Procedures for evaluating NASA actions impacting floodplains and wetlands.
(a) Before taking any action a determination shall first be made whether the proposed action will occur in or may adversely affect a floodplain or wetlands, using the method prescribed in § 1216.204(b).
(b) These procedures apply only to evaluations of those proposed actions which are to be located in or may adversely impact floodplains. These evaluations shall be made at the earliest practicable stage of advance planning, such as during facilities master plan development or when preparing preliminary engineering reports. These evaluations shall include analyses of harm to lives and property, the natural and beneficial values of floodplains and wetlands, and the cumulative impacts of multiple actions over the long term.
(1) Early public notice is the next step in the evaluation process and will normally be accomplished using only the appropriate Single State Point of Contact and coordinating with that party pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, as amended, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” as appropriate. If, however, actions involving land acquisition or a major change in land or water use is proposed, the overall public audience will be as broad as reasonably possible including, but not limited to, adjacent property owners and residents, near-by floodplain residents and local elected officials. To assure their continuous interaction and involvement, the Field Installation will issue public notices and newsletters, and hold public hearing and/or work shops on a formalized scheduled basis to provide the opportunity for public input and understanding of the proposed action. Regardless of the scope of action proposed, initially a notice will be provided to the appropriate State Single Point of Contact pursuant to E.O. 12372 that will not exceed three pages and will include:
(i) A location map of the proposed action.
(ii) The reasons why the action is proposed to be located in a floodplain.
(iii) A statement indicating whether the action conforms to applicable state and local floodplain protection standards.
(iv) A list of any NASA identified alternatives to be considered.
(v) A statement explaining the timing of public notice review actions to provide opportunities for the public to provide meaningful input.
(2) Working with the appropriate State Single Point of Contact pursuant to E.O. 12372 and, if applicable, other public groups and officials, to identify practicable alternatives in addition to those already identified by NASA. The alternatives will include:
(i) Carrying out the proposed action at a location outside the base floodplain (alternative sites).
(ii) Other means which accomplish the same purpose as the proposed action (alternative actions).
(iii) Taking no action, if the resulting hazards and/or harm to or within the floodplain overbalances the benefits to be provided by the proposed action.
(3) The costs and impacts of all practicable alternatives must now be fully determined to properly assess the practicability of avoiding the base floodplain, or of minimizing harm to the floodplain if alternatives directly or indirectly support floodplain development or have other adverse impacts.
(i) The basic criteria to be used in determining the impacts of the various alternatives appear in the Floodplain Management Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988 ( 43 FR 6030 ). These criteria discuss in detail the three basic types of impacts which are to be addressed:
(A) Positive and negative impacts (beneficial and harmful);
(B) Concentrated and dispersed impacts (impacts on-site, near-site, and remote from the installation); and
(C) Short and long-term impacts (include temporary changes and those that take the form of delayed changes resulting from the cumulative effects of many individual actions).
(ii) Also to be determined is the nature of resulting hazards and risk to lives and property; and the restoration and preservation of natural and beneficial floodplain and wetlands values.
(iii) In determining the type, magnitude, costs, timing factors, etc., of the impacts, it is emphasized that subjective assessments have little value. To qualify for inclusion in the evaluation process, an impact must be fully described and quantified in a measurable way compatible with good scientific or engineering practice. Briefly stated, an impact is effected by or based on, and limited to, a quantified alteration of existing coastal or riverine systems including:
(A) Anticipated flood levels, sheet flow, coursing and velocity of flood caused surface water;
(B) Ground water flows and recharge;
(C) Tidal flows;
(D) Topography; and,
(E) Ecology, including water quality, vegetation and the terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
(4) For the proposed action and those alternatives which will impact the floodplain or wetlands, additional analysis must be undertaken to minimize, restore and preserve the natural and beneficial floodplain or wetlands values. Because NASA does not retain expertise in these areas of floodplain management, field installations will consult, on a case-by-case basis, with the appropriate local office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assure that, for each of the above alternatives, methods are prescribed which will:
(i) Minimize harm to lives and property from flood hazards;
(ii) Minimize harm to natural and beneficial values of floodplains and wetlands; and
(iii) Restore floodplains or wetlands values, if applicable, to the proposed action.
(5) The proposed action and alternatives shall now be comparatively evaluated taking into account the identified impacts, the steps necessary to minimize these impacts and opportunities to restore and preserve floodplain and wetlands values. The comparison will emphasize floodplain values.
(i) If this evaluation indicates that the proposed action in the base floodplain is still practicable, consider limiting the action so that a non-floodplain site could be more practicable.
(ii) If the proposed action is outside the floodplain but has adverse impacts or supports floodplain development, consider modifying or relocating the action to eliminate or reduce these effects or even taking no action.
(6) If, upon completing the comparative evaluation, the Field Installation Director determines that the only practicable alternative is locating in the base floodplain, a statement of fundings and public explanation must be provided to all those who have received the early public notice, and specifically to the appropriate State Single Point of Contact pursuant to E.O. 12372, and will include as a minimum:
(i) The reasons why the proposed action must be located in the floodplain.
(ii) A statement of all significant facts considered in making the determination including alternative sites and actions.
(iii) A statement indicating whether the actions conform to applicable State and local floodplain protection standards.
(iv) In cases where land acquisition or major changes in land use are involved, it may also be appropriate to include:
(A) A provision for publication in the Federal Register or other appropriate vehicle.
(B) A description of how the activity will be designed or modified to minimize harm to or within the floodplain.
(C) A statement indicating how the action affects natural or beneficial floodplain or wetlands values.
(D) A statement listing other involved agencies and individuals.
(7) After a reasonable period (15 to 30 days) to allow for public response, the proposed action may proceed through the normal NASA approval process, or if disposal is anticipated, the action can be implemented in accordance with Federal Property Management Regulations real property disposal procedures. If, however, significant new information is revealed in comments by the public, the field installation shall re-evaluate the proposed action in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b)(5) of this section.
(8) For major NASA actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, the evaluations required above will be included in any statement prepared under Section 102(2 )(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act.
(9) In accordance with § 1216.202(b), the Assistant Associate Administrator for Facilities Engineering, NASA Headquarters, will conduct periodic on-site reviews to assure that the action is carried out in accordance with the stated findings and plans for the proposed action, in compliance with the Executive orders.
[44 FR 1089, Jan. 4, 1979, as amended at 56 FR 50506, Oct. 7, 1991]
Title 14 published on 2012-01-01
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