The public has 15 days from Monday to review and comment on the draft of the Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI, for dredging of Oregon Inlet with a Dare County dredge.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore announced Monday that public comments will be accepted until May 25 electronically through the website or mailed to Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, N.C. 27954.
Dare County is seeking a Special Use Permit from the seashore to use a privately owned hopper dredge in the same manner and under the same conditions as what is currently authorized for the Army Corps of Engineers to perform maintenance dredging of small and isolated, regularly occurring shoals within Oregon Inlet, which is within seashore boundaries, according to the National Park Service.
The Corps’ regulatory control over the project includes the dredging and discharge of dredged material within the the Oregon Inlet corridor and the disposal areas as a federally authorized navigation channel.
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, the National Park Service is adopting the environmental assessment the Corps drafted for the Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting in which the National Park Service was a cooperating agency.
An environmental assessment, or EA, is a document that provides sufficient information to determine if a federal action has the potential to cause significant environmental effects. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Corps and National Park Service reviewed Dare County’s January 2019 draft environmental assessment, which examined alternatives and environmental effects of the proposed project.
The statements and conclusions reached in this draft FONSI are based on documentation and analysis provided in the Corps’ environmental assessment with supplemental analysis provided in the Dare County environmental assessment to support the National Park Service decision. To the extent necessary, relevant sections of the Corps’ environmental assessment are incorporated in the FONSI.