USA: Corps Releases Final Environmental Assessment Documents

Corps Releases Final Environmental Assessment Documents

Col. Daniel C. Koprowski, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, has signed new documents which detail proposed improvements and modifications to the Diversion Project.

The documents update the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA), which focused on the proposed changes to the project since the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) dated July, 2011.

The modifications include:

1. Diversion channel modifications, including alignment shifts and channel cross-section modifications;

2. The addition of levees and floodwalls in downtown Fargo;

3. A ring levee around the communities of Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke, ND;

4. The addition of gates to the diversion inlet.

The Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was prepared and coordinated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The environmental review indicated that while the proposed modifications would result in some changes in the location, timing and magnitude of effects on some resources, the overall types and scope of impacts would not be an appreciable change from what was described in the EIS. An amended Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) evaluation was also prepared as part of the EA process. After final review of the comments received on the EA, the Corps made minor modifications to the documents. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1)Evaluation Supplement were signed by the District Engineer, Colonel Koprowski, on September 19.

The EA currently being released is the final version of this supplemental EA. The final EA addresses modifications to the project and includes responses to public comments received on the draft EA, the signed Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Evaluation Supplement and the signed Finding of No Significant Impact. The documents will be posted in the EA section of the FMDiversion.com Library on Tuesday, September 24.

Since the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement in July 2011, the Corps, the cities of Fargo and Moorhead and the Flood Diversion Board of Authority have been evaluating measures to improve the project and reduce impacts and costs. The proposed changes to the EIS, in the supplemental EA, were released in June of this year during a month-long public comment period. The period began on June 14, 2013 and ended on July 15, 2013.

All of the public presentations made by the Diversion Authority after the supplemental EA was released included updated maps and data, so that the information presented was current. The Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Diversion Authority, hosted approximately 150 people at a public meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at the Fargo Civic Center to discuss the latest EA. The meeting also updated landowners within the western and southern reaches of the proposed diversion channel.

The next step in the federal process includes awaiting federal authorization from Congress for construction of the Project.

The Diversion Project will involve the construction of a 36-mile long diversion channel located in North Dakota that will direct floodwater around the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area. If built, the project will protect more than 200,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure in the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood.

[mappress]

Press Release, September 23, 2013

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