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Environmental Assessment Available to Replace Santa Rosa Island Pier

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Date: August 31, 2007
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell E. Galipeau, Jr. has announced the availability of the recently prepared Environmental Assessment for Replacing the Pier at Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island. The document, which describes and examines the impacts of the proposed project, will be on public review from August 30 through September 30, 2007.

The existing pier was originally built in the early 1870s to serve ranching needs on the island. Major repairs or reconstruction of the pier occurred in 1913 and again during World War II in 1945. The current pier was repaired and rebuilt shortly after the National Park Service (NPS) acquired Santa Rosa Island in 1987, to provide access to the island for visitors and safe operations for cooperators, researchers, and employees.

The repairs made by the NPS in 1987 were temporary in nature and not intended to last for more than 20 years. Currently the pier is the only viable access for supplies and materials to support all island operations including visitor services, resource management, research and maintenance. It also provides essential visitor access via concession boat and private vessel for this 53,000-acre island. At present, the pier is servicing approximately 700 vessel landings per year. Since 1987 the pier has suffered heavy corrosion from the marine environment and deterioration from storms and overall use. Emergency repairs were conducted in 2002, 2004 and 2006 to replace corroded pier pilings.

The preferred NPS alternative is to replace the pier within its current footprint. The height of the pier would be increased to approximately 23 feet above the Mean Low Low Water to situate it out of the storm surge. The pier would connect to the shore at an elevation matching the original pier elevation. Disturbance of the existing road to the pier would be largely confined to the 15 feet immediately adjacent to where the pier connects to the land. Impacts would be minimal beyond this area. A new trench drain would be installed on the land side of the pier structure. The staging area for construction would be located on the bluff above the pier in a previously disturbed area that has served as the staging area for past pier maintenance and island operations.

Potential reviewers may obtain a copy of the document from the park visitor center or by calling the park at (805) 658-5706. A copy of the document is also available at Park Planning.

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