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National Seashore releases Finding of No Significant Impact for its Bayside Picnic and South Ocean Beach Parking Areas Removal and Relocation Environmental Assessment

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Date: March 14, 2014
Contact: Liz Davis, 410-629-6087

Superintendent Debbie Darden announced today the next step toward completing the Bayside Picnic and South Ocean Beach Parking Areas Removal and Relocation environmental assessment: a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Preferred Alternative has been signed by NPS Regional Director Mike Caldwell and is now posted online.

The NPS received comments from many members of the public and state and federal agencies. Based on concerns expressed in public comments and the analysis presented in the environmental assessment, the National Park Service has re-examined the alternatives presented in the environmental assessment. As a result of the public comments, the National Park Service has selected alternative B (the preferred alternative) for the South Ocean Beach Parking Area and selected elements of both the no action and alternative B for the Bayside Picnic Parking Area for implementation. The Bayside Picnic Parking Area will stay in its current location, but will be reconstructed with a clay base and clamshell surface to help ensure that in future storm events asphalt is not washed into the bay.

“We listened to the public’s comments very carefully, and have tried to craft a solution that both protects the bay environment and safeguards bird habitat,” Superintendent Debbie Darden noted. “We plan to begin a new process to find a permanent solution to the gradual erosion of the existing Bayside parking lot in the next few months. We hope to work carefully with the public to look at a broad range of alternatives that can ensure public access while protecting habitat.”

The environmental assessment examined two alternatives in detail, addressed the environmental impacts of each alternative, and identified a preferred alternative. The FONSI explains why the Selected Alternative (Alternative B) will have no significant effects on the human environment. It is based on the environmental assessment and the comments received from the public, agencies, and staff during the public review period, which concluded September 25, 2013. The FONSI summarizes the public comments received, lists the responses to those comments, and identifies the changes to the text as a result of the public and agency comments.

The FONSI for the Preferred Alternative is posted on NPS Planning, Environment and Public
Comment website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/) and on the National Seashore website at http://www.nps.gov/asis/parkmgmt/planning.htm. Hard copies are available for viewing at both the Maryland and Virginia visitor centers.
- NPS -

Did You Know?

Prickly pear cactus is native to dry, sandy areas on Assateague Island. 4 kb

Prickly pear cactus is native to dry, sandy areas on Assateague Island. American Indians applied peeled pads to wounds and drank pad tea for lung ailments. Fruits were eaten fresh or dried for winter use.