Notice of Availability of Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment (EA/OEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Undersea Warfare Exercise (USWEX) within the Hawaii Range Complex.
SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 1500-1508) implementing procedural provisions of NEPA, the Department of the Navy (Navy) prepared a Programmatic Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment (EA/OEA) for the Undersea Warfare Exercise (USWEX) within the Hawaii Range Complex to be conducted over a two-year period from January 2007 through January 2009. On January 24, 2007, the Navy issued the EA/OEA and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the USWEX and determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Subsequent to January 24, 2007, the Navy determined that it should update the EA/OEA with clarifications to the Coastal Zone Management Act section, request comments from the public on the EA/OEA and, in light of any comments received, make any appropriate clarifications or revisions to the EA/OEA. The Navy would then reconsider whether to issue a FONSI and would issue a new decision before any further exercises are undertaken. On October 15, 2007, after considering approximately 97 comments from 11 different entities that were received during the 21-day public comment period, the Navy clarified certain sections of the EA/OEA and issued the new Programmatic EA/OEA and FONSI for the USWEX.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact the U.S. Pacific Fleet at 808-474-7836, or write to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N01CE), 250 Makalapa Drive, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3131, or visit www.govsupport.us/uswex.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: USWEX is an advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) assessment and exercise to be conducted by the U.S. Navys Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESGs) while in transit from the west coast of the United States to the western Pacific Ocean. CSGs and ESGs that deploy from the west coast of the United States will experience realistic submarine combat conditions and assess submarine warfare training postures in the Hawaii Range Complex prior to their transit to a theater of operations. Hawaii Range Complex training areas, test ranges, and ocean operating areas would be used to fully support the Fleet Readiness Training Plan.
ASW training conducted during a USWEX includes ships, submarines, aircraft, non- explosive exercise weapons, and other training systems and devices. When mid- frequency active sonar is used during the exercise, the Navy will comply with 29 individual marine mammal mitigation measures. These measures were developed in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service and are required as a condition of the National Defense Exemption from the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act issued by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce. During a typical USWEX, embarked aircraft will also be conducting training prior to deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. Fixed-wing aircraft will fly training missions to Pohakuloa Training Area on the Island of Hawaii, and rotary aircraft will fly training missions to Kaula located off the coast of Kauai. Amphibious landings could be conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility or at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows for some ESG USWEXs.
The analysis conducted in the USWEX Programmatic EA/OEA focused on the following resources: airspace, biological resources, cultural resources, land use, noise, and safety and health. Impacts to biological resources will not be significant. The Programmatic EA/OEA analyzes mid-frequency active sonar use associated with the USWEX. The Programmatic EA/OEA documents an acoustic exposure effects-analysis on marine mammals that may be affected by the USWEX training events and use of mid-frequency active sonar. There are no predicted marine mammal sonar exposures that would result in injury or mortality. No new special use airspace proposal or any modification to the existing special use airspace is proposed. Impacts to cultural resources, land use, noise, and safety and health are not anticipated.
The Final Programmatic EA/OEA and FONSI may be obtained by written request from: Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N01CE), 250 Makalapa Drive, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3131. The Final Programmatic EA/OEA and FONSI are also available for public review at the following locations: Wailuku Public Library, 251 High Street, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793 (Maui); Hilo Public Library, 300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii 96720 (Hawaii); Hawaii State Library, Hawaii and Pacific Section Document Unit, 478 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 (Oahu); and Lihue Public Library, 4344 Hardy Street, Lihue, Hawaii 96766 (Kauai).
(SB05532401 10/19, 10/20, 10/21/07)
Notice #: 05532401
Notices of Availability
Notices of Availability