Wow, it is already the end of February, where does the time go? It's time for an update on what we have been working on over the past month. There’s a lot going on concurrently right now, so I’ll break up my update by subject to more easily highlight what’s happening.
While the Kodiak Airport EIS includes several measures to avoid and minimize impacts, we are continuing our work on developing and refining a mitigation plan to mitigate those significant environmental impacts that are unavoidable. As a quick recap of impacts detailed in the EIS, the preferred RSA alternatives would not completely avoid long-term environmental adverse impacts to wetlands (0.1 acres), waters of the US (17.8 acres), the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (17.8 acres), and subsistence.
As part of developing the appropriate mitigation, we have upcoming agency and tribal coordination meetings in Kodiak and Anchorage the week of March 4th. We will be discussing potential mitigation measures to develop a reasonable compensatory mitigation package for identified significant impacts. We are still developing the details of the plan, but I will send everyone an update as the mitigation measures continue to get flushed out.
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA)
In my last message, I mentioned that we would be scheduling ANILCA Title XI hearings to receive comments on the potential impacts on those lands protected by ANILCA, such as the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. ANILCA requires that we will hold a hearing in both Kodiak and Washington D.C. Based on our current schedule, the hearings should be held around mid-March. I’ll send a message out once we officially have those hearings on the calendar.
Since our last update, the FAA has determined that an ANILCA Section 810 Subsistence evaluation will be prepared for the project. Section 810 applies to projects that could affect subsistence resources on federal lands and because the proposed projects affect subsistence resources, FAA is preparing an 810 Evaluation for the preferred alternatives. This evaluation will be released publically for review and comment. As with Title XI, Section 810 also requires public hearings and we plan to hold the hearings for the 810 Evaluation at the same time as the Title XI ANILCA hearings.
We will also provide a comment period for both Title XI and the Section 810 Evaluation, likely during the month of March. The comment period will last approximately one month. Again, once we have these dates cemented, we’ll get the word out. The team will also place advertisements in local news sources for the hearing times, locations, and comment periods.
Final EIS Release
The team is busily developing responses to all comments received on the Draft EIS. As mentioned in my last update, responses to all comments will be included in the Final EIS, along with any necessary changes to the document itself based on the comments. As a reminder, we uploaded all the comments received on the Draft EIS onto the website, so if you have not already gotten a chance to open them up and are interested in what was submitted, take a look. The link is provided below.
The Final EIS is scheduled to be released later this summer. As usual, I’ll provide updates as we go.
As always, thank you for your interest in this project. As we move forward on this project, I will continue to keep you updated with our progress. But in the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions. You can always reach me at 907-271-5453 or via email at Leslie.Grey@faa.gov.
Best Regards, Leslie
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division