Bonnie Clare Road Reconstruction Environmental Assessment

The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is proposing to reconstruct approximately 7.6 miles of Bonnie Clare Road in Death Valley National Park (park) from the park boundary at the Nevada-California border to its intersection with Ubehebe Crater Road. The proposed project is needed because the majority of this section of Bonnie Clare Road was damaged or destroyed by flooding in October 2015.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates two alternatives: a no action alternative and the NPS's preferred alternative. Under the no action alternative, the road would not be reconstructed and would remain closed to the public. Under the preferred alternative, the reconstructed road would have two 10-foot-wide paved travel lanes, each with a 1-foot shoulder. From the existing water intake facility to Scotty's Castle (approximately 1.5 miles), a water line and utility lines would be placed beneath one travel lane of the road. A dirt berm that protects the water intake facility also would be repaired and fortified to divert future flood flows away from the spring house and other features at the existing water intake facility. The reconstructed road would generally follow the alignment of the pre-flood road, with some modifications as needed to elevate the road above the new flow line of Grapevine Canyon. Buried concrete Jersey barriers, riprap embankment protection, and some minor stream realignment and restoration also would occur to make the reconstructed road more resilient against future floods.

This EA has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that (1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet the objectives of the proposal, (2) evaluates potential issues and impacts on resources and values, and (3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts. See also Appendix A: CEQA Mandatory Findings of Significance for an analysis of impacts pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Appendix A).

Resource topics analyzed in detail include cultural landscapes, wetlands and floodplains, special status species, and visitor use and safety. All other resource topics were dismissed because the proposed project would have little or no impact on those resources. Public scoping was conducted in accordance with NEPA.

Public Comment
If you wish to comment on this EA, you may post comments online at or mail or hand deliver comments to Superintendent, Death Valley National Park, P.O. Box 579, Death Valley, CA 92328. This EA will be on public review for a minimum of 30 days.

Superintendent Mike Reynolds will host public meetings to discuss the EAs and flood recovery efforts so far. The public is encouraged to attend to ask questions and to share their opinions. Light refreshments will be available.

Monday, December 4 at 5:00 pm
Bob Ruud Community Center, Pahrump

Tuesday, December 5 at 6:00 pm
Beatty Community Center

Tuesday, December 12 at 5:00 pm
Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Death Valley

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments will not be accepted by fax, by email, or in any other ways than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
Comment Period: Closed        Nov 21, 2017 - Jan 1, 2018
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