this action may include impacts to air space, noise, and cultural resources. The EIS will analyze the impacts of the proposed action and a full range of reasonable alternatives upon Alaska's natural and man-made environments.