Army Corps personnel from New York District, and representatives from the Town of Greenwich, Conn. hosted a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Scoping Public Meeting for the Byram River Flood Risk Management study in Greenwich, Conn. in November 2017.
Residents, stakeholders, and other interested parties filled the Western Greenwich Civic Center as Army Corps personnel discuss non-structural, replacement of bridges, and minor channel improvements as potential alternatives for flood risk management measures within the study area of the Byram River, which tributaries flow through Greenwich and Port Chester.
The Byram River is approximately 13.5 miles in length located in southeast New York and southwestern Connecticut regions, has caused frequent flooding primarily affecting the Town of Greenwich, Conn. and Port Chester, N.Y., causing millions of dollars in damages. The Byram River is one of six river basins investigated in the Reconnaissance Report for Westchester County Streams, which recommended a feasibility study of the Byram River for a potential flood risk management solution. A Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement with the Town of Greenwich, Conn., was signed in 2012, with the study area consisting of both Connecticut and New York, most of the flooding and proposed solutions are within Greenwich. New York State participates as an active team member to facilitate coordination for interstate activities. As a result, a non-structural alternative and the replacement of the Route 1 highway bridges was identified as the Tentatively Selected Plan, and presented to the public for additional feedback.
“The purpose of the NEPA Scoping Meeting and 30 day scoping period is to present the alternatives being evaluated, for a proposed action in order to solicit input from the public on the alternatives, and to identify any concerns with impacts the alternatives may have on environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic resources within the community,” said Nancy Brighton, Chief, Watershed Section and project archaeologist, Army Corps’ New York District. “The concerns identified during the meeting and the 30 day comment period are then addressed in a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (DIFREIS),” said Brighton.
As part of the study phase for a flood risk management project conducted by the Army Corps, a scoping document is prepared according with the NEPA and the Council on Environmental Quality’s Guidance Regarding NEPA Regulations, and the Army Corps Procedures for Implementing NEPA (Environmental Regulations [ER]-200-2-2). These documents are distributed to federal, state, county, and local agencies that have an interest in the impacts and benefits of flood risk management measures within the study area. In addition to outlining the planning process, and potential alternatives, the NEPA scoping document identifies the environmental and cultural resources with the study area and potential impacts of the proposed alternatives.
“The team will use the public’s comments to further refine the alternatives and address identified concerns in the Integrated Feasibility Report and EIS,” said Olivia Cackler, project planner, Army Corps of Engineers New York District.
District personnel are currently reviewing submitted comments, which input will be used in the next steps to create the DIFREIS for the Byram River Flood Risk Management Study. The DIFREIS is scheduled to be release in the summer of 2018. For additional NEPA scoping information is available on the USACE New York District website at www.nan.usace.army.mil/Byram/.