Council Responds to Comments on the Environmental Assessment for the Levee Improvement Project

On January 20, 2012, the Corps of Engineers released for public comment its Environmental Assessment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact for the levee improvement project covering all of the levee systems in the region.  While typically required for projects that are built with federal funding, and the Council’s project is entirely funded with local money, the Corps determined that the EA was necessary since it was required for their signoff (the “Section 408” review) on the project and because the local 100- year project contributes to the longer-term federal project to achieve the 500-year level of protection.   There were were a large number of comments received during the comment period, most of them positive.  However, there were a number of commenters, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Bottom Conservancy, that noted some concerns with elements of the project design as well as some procedural issues.  On April 9, the Council responded to those concerns in writing to the Corps of Engineers.  Briefly, we feel that we have fully and effectively responded to the issues that were raised by the various commenters and we hope that the Corps will issue a final Finding of No Significant Impact in the near future.