June 17, 2015
NPS takes steps to streamline Buxton beach nourishment
National Park Service announced today that it will prepare an
Environmental Assessment -- instead of a more complicated Environmental
Impact Statement -- to streamline its assessment of a Dare County
project to nourish beaches in north Buxton.
The county's project, which is being undertaken to protect Highway 12
from erosion and ocean overwash, will involve Cape Hatteras National
Seashore beaches. Therefore, it requires a special use permit from the
Last December, the Park Service announced it would prepare an
Environmental Impact Statement -- or EIS -- in order to evaluate the
project's impacts on seashore beaches. Last January, NPS had public
scoping meeting and accepted comment on its intention to prepare the
Today's announcement that that park officials will switch to an EA was
published in the Federal Register and is significant for several
David Hallac, seashore superintendent, said today that the Park Service
heard "loud and clear" from local residents at the public meetings and
in comments that the process needed to be speeded up as much as
The switch to the EA, he said, "makes more sense, is more efficient, and is quicker."
Hallac explained that two federal agencies are required to prepare
environmental documents for the nourishment project -- the NPS and the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, he said, was already doing an
And after the public meetings and comments, seashore officials realized that the full-blown EIS was not needed.
"The impacts are not going to be nearly what we thought they would be,"
said Michelle Havens, the seashore's chief of natural resources.
For instance, she said, the project will have much less impact on
turtle nesting than originally thought.
"Preliminary analysis of the alternatives," according to the Federal
Register notice, "shows there is no potential for significant impacts
to park resources and values and no concerns or issues were expressed
during the public scoping process that would have the potential for
highly controversial impacts."
Park Service staff members have already been regularly meeting with
county officials and representatives of the state and federal
regulatory agencies involved in the nourishment project. Now, the
Army Corps becomes the lead federal agency responsible for
preparing the EA, consistent with the National Environmental Policy
The project, which the county estimates will cost about $25 million, is
on currently on schedule to start early next summer and be completed in
August. Funding for the project is coming from a 2 percent
occupancy tax that the county has levied for restoration projects in
unincorporated Dare and its municipalities.
Click here to read to read the federal register annoucement.
For more information, contact Dennis Brookie, Project Manager for the
National Park Service, at 303-969-2493 or Raleigh Bland, Project
Manager with the USACE, at 910-251-4564. Information may also be
found on the park’s PEPC website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=55120.