[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 57 (Friday, March 23, 2012)]
[Pages 17037-17038]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7038]



Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers

Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the 
Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA)--Louisiana, Mississippi River Hydrodynamic 
and Delta Management Study

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) intends to prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Louisiana Coastal Area 
(LCA)--Louisiana, Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management 
restoration study. This study will identify and evaluate a combination 
of large-scale management and restoration features to address the long-
term sustainability of the lower Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. 
Hydrodynamic models and other forecast methods will be used to 
determine existing water and sediment resources in the Mississippi 
River available to restore and sustain delta growth in the Mississippi 
River Delta and assess benefits and impacts of large-scale strategies 
that balance the interests of ecosystem restoration, flood risk 
reduction, and navigation. This EIS will be tiered off of the November 
2004, programmatic EIS for the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Louisiana, 
Ecosystem Restoration Study (LCA Study). The record of decision for the 
programmatic EIS was signed on November 18, 2005. This notice announces 
the USACE's intent to host six (6) public scoping meetings.

DATES: Comments on the scope of the EIS will be accepted until close of 
business on May 4, 2012. Please refer to the ``Scoping'' section below 
for instructions on how to submit public comments, the dates of the 
upcoming public scoping meetings and other meeting information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions concerning the draft EIS and 
scoping comments should be addressed to Dr. William P. Klein, Jr., 
CEMVN-PDN-CEP, P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160-0267; telephone: 
(504) 862-2540; fax: (504) 862-1583; or by email: 
[email protected].

    1. Authority. The Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta 
Management Study, identified as a large-scale, long-term restoration 
feature recommended for study in the 2004 LCA Study, is authorized to 
be studied under Section 7003 of the Water Resource Development Act 
(WRDA) 2007 (Pub. L. 110-114), as well as resolutions of the U.S. House 
of Representatives and Senate Committees on Public Works, dated April 
19, 1967 and October 19, 1967, respectively.
    2. Proposed Action. The Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta 
Management Study is the first large-scale, long-term restoration 
assessment investigated under the LCA Program. Ecosystem restoration 
features that increase the deposition of Mississippi

[[Page 17038]]

River sediment in shallow coastal areas and restore delta growth and 
wetland sustainability will be identified and evaluated. A series of 
hydrodynamic models will be used to evaluate Mississippi River sediment 
and water resources including: Hydraulics and the relationship of flow 
conditions to sediment transport, salinity intrusion, the flux of key 
nutrients, deposition and erosion, and the net results of these 
processes in river channel and distributary morphology over more than 
300 miles of the river (Old River to the Gulf of Mexico). These models 
will be used for this study and future LCA Program studies and 
projects. Large-scale river diversions and outfall management measures 
that optimize the river sediment and freshwater resources to provide 
long-term restoration and sustainability of the Delta Plain, including 
the sediment-starved barrier shorelines, will be considered. Possible 
navigation alternative scenarios could include consideration of new 
navigation channels to the east or west of the current Mississippi 
River alignment. Navigation channel analysis would be limited to 
preliminary screening as any navigation channel re-alignment scenarios 
would require, at a minimum, re-scoping the present study.
    The Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study will 
evaluate potential benefits and impacts to both the natural and human 
environments. This study will provide methods for quantifying effects 
and developing large-scale management strategies and projects that 
balance the interests of ecosystem restoration, flood control, and 
navigation purposes for Louisiana and the Nation.
    3. Public Involvement. Public involvement, an essential part of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, is integral to 
assessing the environmental consequences of the proposed action and 
improving the quality of the environmental decision making. The public 
includes affected and interested Federal, state, and local agencies, 
Indian tribes, concerned citizens, stakeholders, and other interested 
parties. Public participation in the EIS process will be strongly 
encouraged, both formally and informally, to enhance the probability of 
a more technically accurate, economically feasible, and socially 
acceptable EIS. Public involvement will include, but is not limited to: 
Information dissemination; identification of problems, needs and 
opportunities; idea generation; public education; problem solving; 
providing feedback on proposals; evaluation of alternatives; public and 
scoping notices and meetings; public, stakeholder and advisory groups 
consultation and meetings; and making the EIS and supporting 
information readily available in conveniently located places, such as 
libraries and on the world wide web.
    4. Scoping. Scoping, an early and open process for identifying the 
scope of significant issues related to the proposed action to be 
addressed in the EIS, will be used to: (a) Identify the affected public 
and agency concerns; (b) facilitate an efficient EIS preparation 
process; (c) define the issues and alternatives that will be examined 
in detail in the EIS; and (d) save time in the overall process by 
helping to ensure that the draft EIS adequately addresses relevant 
issues. The USACE will host six (6) NEPA public scoping meetings at the 
following locations on the dates indicated between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.:
    Tuesday, April 10, 2012: Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, 
LaBelle Room-1st Floor, 617 North 3rd Street Baton Rouge, LA.
    Thursday, April 12, 2012: Port of New Orleans, Auditorium 1st 
Floor, 1350 Port Of New Orleans Place New Orleans, LA.
    Tuesday, April 17, 2012: Larose Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, 
Cuttoff, LA.
    Thursday, April 19, 2012: Boothville Elementary, 1 Oiler 
Drive Boothville, LA.
    Tuesday, April 24, 2012: Waveland Civic Center, 335 Coleman Avenue 
Waveland, MS.
    Thursday, April 26, 2012: St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers, 8201 
W. Judge Perez Drive Chalmette, LA.
    A Scoping Meeting Notice announcing the specific locations, driving 
directions, dates and times for scoping meetings is anticipated to be 
mailed to interested parties in March 2012.
    5. Coordination. The USACE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(USFWS) have formally committed to work together to conserve, protect, 
and restore fish and wildlife resources while ensuring environmental 
sustainability of our Nation's water resources under the January 22, 
2003, Partnership Agreement for Water Resources and Fish and Wildlife. 
The USFWS will provide a Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report. 
Coordination will be maintained with the USFWS and the National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding threatened and endangered species 
under their respective jurisdictional responsibilities. Coordination 
will be maintained with the NMFS regarding essential fish habitat. 
Coordination will be maintained with the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service regarding prime and unique farmlands. The U.S. Department of 
Agriculture will be consulted regarding the ``Swampbuster'' provisions 
of the Food Security Act. Coordination will be maintained with the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency concerning compliance with Executive 
Order 12898, ``Federal Action to Address Environmental Justice in 
Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.'' Coordination will be 
maintained with the Advisory Counsel on Historic Preservation and the 
State Historic Preservation Officer. The Louisiana Department of 
Natural Resources will be consulted regarding consistency with the 
Coastal Zone Management Act. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries will be consulted concerning potential impacts to Natural and 
Scenic Rivers.
    6. Availability of Draft EIS. The earliest that the draft EIS will 
be available for public review would be in 2016. The draft EIS or a 
notice of availability will be distributed to affected Federal, state, 
and local agencies, Indian tribes, and other interested parties.

    Dated: March 13, 2012.
Edward R. Fleming,
Colonel, U.S. Army, District Commander.
[FR Doc. 2012-7038 Filed 3-22-12; 8:45 am]