[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68748-68749]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27752]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and 
Feasibility Report for the Cano Martin Pena Ecosystem Restoration, San 
Juan, PR

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

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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SUMMARY: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(Corps) intends to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
(DEIS) and Feasibility Report (FR) for the ecosystem restoration of the 
Cano Martin Pena (CMP) within the San Juan Bay National Estuary (SJBE), 
San Juan, Puerto Rico. The CMP Ecosystem Restoration Project consists 
of (a) dredging approximately 825,200 cubic yards of sediments and 
debris in 2.2 miles of the eastern segment of the CMP, from the San 
Jose Lagoon westbound to the Enrique Marti Coll Linal Park pedestrian 
bridge; and, (b) installing sheet piles along north and south of the 
CMP. Additional features include, among others, a mangrove restoration 
project along the CMP, formal public spaces for recreation and 
interaction between the communities, visitors and the CMP identified as 
water plazas, and a mangrove restoration project at the Suarez Canal. 
The project is a cooperative effort between the Corps and the non-
Federal sponsor Corporacion del Proyecto ENLACE del Cano Martin Pena 
(ENLACE).

ADDRESSES: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, 
Planning Division, Environmental Branch, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, 
FL 32232-0019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wilberto Cubero by email at 
martinpena@usace.army.mil or by telephone at (904) 232-2050.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: These DEIS and FR will be prepared under the 
provisions of the Memorandum for Commander, South Atlantic Division 
(CESAD-PM) Implementation Guidance for Section 5127 of the Water 
Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA 2007)--Cano Martin Pena, San 
Juan, Puerto Rico dated October 27, 2008. A Reconnaissance Report 
completed in June 2004 by the Corps, concluded that there is 
justification to continue into more detailed investigation and that 
there was strong Federal interest in proceeding to the feasibility 
phase.

[[Page 68749]]

    Background: The CMP is a tidal channel 3.75 miles long in 
metropolitan San Juan, Puerto Rico and one of eight interconnected 
bodies of water within the SJBE, the only tropical estuary in the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Estuary Program (NEP). 
The SJBE interior coastal lagoons and tidal channels are connected to 
the Atlantic Ocean at both ends. Extending from east to west through 
eight densely populated impoverished communities in San Juan, the CMP 
connects the San Juan Bay with the San Jose and Los Corozos Lagoons, 
which are further connected by the Suarez Canal to La Torrecilla Lagoon 
and the Atlantic Ocean. The drainage area of the CMP comprises about 
2,500 acres. Historically, the CMP had an average width of 
approximately 200 feet and a depth between 6 to 8 feet and provided 
tidal exchange between San Juan Bay and San Jose Lagoon. The CMP's 
ability to convey flows has been almost completely blocked as a result 
of siltation, accumulation of household and construction debris, and 
encroachment of housing and other structures, thus affecting the 
habitat functional value and water quality in both the CMP and San Jose 
Lagoon. Water quality has been affected by the lack of sewer systems 
and proper trash collection in neighboring areas. The study area is the 
SJBE and the detailed project area is the eastern half of the CMP from 
the Enrique Marti Coll pedestrian bridge eastward, the San Jose and Los 
Corozos Lagoons, and the western half of the Suarez Canal.
    Purpose: The purpose of this project is to restore the hydraulic 
connection and tidal exchange between the San Jose Lagoon and the San 
Juan Bay, and thus, in the SJBE. The dredging of 2.2 miles of the CMP 
will restore and improve habitat functional value and water quality in 
both the CMP and San Jose Lagoon, and significantly enhance the fish 
and wildlife habitats and water quality of the entire SJBE, thus 
achieving ecological uplift. The tidal restoration will achieve viable, 
healthy, diverse, and sustainable conditions that are necessary to 
support life. The project will also improve the quality of life of 
approximately 26,000 residents along the CMP, addressing health and 
safety concerns. As ancillary benefits, the project will reduce the 
risk of flooding, and promote recreation and tourism, with minimal 
temporary negative impact on the ecosystem and the adjacent 
communities. It will create new economic development opportunities for 
the San Juan Metropolitan Area and Puerto Rico, while contributing to 
the protection of crucial port and airport facilities. The Project 
responds to one of the most significant ecosystem restoration and 
environmental justice efforts in Puerto Rico.
    Alternatives: The restoration of the CMP will occur within the 
Public Domain lands associated with the CMP Maritime Terrestrial Zone, 
as per Commonwealth Law 489 of September 24, 2004. The alternative 
interventions within the restoration area include no action, 
rectangular section 100 feet wide x 10 feet deep channel width with 
earth bottom and sheet piles; hybrid section 100 feet x 10 feet channel 
width with earth bottom and sheet piles in some areas and slopes in 
others; rectangular section 75 feet wide x 10 feet deep channel with 
articulated cement bottom and sheet piles; and hybrid section 75 feet 
wide x 10 feet deep canal with articulated cement bottom and sheet 
piles in some areas and slopes in others.
    All the alternatives may restore open water resources and improve 
the wetland and benthic habitat functional value. The Corps will 
consider other project measures such as in-bay sediment disposal and 
the relocation of infrastructure.
    Issues: The DEIS will consider impacts on benthic communities, 
protected species, public health and safety, water quality, aesthetics 
and recreation, fish and wildlife resources, cultural resources, 
conservation resources, environmental justice, and other impacts 
identified through scoping, public involvement and interagency 
coordination.
    Scoping: Scoping has been conducted by ENLACE, the non-Federal 
sponsor and leading local expert, over the past 10 years. ENLACE 
conducted a scoping meeting and interagency review in 2003, and created 
varied mechanisms to ensure continued participation of all concerned 
parties. The scoping process has involved federal, state, and municipal 
agencies, residents along the CMP, as well as other interested persons 
and organizations.
    Public Involvement: We invite the participation of affected 
federal, state and local agencies, and other interested private 
organizations and individuals. There will be a public meeting on the 
DEIS following its preparation. The exact location, date, and time of 
the public meeting will be announced in a public notice and local 
newspapers.
    Coordination: The proposed action is being coordinated with the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) [under Section 7 of the Endangered 
Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act] and with the 
National Marine Fisheries Service [under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (on Essential Fish Habitat)] and 
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The proposed action is also 
being coordinated with the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation 
Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    Other Environmental Review and Consultation: The proposed action 
would involve evaluation for compliance with guidelines pursuant to 
Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act, water quality certification 
(application to the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board) pursuant 
to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, certification of state lands, 
easements, and rights-of-way, and determination of Coastal Zone 
Management Act Consistency.
    Agency Role: As the cooperating agency, non-Federal sponsor and 
leading local expert, ENLACE will provide information and assistance on 
the resources to be impacted and construction mitigation measures and 
alternatives. Additionally, other agencies with either regulatory 
authority or special expertise have been incorporated and are 
participating in an interagency Technical Dredge Committee coordinated 
by ENLACE. These agencies may be called upon in preparation of the 
DEIS.
    DEIS Preparation: It is anticipated that the DEIS will be available 
for public review in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

    Dated: November 2, 2012.
Eric P. Summa,
Chief, Environmental Branch.
 [FR Doc. 2012-27752 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]
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