Escarped beach conditions in Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Sediment Management Framework and Final Environmental Impact Statement

The National Park Service (NPS) prepared this final environmental impact statement (EIS) for a sediment management framework at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (the Seashore). The purpose of the EIS is to provide a streamlined framework for permitting sediment management actions at the Seashore, including the methods, locations, and frequency for sediment management actions that may be permitted over the next 20 years. In this context, the EIS addresses certain sediment management activities that may be requested by local jurisdictions, utility companies, state agencies, other federal agencies, other partners, and in some cases, the Seashore.

The Seashore has received requests and anticipates future requests for sediment management activities to protect critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, electrical transmission facilities, and other public transportation facilities; to repair island damages, including breaches that also affect transportation; and to restore habitat through the placement of dredged materials along eroded sections of barrier islands.

A sediment management framework is needed to assist the Seashore in addressing these requests in a timely manner, while avoiding and minimizing impacts that may be associated with such actions. This EIS presents three alternatives: A, B, and C, to evaluate options for a framework. Permitted sediment management activities would require consistent mitigation measures to reduce the impacts on Seashore resources and visitors. The EIS analyzes the beneficial and adverse impacts that could result from implementing any of the alternatives considered on littoral processes and barrier island morphology; benthic organisms and essential fish habitat; sea turtles; listed shorebird species; and structures and infrastructure. Upon conclusion of the EIS and decision-making process, one of the alternatives (or a combination of alternatives) will be selected for implementation and will update the approach for permitting sediment management activities at the Seashore.

This EIS was prepared in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington District Regulatory and Planning Divisions, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR or Refuge) and the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry and Highway Divisions, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), Dare County, and Hyde County.

The Notice of Availability for the draft EIS was published in the Federal Register on September 18, 2020, for a 45-day public comment period. A summary of and responses to substantive comments received on the draft EIS are provided in appendix E of this final EIS. Where needed, text was changed in this final EIS to address public comments. No sooner than 30 days after the US Environmental Protection Agency publishes the Notice of Availability of this final EIS in the Federal Register (March 26, 2021), the National Park Service South Atlantic Gulf Region 2 Regional Director will sign the Record of Decision that documents the alternative selected for implementation.

The FEIS is available for public review during the no action period from March 26-April 26, 2021.
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