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Site Designation Studies - New Jacksonville ODMDS

USACE and EPA have identified a need to either expand the existing Jacksonville ODMDS or designate a new ODMDS in the region.  It is EPA’s policy to prepare an EIS for all ODMDS designations.  ANAMAR was contracted by USACE to prepare an EIS, coordinate with EPA and other agencies, and perform site designation studies to characterize and evaluate alternative sites based on EPA’s site selection criteria.  For this multi-year, multi-faceted project, ANAMAR has:

1. Conducted a literature review to compile and synthesize existing information and identify data gaps.

2. Organized and facilitated meetings including: - An informal information-gathering meeting with local stakeholders to obtain information about potential resources that may be impacted by the proposed action. - A planning meeting with EPA and USACE to develop a project schedule, discuss the process of new ODMDS designation, identify potential study areas, and discuss baseline studies required for site characterization. - Coordination meetings and conference calls with EPA, USACE, and agencies to discuss the proposed action and initiate consultation early in the NEPA process; present information gathered and discuss data gaps; and get feedback from agencies on local knowledge and concerns about resources, selection of study areas for initial investigation, and potential issues related to site designation among various users. - A scoping meeting to inform the public of the proposed action and provide an opportunity to submit comments. - A public meeting after the release of the Draft EIS to provide another opportunity for the public to submit comments on the preferred alternative. For each meeting, ANAMAR prepared an agenda, presented material, provided handouts, recorded meeting minutes, and identified action items to be assigned and completed.

3. Prepared a site designation letter to EPA requesting a modification to the existing Jacksonville ODMDS or designation of a new site.  The letter includes: - A rationale of the need for expansion - An estimate of long-term use of the site and its size - A discussion of economic and logistical factors and assessment of significant issues - A timeline in which action is needed

4. Designed and performed high-frequency sidescan sonar of the study areas from EPA’s research vessel the OSV Bold.  Two surveys were conducted to provide initial characterization of the seafloor and the determine the presence of hardbottom resources.  Results from the surveys were used to help identify three alternative sites to be studied in more detail and evaluated in the EIS.  As part of the data analysis, ANAMAR also - Post-processed and developed optimized gains for each area of survey - Mosaicked data - Mapped resources and substrate types - Coordinated video and diver ground-truthing - Generated a report of findings

5. Designed and performed two seasonal site designation studies to further characterize the physical, chemical, and biological components of the three alternative sites.  These studies consisted of: - Sediment sampling for physical and chemical analysis - Infaunal, epifaunal trawl, and mollusk dredge sampling for taxonomic identification and community assessment - Water chemistry sampling - Water column recording using a CTD profiler - Tissue sampling of epifauna for bioaccumulation analysis

6. Produced a comprehensive report of results and findings from site designation studies which was used to help select the preferred alternative site.  ANAMAR performed QA/QC on all raw data; compiled results into concise summary tables; and performed data interpretation consisting of benthic infaunal, molluscan, and epifaunal community characterization including community composition, abundance, managed species, and comparisons with past surveys.

7. Prepared an EIS that evaluates the alternative ODMDS sites; describes the physical, biological, and socioeconomic resources in the affected environment; and discusses environmental effects of the proposed action.  As part of the EIS, ANAMAR also prepared - A Biological Assessment - An Essential Fish Habitat assessment - A Coastal Zone Consistency Determination - An Air Quality Analysis

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