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Scoping input is welcome through Oct. 3. Please refer to the Scoping Input Form for details. A open house-style public scoping meeting was held Sept. 13 at the Coos Bay Library. The display boards and large map viewed at the meeting are available in Related Documents section on this webpage. 

For more information or to provide input during the scoping comment period, refer to information in the Your Role in NEPA section on this page. You can also email us or contact us via U.S. Mail at:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR
97208-2946

or call us at 503-808-4510.

Port of Coos Bay's Proposed Channel Modification

Environmental Impact Statement

Coos Bay proposed channel modification map

The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is proposing modifications to the lower Coos Bay Federal Navigation Channel to deepen, widen and lengthen the channel and alter other related federal navigation components. The Port’s project is made up of several proposed actions to improve navigation efficiency, to reduce shipping transportation costs and to facilitate the shipping industry’s transition to larger, more efficient vessels.

The Port is using an authority provided by the U.S. Congress under Section 204 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended in 2014 and 2016 to propose, and if approved, construct modifications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ federal navigation project. While the Corps is not a proponent of, or advocate for, this project, it must deliver three separate decisions, including an approval from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and permitting under several Corps programs. The Corps will prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act to evaluate the effects of these proposed actions and support consideration of these decisions and approvals.

Visit the Port of Coos Bay for details on their proposed channel modification project.

Corps Roles

Authorities, Decisions and Approvals

Section 204 authorizes non-federal interests such as the Port to construct certain water resource development projects subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Army, through the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. To issue this Section 204(f) Federal Assumption of Maintenance approval, three determinations must be made:

  1. Is it in the federal government’s interest to assume operation and maintenance of the navigation channel improvements the Port would construct? If this approval is granted, an agreement between the Port and the Corps for future channel maintenance must be in place prior to the start of any construction.
  2. Would the channel modification be constructed in accordance with applicable permits and appropriate engineering and design standards?
  3. Would the Federal Navigation Channel project continue to be feasible?

Under Section 408, the Corps has authority to grant permission to the Port to alter the existing navigation channel, a federally authorized civil works project. To this end, the Port must submit a Section 408 Request for Approval with the Chief of Engineers at Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Corps has authority to permit work in navigable waters of the U.S., to permit the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., and permit the transport of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it into ocean waters. The level of approval for these required Department of the Army permits is the Corps’ Portland District Commander.

Coordination with the Port

The Port is coordinating with the Corps on the design and engineering of the proposed modification and long-term maintenance of the channel. Developing a shared understanding between the Port and the Corps regarding how the Port plans and assesses their proposal leads to better decisions, helps ensure modifications are within design standards and federal authorities, and helps fulfill Congress’ intent for long-term federal and local investments in ports. This coordination is important because the Corps would have to agree to eventual assumption of maintenance for the modified channel.

This involvement also helps uphold the Corps’ role as the steward of good channel maintenance in Coos Bay, which provides direct national and local economic benefits, including regional and local jobs.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

NEPA and an Environmental Impact Statement

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is one of the nation’s oldest environmental laws that established a national policy on the environment and requires federal agencies to evaluate the effects of their proposed actions in a public process. NEPA requires agencies to consider alternatives and disclose the environmental effects of their proposed actions that have the potential to result in significant environmental effects. An environmental impact statement is the resulting document. Input at key points in the NEPA process from Tribal, federal, state and local governments, public and private organizations, individuals and community groups helps identify issues and opportunities related to an agency’s proposed action while considering those aspects of the built and natural environment that people value today.

A single, comprehensive environmental impact statement for the Port’s proposed project will be issued to fulfill the Corps’ requirements under NEPA. The Corps is the lead federal agency for the preparation of the draft EIS and will invite other federal and state agencies to participate as cooperating agencies in this effort.

The Citizen's Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act is a useful resource for those that are not familiar with NEPA and related regulations.

Categories Considered Under NEPA

  • Air Quality
  • Cultural Resources
  • Environmental Justice
  • Land Use
  • Navigation
  • Recreation
  • Dredged Material
  • Social Considerations
  • Socioeconomics
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Tribal Interests
  • Water Quality
  • Wetlands
  • Wildlife

Your Role in NEPA Scoping

Collecting the right level of information at the right time is important in this effort. This requires early and frequent engagement of affected federal, state and local agencies, affected Native American Tribes, and interested groups and individuals. “Scoping” is an early step in the process when the public is invited to provide substantive information and identify issues and potentially significant effects to be considered in the draft EIS.

Scoping input helps inform the lead and cooperating agencies on important issues to address in the analysis of the proposed modification, such as the breadth of environmental resources to evaluate and if there are new sources of data or information available. Input also may help the Corps identify alternatives to be evaluated or eliminated from detailed analysis in the draft EIS.

Public Scoping Meeting (open house format)
Wednesday, Sept. 13 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Drop by any time.
Coos Bay Public Library, Myrtlewood Room
525 Anderson Ave.
Coos Bay, OR 97420

Drop by any time to talk with Port and Corps representatives to learn about the Port's proposed channel modification and the Corps' role in Coos Bay navigation, this project, NEPA and the EIS process. You can also submit written input at this meeting. For more meeting information, see the printable Public Scoping Meeting flyer. Interpretive services for the hearing impaired and language translation services will be available at the meeting with a request 72 hours in advance by calling the Corps at 503-808-4663.

Input and any supporting documents can be mailed or emailed by October 3, 2017 to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District
Attn: PM-E, PO Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946  or
coosbaychannelmodEIS@usace.army.mil

See the box at the top of this page for a link to a helpful input form.

Please note: All input will become part of the administrative record and is subject to public release under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA), including any personally identifiying information such as names, phone numbers and addresses. You do not need to provide your personal information for your input to be considered.

 

Stay Informed, Get Involved

Upon completion of the draft EIS, the public will have an opportunity to review the document and comment on project alternatives and their potential impacts. More information about the Corps’ role in this project and other opportunities to provide input will be available on this web page and refer to the Process & Timeline Overview below. You can also contact the Corps of Engineers' Portland District at 503-808-4510 or via email at coosbaychannelmodeis@usace.army.mil.