[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 234 (Friday, December 5, 1997)]
[Pages 64366-64367]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-31941]



Corps of Engineers, Department of Army

Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement/
Environmental Impact Report for the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration 
Project, Orange County, CA

AGENCY: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Los Angeles District, 

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: The Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and 
the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) propose to restore the 
Bolsa Chica Wetlands by dredging approximately 1.5 million cubic yards 
of material from the interior, and creating full and managed tidal 
areas through the construction of a new ocean inlet at the southeastern 
corner of the project site and interior culvert placement.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions regarding the scoping 
process or preparation of the EIS/EIR may be directed to Ms. Ruth Bajza 
Villalobos, Chief, Environmental Resources Branch, U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, P.O. Box 532711, Los Angeles, California, 90053-2325, (213) 


1. Proposed Action

    On behalf of a Federal/State Interagency Steering Committee, the 
Corps, the Service and the CSLC are proposing to restore the Bolsa 
Chica wetlands to enable the restoration of habitats offsetting the 
biological impacts of future port development and expansion at both the 
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The proposed project will restore 
wetland and aquatic functions at Bolsa Chica as oil extraction is 
phased out and contamination is removed. The Bolsa Chica Wetlands have 
been acquired through the use of funds provided by the Ports of Los 
Angeles and Long Beach, and title to the property is held by the 
California State Lands

[[Page 64367]]

Commission. The project goal is to retain existing fish and wildlife 
resources and, to the extent feasible, the enhancement thereof. 
Further, the ecosystem resulting from implementation of the plan should 
be naturalistic, biologically diverse, productive, and estuarine in 
nature. That is, it shall be predominately salt water influenced, but 
incorporate biologically beneficial freshwater influences. In addition, 
the acreage of waters and wetlands in the lowland should not be 
diminished. The proposed Concept Plan for restoration would consists 
of: (1) Acquisition of approximately 880 acres in the Bolsa Chica 
lowlands; (2) restoration of wetlands and habitat areas in Bolsa Chica 
Lowlands, including approximately 384 acres of full tidal and 220 acres 
of managed tidal; (3) monitoring activities to determine the condition 
of the restored habitats on a regular basis and the necessary 
operation, maintenance and management of the project feature and its 
associated physical features, both during and after construction of 
those physical features, and (4) necessary maintenance/management of 
the restored wetland. The Concept Plan involves the dredging of 
approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of material from the interior of 
the wetland, the construction of a new stabilized tidal inlet through 
the existing beach, and associated bridges as required to maintain 
traffic flows through the area.

2. Alternatives

    A series of informal public workshops were held to solicit public 
input into the development of preliminary project alternatives. These 
preliminary alternatives conceptually include the ``No Action'' 
Scenario; water management measures; the Concept Plan, as described 
above; alternate scenarios for routing floodwaters from the existing 
Garden Grove-Wintersburg flood control channel through the project 
area; alternate locations for a new tidal inlet; and alternate ways to 
restore tidal influence to the wetland (such as culverts or a non-
jettied inlet). These preliminary project alternatives, along with the 
proposed action and the No Action scenarios, will be screened down into 
a series of final alternatives. These final alternatives will be 
carried forward into detailed analyses pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321, as amended) 
and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) of 1970 (Public 
Resources Code, Sections 21000-21177).

3. Scoping Process

    The Corps, Service and CSLC, on behalf of all 8 Project Steering 
Committee agencies, are preparing a joint Environmental Impact 
Statement/Report (EIS/R) to address potential impacts associated with 
implementing their respective discretionary actions associated with the 
proposed project. The Corps and the Service are the Lead Federal 
Agencies for compliance with NEPA for the project, and the CSLC is the 
Lead State Agency for compliance with the CEQA for the non-Federal 
aspects of the project. The Draft EIS/R (DEIS/R) document will 
incorporate public concerns in the analysis of impacts associated with 
the Proposed Action and associated project alternatives. The DEIS/R 
will be sent out for a 45-day public review period, during which time 
both written and verbal comments will be solicited on the adequacy of 
the document. The Final EIS/R (FEIS/R) will address the comments 
received on the DEIS/R during public review, and will be furnished to 
all who commented on the DEIS/R, and is made available to anyone that 
requests a copy during the 30-day public comment period. The final step 
involves, for the federal EIS, preparing a Record of Decision (ROD) 
and, for the state EIR, certifying the EIR and adopting a Mitigation 
Monitoring and Reporting Plan. The ROD is a concise summary of the 
decisions made by the Corps and the Service from among the alternatives 
presented in the FEIS/R. The ROD can be published immediately after the 
FEIS public comment period ends. A certified EIR indicates that the 
environmental document adequately assesses the environmental impacts of 
the proposed project with respect to CEQA. A formal scoping meeting to 
solicit public comment on the proposed action and alternatives will be 
held on December 11, 1997 at 7:00 P.M., in the Huntington Beach City 
Council Chambers, Huntington Beach, California.

    Dated: November 26, 1997.
Robert L. Davis,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers, District Engineer.
[FR Doc. 97-31941 Filed 12-4-97; 8:45 am]