Public Scoping for Fire Island National Seashore Dredging Projects
Contact: Paula Valentine, Public Affairs, 631-687-4759
Contact: Michael Bilecki, Chief of Natural Resources Management, 631-687-4760
Patchogue, NY – Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has begun planning for proposed projects to dredge the existing navigational channels and their associated marinas and docking facilities at three sites on Fire Island. The purpose of the projects is to re-establish safe, public access to NPS facilities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other storm events. Recent storms have deposited sediment into the navigation channels, marinas and some of the docking facilities at Sailors Haven, Watch Hill and Talisman/Barrett Beach, creating conditions that have increased the difficulty of navigation and access for two-way vessel traffic. "These channels are the 'major highways' into the Seashore's primary visitor facilities on Fire Island," stated Soller, "and we want to restore them to conditions that support safe navigation as efficiently and environmentally soundly as possible."
The environmental assessment (EA) for reducing the adverse impacts of dredging and placement and use of dredge materials will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide a decision-making framework that: 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives; 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values; and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.
The public has two opportunities to formally comment on the project: during the public scoping period for the EA, and again during a 30-day public review following release of the EA. Public scoping comments about the proposed projects, "Dredge Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, and Barrett Beach Channels and Marinas for Public Use and Safety," may be submitted electronically from July 15 through August 5, 2013 at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) web site:
No public meetings are planned during the public scoping period for this project. The EA is expected to be available online for a 30-day public review by early September 2013. Funded projects may not begin until after October 1, 2013. For more information about Fire Island National Seashore, visit the park's web site at www.nps.gov/fiis.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.