NOAA Environmental Assessment for Earthen Drainage Channel
Ahtna completed a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA); a finding of No Significant Impact Statement (FONSI); a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA); applied and obtained the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nationwide Permit (NWP), and conducted two public notices for a proposed earthen drainage channel for the Burley Creek Hatchery. The proposed action included a 500-ft long and 3-ft deep earthen drainage channel and associated outlet which is required to route an increased volume of treated effluent, resulting from greater fish rearing capacity planned for the expansion of the Burley Creek Hatchery. The Hatchery is an active fish hatchery for the ESA-listed Snake River sockeye salmon.
The Ahtna team prepared a final EA for the Hatchery site regarding the effects of the earthen drainage channel on the surrounding environment. The EA incorporated anticipated effects on water resources/hydrology, archaeological/cultural resources, wildlife, vegetation, wetland, ESA species, and visual/aesthetic resources. As part of the EA, we conducted field studies on biological resources, wetland delineation, archaeological/cultural resources, and social parameters. The draft EA determined that the proposed earthen drainage channel would not adversely affect the aforementioned resources based on site investigations, design analysis and recommendation, and existing and proposed site conditions. In addition, Ahtna worked closely with NOAA to address comments from Bonneville Power Administration, — a major stakeholder, on the draft EA and FONSI. Ahtna also assisted in submitting and obtaining a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) and a USACE NWP to acquire the proper environmental permits for construction.
In response to tribal comments on cultural resources, the Ahtna team conducted a cultural resources survey, which included a review of records at the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) and pertinent literature on the archaeology, ethnography, and history of the project vicinity, and a cultural resources field survey program to investigate and document any cultural resources in site surface and subsurface soil. The Ahtna team also coordinated and consulted with DAHP and responsible tribes on findings in accordance to Section 106 of the of the National Historic Preservation Act, and received concurrence from DAHP on our finding that no historic properties would be impacted by the proposed project. We prepared a simplified cultural resources management plan for NOAA in support of the proposed EDC construction activities.
Ahtna also conducted a hydrological study to provide water quality data for Burley Creek, and evaluated the issue of potential flooding caused by natural creek flow as well as the proposed increase of discharge from the hatchery.
- Cultural Resources Survey
- Environmental Assessment