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Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Supporting Surveys for the Jacksonville Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) Designation

USACE and EPA identified a need to either expand the existing Jacksonville ODMDS or designate a new ODMDS in the region.  USACE Jacksonville District contracted ANAMAR to be the lead in preparing an EIS, coordinating with USEPA and other agencies, and performing site designation studies to characterize and evaluate alternative sites based on USEPA’s site selection criteria. For this multi-year, multi-faceted project, ANAMAR

  1. Prepared a request letter to EPA to begin the ODMDS designation process. 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
  1. Organized and facilitated meetings including:
  • A 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 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 and public meeting to inform the public of the proposed action, present alternatives being evaluated, and provide an opportunity to submit comments.
  1. Designed and performed high-frequency sidescan sonar studies from EPA’s research vessel the OSV Two surveys were conducted to provide initial characterization of the seafloor and 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.
  2. Prepared an EIS and technical appendices 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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